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Possible Roof Leak? Update: Nope, It Was The Pipe Login/Join 
Nullus Anxietas
Picture of ensigmatic
posted
Oh joy.

My wife had moved the knife block in the corner of the kitchen counter to retrieve something that had fallen down behind it. Brown water in the corner. Eh? Looked. It appeared to have come from the corner of the cabinets above. Sure enough: Water in that cabinet. WTF?!?! Check further. A thin stream down the back of the cabinet, all the way from the top. She just looked: There's a spot in the ceiling of the family room, just the other side of that wall, that wasn't there before. Yup: It felt damp-ish.

Brand new Owens Corning roof three years ago. Their top-of-the-line shingles. Fifty-year unconditional warranty. Tyvec material "felt," which is, itself, water-proof. All installed by a reputable company that's been in the home improvement business around here for decades.

However, there is the chimney and a plumbing vent pipe up-slope from that location, and this is right under the edge of where the old roof ends under the wall that used to be the back outside wall of the house before the addition was added. That old roof is still under there--most of the shingles and all. Could be the flashing on one of those is leaking, water ran down the old roof, and dripped off the trailing edge.

Thing is: We haven't had a lot of rain lately. Some. And some light snow. But not that much.

There is one other possibility: One of the vent pipes that's upstream of that location was extended due to the new roof installed above the old. The original owner never did a single gorram thing right in anything they did to this house. One time when I was up there in the attic I noticed that pipe leaking moisture around the joint. I sealed it up. (I recall not how, anymore.) Could be my repair failed and it's leaking again. It has gotten colder. It seems like a lot of water for condensation inside that pipe dribbling out, but who knows?

Getting to that spot up in the attic is a roaring PITA. *sigh*...

Not what I'd planned for the day.

I think I'll wait until our home improvement people call back and see what they suggest.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: ensigmatic,




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living." -- Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher
"The dominant media is no more ``mainstream`` than leftists are liberals." -- me
 
Posts: 23507 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Spread the Disease
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Well, that totally blows. Hopefully, it hasn't been going on long enough for mold or other serious damage.

Good luck.


________________________________________

-- Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. --
 
Posts: 16563 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: October 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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From my experience it's very seldom the roof shingles themselves (unless some are missing or are very old). Penetrations, flashings, and valleys are generally the culprit.

Vent pipe extended as in sewer vent? if so surely that joint wouldn't be leaking moisture right? But where it penetrates the roof. Or is it a furnace vent? There could be a lot of moisture coming from that joint this time of year with heat on.

Regardless I feel your pain roof leaks can be a pain to trace.


No car is as much fun to drive, as any motorcycle is to ride.
 
Posts: 6220 | Location: Northern WV | Registered: January 17, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
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quote:
Originally posted by ridewv:
Vent pipe extended as in sewer vent? if so surely that joint wouldn't be leaking moisture right? But where it penetrates the roof.
Yeah, sewer line vent.

You'd be surprised. I was when I first saw it over twenty years ago. (I think I was up there un-plugging the soffit vents the id10t original owner had plugged-up in the name of "energy efficiency.") There was a pretty decent amount of moisture leaking out of that coupling.

But what we discovered on the counter-top and in the cabinets was a couple cups of water. Seems far too much for a bit of leaking condensate?

quote:
Originally posted by ridewv:
Or is it a furnace vent? There could be a lot of moisture coming from that joint this time of year with heat on.
We don't have a furnace vent quite like that. We have a ±80% efficient furnace and traditional brick chimney with a continuous stainless liner.

quote:
Originally posted by ridewv:
Regardless I feel your pain roof leaks can be a pain to trace.
Especially this one. Ranch house. Hip roof. Very low-pitched. And I'm tall. Plus: To get up there reguires I empty a full closet to get access to the access. Then I have to low-crawl along the attic "highway" down the middle, rolling-up insulation as I go, until I get to the gap between two old roof members so I can get to the other side of the old roof, then kinda twist sideways to get between them.

Not. Fun.

I wonder where my knee pads are...?




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living." -- Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher
"The dominant media is no more ``mainstream`` than leftists are liberals." -- me
 
Posts: 23507 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I agree that penetrations, vents, and flashings are the usual causes of roof leaks. Another consideration: This time of year is when condensation within an attic can become a problem. Everything we do inside the home generates moisture (cooking, bathing, breathing), warm moisture-laden air tends to rise and can collect in the attic space. As long as ambient temperatures are warm enough the moisture will remain a vapor in the air, but colder temperatures can cause the moisture to condense on surfaces (rafters, ceiling chords, vent pipes, etc). As the moisture collects it will follow gravity, resulting in what might be interpreted as a roof leak.

I have seen dryer vents and bathroom fan vents pumping moist air through a metal tube inside a cold attic space, and escaping water vapor literally crystallizing as snow flakes.

I have seen water trails where condensation followed structural members for 20 feet or more, then found a way to descend into a wall or ceiling.

When condensation is an issue the usual remedy is to provide greater ventilation capacity to the enclosed attic space, increasing the rate of air exchange with the outdoors to prevent collection of moisture-laden air within the attic space.


Retired holster maker.
Retired police chief.
Formerly Sergeant, US Army Airborne Infantry, Pathfinders
 
Posts: 985 | Location: Colorado | Registered: March 07, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
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LoboGunLeather, random condensation in the attic space is highly unlikely.

Part of the new roof, three years ago, included a survey and calculations on the part of the company doing the work to ensure adequate attic space air exchange. In the process of replacing compromised sheathing they got to additional soffit vents that had been blocked, that I hadn't been able to reach, before, and cleared them. They replaced the cans on the roof with extensive ridge and hip vents.

I subsequently got up there to add another 6-1/2 in. of fiberglass bat insulation. I was able to reach another three or four plugged soffit vents and clear those, as well.

When you get up there now you can actually feel a breeze floating through the attic.

The sole bathroom vent going through that space goes through a section of the original roof, well off to the side of where the water's coming from, and on the other side of where the new roof meets the old. I installed that vent (the id10t original owner had the flipping exhaust fan venting into the attic crawl!), and the roofers upgraded it with a larger vent when the roofing job was done. I won't say it's impossible, but I regard it so unlikely it's coming from there as to suggest it's as close to impossible as you can get.

I just checked. There's still water dribbling down the inside of those kitchen cabinets. Only a tablespoon's worth, but still happening. All we're getting is very, very light flurries, so it's increasingly looking like condensation from that stupid vent coupling.

Just waiting to hear back from our roofers before I go crawling around up there.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living." -- Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher
"The dominant media is no more ``mainstream`` than leftists are liberals." -- me
 
Posts: 23507 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
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Update

Much as I suspected, here was the culprit:



As you can see: I had indeed sealed it up, once, already. Apparently not well enough.

I hogged-out the area where the water was coming through, squeezed some new sealant in, and taped the whole thing. (Hint: For that tape to work it has to be stretched really, really, tightly.)

After:



This is just a stop-gap. You can't see it clearly in the photo, but water still wants to get in there and creep down between the tape and pipe. Hopefully I either stopped it or at least slowed it down far enough it won't be a problem.

To seal it for good will have to wait for warmer weather, when the water isn't flowing. I'll have to remove all the current tape and sealant, re-apply sealant smoothly, let cure, then tape.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living." -- Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher
"The dominant media is no more ``mainstream`` than leftists are liberals." -- me
 
Posts: 23507 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Eating elephants
one bite at a time
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You should be able to get a Fernco coupling in the right size to seal that properly. Should look like this and comes in many variations:
 
Posts: 3558 | Location: in the southwest Atlanta metro area | Registered: September 10, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by ffips:
You should be able to get a Fernco coupling in the right size to seal that properly.


^^^ absolutely!

They come in Cast Iron x PVC sizes.




 
Posts: 9828 | Registered: October 15, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
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quote:
Originally posted by ffips:
You should be able to get a Fernco coupling in the right size to seal that properly. Should look like this and comes in many variations:
Thanks for the hint! When the weather's more conducive to fixing it properly, perhaps I'll do just that. For now: The dribble is stopped (I went up and checked after dinner--dry as a bone), so I'm gonna call it good for now.




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living." -- Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher
"The dominant media is no more ``mainstream`` than leftists are liberals." -- me
 
Posts: 23507 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Spread the Disease
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That does NOT look like a fun space to cram your ass into. Glad you patched it up for now!


________________________________________

-- Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past me I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. --
 
Posts: 16563 | Location: New Mexico | Registered: October 14, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Nullus Anxietas
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quote:
Originally posted by flesheatingvirus:
That does NOT look like a fun space to cram your ass into.
Trust me: It's not.

I have to get up there through an access in the master bedroom closet, which, of course, requires emptying nearly the entire thing.

Because that access is only about 5-6 ft. from an eve, the rafters are very low at that point, and of course there's one right over the access: I have to be something of a contortionist while I lever myself up in there and maneuver myself between two rafters.

Next is crawl down the length of the attic to where the sheathing for the old roof was removed between two of the old rafters--rolling a strip of insulation back as I go so I don't wreck it crawling back-and-forth over it. The rafter ties are so low I have to do a kind of vertical snake-crawl movement so my belt doesn't snag on them as I move along.

Then it's a right turn and twist a bit sideways so my shoulders can get between the old rafters, into the roof under the addition.

Here I am putting the additional insulation in back in 2015:



That was three days, about eight hours per day, getting that done.

I've many times entertained the idea of getting up there and removing more of the old roof sheathing to improve air movement up there. Then I think about what a roaring PITA that would be and decide it's ok just the way it is

If I'm being honest with myself: That repair is going to be it until and unless I need to get up in there for something else.

The repair effort was worth every last minute of it, though. Besides getting it fixed, and the satisfaction derived from doing it myself, my wife was very happy with me. "You're my hero," she said. Being as I've spent about $1400 on home gym equipment in the last month, it was nice to prove my worth Big Grin




"America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system,,,, but too early to shoot the bastards." -- Claire Wolfe
"If we let things terrify us, life will not be worth living." -- Seneca the Younger, Roman Stoic philosopher
"The dominant media is no more ``mainstream`` than leftists are liberals." -- me
 
Posts: 23507 | Location: S.E. Michigan | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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