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October 2019
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Roofing Repair Project Act 2

I have mentioned that remodeling is biblical in nature as a result
of one problem begetting another. For those in more wet climes, it is
the appearance of more alligators in the swamp you are trying to drain.

To recap. We started with a leak around the inside of the bathroom
door, which led us to the roof leak, which led to needing to remove the
AC unit, to remove a section of shingles, to replace rotten underlayment, to repair the roof leak. But to repair the roof, we must repair the patio cover, so our roof repair will be correct.

In Act 1 we discovered our water leak. I mentioned the patio cover which is composed of 4×4 beams nailed to the eave fascia/rim joist on one end and bolted on a beam on the other end. The house was painted right after this was constructed, which for the purposes of this illustration is a great thing.

This is a quick drawing of the construction detail of this assembly.
On the top right is the 2×6 fascia also known as the rim joist that joins the rafter tails in this type of construction. On top of the rim joist is the bottom of the roof sheathing which is attached to the top of the fascia, allowing the builder to establish a straight line for the edge of the roof. This also helps stiffen the roof. In this particular instance the drip edge is created with a 1×2 piece of trim.

On the left side is the beam (4×12) that holds the patio cover materials(4×4’s). The 4×4’s were bolted to the beam with 1/4” lag screws, and nailed through the fascia with 2 -10d galvanized nails.

Over time, the beam tipped away from the house. It is not too clear in this photo, but it was about a 10 deg. tilt.


As a result it pulled the 4×4’s away from the fascia. Some of these were almost falling down and a couple did as a result of the setup of fixing them.

I mentioned above that the sheathing is nailed to the top outside edge of the rim joist. Not only did the beam pull the 4×4’s loose, but also pulled the rim joist with them. Here you can see this much clearer with the dark line from the original paint job as well as the separation of the rafter tails from the rim joist. The weight of the 4×4’s also pulled the rim joist down away from the sheathing.


Repairing the Patio Cover

First, I used a nylon strap to pull the beam tight, limiting its movement away from the building as I began to remove the lag screws from the beam. I also clamped a 2×4 to the underside to prevent the 4×4’s from falling down while I was doing this.

There are two beams so I was able to work on one section at a time. After clamping this together, I started to unbolt the 4×4’s from the beam. The heads snapped off below the surface, so I needed to use a sawsall on the underside of the 4×4 to cut the lag screws to loosen the 4×4’s. 58 of them for those that count.

After loosening the 4×4’s, it was a matter of using a BFH to tap the 4×4’s back into the rim joist and move the rim joist back into position.  Up, down, back, and forth. I also installed a string line so I could monitor the straightness of this as I went along.

After a few hours of up and down, over 3 days, I used 4- 3” exterior deck screws drilled and counter sunk through the rim joist at an angle to pull the 4×4’s tight to the rim joist, as well as moving the joist back in place in relationship to the sheathing.


I was also able to fix the mess on the leak side of the roof as well.

Having gotten these reattached, I straightened the beams as much as possible and drilled and anchored the 4×4’s to the beam with long lag screws. One can walk on this now if need be, and not worry about a wind gust sending pieces of this into the pool. Now we can return to the roof repair.

Monday afternoon, MD Cooling and Heating will bring a crane to remove the AC unit, Tuesday, my boys from Collum Roofing will do the tear off, so I can remove the sheathing, repair the rafters and install new sheathing and blocking for the roof jack for the AC unit.

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.