Friday, December 10, 2010

Minor roof leaks

I reorganized my daughter's closet the other day. It left some room on one of her shelves so I set her up a little "desk." She couldn't have been more thrilled. (Don't you like her little formula cans? One for "brokin" pencils and one for "grat shorpinde" pencils?)
Next day, she comes to me and says, "Mommy, I was sitting at my desk and some water dripped on my arm!" WHAT???

Sure enough, water damage on the sheetrock above her closet. It happened to be right next to the attic access. So with flashlight in tow, I climbed up there and investigated.

*TIP* Don't be afraid to investigate. Grab a flashlight, look around. Know your house! Know how to access the attic. Go up there when there are no problems so that if there is a problem there is no mystery about what lurks up there. I found my attic space is clean and neat and there are no bugs or spiders to be found.

I always be sure to step on trusses and NOT sheetrock! You will step through the ceiling! I just went to the source of the leak. Found the wet spot. It was near a pipe vent that went through the roof. The vent pipe had water dripping on the sides of it. So now I knew that I had to get on the roof. Probably a crack around the pipe.

While I was up in the attic, I checked on an old leak that had been above my bathroom. Sure enough, the fix I had done the year before had failed and had also started leaking again. Luckily I caught it before it soaked any sheetrock leading to a new ceiling repair.

This is where the playhouse saved the day. When I put the roof on the playhouse, I bought some roofing cement in a tube to adhere the ridgeline shingles. I had read on the tube that it can be used in wet and dry conditions. I made a mental note, "Hey! That would have been better to use on that leak last year than what I used! If I ever have another leak I will have this handy!" I did not know such a thing existed.

So today I borrowed my neighbors ladder and climbed up there. The kids were at school and the baby was napping so this was my only chance. Since I had investigated in the attic I knew exactly where to go to find the leaks. Plus, they weren't leaks in actual plywood or anything....just near vents installed in the roof. That probably happens a lot. If there is already a hole from putting something there then it is more likely that there will be water intrusion.

I just went over to the vents and slopped some roofing cement on with a spatula spreader thingy. I am so technical. I didn't take any pictures. Since I had taken my life into my hands by walking around on a wet roof in the rain, I didn't think it was prudent to stop and handle a camera. However, you should know that come spring or summer I will probably be replacing the problem areas. This is just to get us through the rainy season.This is not my house. Wouldn't it be awesome to have a lake house though? Anyway, see that vent in the front? That lets heat escape from your attic. Mine has an itty-bitty crack at the top side. So when it rains, water collects and leaks right in. A drip at a time. But 'round here it can seriously pour. For weeks. That adds up quick. Pretty soon your ceiling starts to bubble out. And then you have to poke the bubble to let the water out. And then you have to repair the ceiling. And it is dang hard to make it match the old ceiling. And then the paint doesn't match the old ceiling paint. And then you pull your hair out. So you don't want a leak.

And see those black pipes sticking out of the roof. They are vent pipes for drains. I think. Anyway, they have a little boot at the base that helps rain to drip down the side of the pipe and onto the roof instead of down INTO your house. My little boot is cracked. In a bunch of places. The picture of my repair would also be embarrassing to show, hence, another good reason to conveniently leave the camera inside the house. Although it was kind of fun to do. Like icing a cake. In the rain. With soaking wet pants. And gritty asphalt sticking to your wet behind.

Maybe we should all occasionally look up too. Had I not made her that little spot to sit and write, Who knows when we would have found the leak!


  1. It sounds like quite the adventure! I can't believe you got up on the roof in the rain!

  2. Great job! It's fun reading your posts. Love it.


  3. “Don't be afraid to investigate.”— I couldn’t have said it any better. :) Roof problems, minor or major, should undergo scrutiny before proceeding with the repair. Doing this will help you: detect other problems; identify the best course of action; and plan how much time, money, and effort you’re going to require. Great job!