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March 2009
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Roofing Repair Project Act1

The client said, “When it rains the trim around my bathroom door leaks”.

Most repair projects are simple. Cause and Effect. Door sticks? Fix the door and or the frame.
Wall Cracks? Patch and repaint. Window sticks? Repair frame or window. Most repairs have a simple cause and a simple repair procedure.

The exception to this rule are water leaks due to roof leaks. Unless you have a smoking hole in the roof where the meteor crashed into your house, tracking down roof leaks to repair them is not a minor project. Water has an annoying tendency to flow downhill until it meets an obstacle allowing it to pool or find a crack to run into continuing its journey back to the earth. Water will also flow uphill due to capillary action as well, confounding you in your quest to¬† find the source of the leak, and keep water out of your house where it doesn’t belong.

The Set Up

Here is the scene of the crime.
In this photo in the lower left is the door where the water leaks in the bathroom. Crimescene1
The upper right shows the AC unit which in on the roof directly above the door. The white PVC pipe is the condensate drain for the AC unit. AhHa! You may be thinking, the drain is plugged and the water from the AC unit is leaking and causing the problem. Bzzzt! If that were the case, the bathroom would be wet the entire AC season. Remember, it only leaks when it rains.

The Molecule Trail
Here is another photo showing the scope of the problem.Exwater1

This photo shows that water is leaking outside as well as inside.

Here is a close up of the underside of the eave.

We can now see that this has been a problem for some time. The plywood has discolored and is rotting. Notice that the eave board, which in this case is doing double duty as the fascia as well as the anchor for the house side of the patio cover. Notice that the eave has separated and that the patio boards are pulling away from the fascia. But if you look at the siding on the wall above the door, the water is not getting into the bathroom from the outside. We know that we will have to replace some of the sheathing. We still haven’t found the source of the leak. It is now time to venture into the attic.

An Attic Darkly

Here is our first taste of our problem. The grey cable that is penetrationg the roof is the electric cable for the AC unit. There is definite leakage there. However, there is significant damage to the sheathing below the AC unit as well as the roof which extends all the way down the roof to where we saw the rotting plywood on the eave.


Here is a closeup of this area.

The AC unit is sitting below the vertical part of the truss, so that you can see where the weight of the unit and the water damage has bent the top chords of the trusses. Now we have a handle on the situation.

Now to repair the damage we need to remove the AC unit (requiring a crane and an AC guy), rip off the shingles and get the deck exposed, (requiring roofers), so that we can replace and repair the damaged sections. Re-Roof, and reinstall the AC Unit.

Now that is a typical repair, but as I have mentioned before, in remodeling ‘typical’ left the building and left no forwarding address.

The first photo in this posting has a legend entitled “Patio Cover”. The third photo showe the underside of the eave with some alarming separation between the patio cover and the fascia. Stay tuned.

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