Assessing a Leak on a Tile Roof

In this article we'll be looking at the first stages of fixing a roofing leak on an s-tile roof.

It's not uncommon to find that one or more tiles are out of place. They can slide down and expose the felt paper underneath, and will basically lead to the paper or underlayment to become deteriorated.

The felt paper inside runs down underneath the tile, down slope and is really wreaking havoc down the slope of the roof to the exterior wall, above the header to the slider down below. So with a common situation like this, we'll walk through a step by step process explaining how to do a leak repair on a tile roof.

So the first thing I do is I come one row up from where the leak begins. And I come over a couple of tiles and I'm going to pull on all the tiles surrounding the one in questions and loosen them up a little bit. So I get the nail that's holding these in place a little bit loose. Then I get my flat bar underneath a bit and then pull that nail out and then slide these tile out.

lifting roof tiles with a pry bar

After that, I will continue to take the tile out alongside the leak, and then the tile out down below the leak, and stack the tile off to the side to come back to later. Then it's time to assess how bad the felt paper is, and replace the felt paper underneath every place where it's bad. You'll tuck the felt up underneath the good felt up above the leak and put the tile back in.

Once you've loosened all these tile around the leak area, go in and pull the nails out and start pulling the tile out of the area and coming down to roof slope. And again, stack those tile off to the side.

Once you have separated this tile with a flat bar, get a hammer under it. Just take your hammer, slide it under and turn the handle to hold a space to hold that tile up. And then you can use your flat bar to get underneath the tile to find any nails.

At that point you're going to get a flat bar underneath that nail head and pull off the nail. And that begins the process of of pulling the nails out of the surrounding area tiles.

You'll want to do the same process with all the tile coming across up above the leak so you have a good working area. You'll then be able to properly assess how bad of a leak you're dealing with.

When the tile is removed, you can cut out the felt paper and see how big and how bad the damaged area is. If the plywood is really damaged, you'll just want to replace that section. Knowing that it's 16 inches on center from rafter to rafter, you might work with a couple of 4 foot wide plywood panels as replacements where you'll block the seams in the middle and nail them off on the rafters.

But when you have to cut a good bit of wood out, you'll want to cut the felt out far enough to get to those rafters so you can pull the nails and get the old wood out and put the new wood in.

As for the kind of felt used to replace the old, damaged stuff, I recommend 30 pound ASTM rated felt paper. This is more than sufficient to do a repair for the underlayment underneath the tile roof. Now, 15 pound ASTM is typical for composition shingles, whereas 30 pound ASTM is typical and sufficient for tile, whether it be for original installation or repairs.

A lot of a lot of contractors will try to sell the homeowner a premium rated felt paper, which is not necessary. And I have learned over the years that the primary reason why they do that, why they try to up sell the underlayment, is because they don't have confidence in their guys to install the tile properly.

When you're seeing bad leaks on a tile roof, it could well be that somebody neglected to nail down the tile properly. It could be that it was broken at one time during the installation and somebody replaced it. But when they replaced it, they obviously can't nail it because the nail hole is hidden up underneath. In a situation like that, the tiles are supposed to get glued in place.

This is the typical lack of quality control you see in a lot of roofing contractors. And this is how a bad installation, bad labor, can result in an eventual roof leak. And this is why they may have tried to up sell the underlayment, not because the standard underlayment is not sufficient - it is if the job is done properly.

With properly installed tiles, even after two decades of wear and tear, if you look at the standard underlayment, you will likely see it is still in perfect condition where there is nothing wrong. It will still be plenty thick, it'll be flexible, and it should be able to last anywhere from 50 to 100 years, provided your tile is installed properly. But when it is not installed properly, that's when you end up with the felt paper wearing out.

And that's what other contractors are trying to prevent from happening. Instead of making their guys do the installation correctly, instead of sending a supervisor out on the job to make sure they do it right, they just up-sell the homeowner on the underlayment. So enough about that. It's just one of my pet peeves. I despise that fact. And I wish that more contractors that would take more pride in their work and make sure that the customer doesn't have to pay for things like this in the future, and not have to pay for premium underlayment because they really don't need it, provided things are done correctly.

How To Re-Lay An Old Tile Roof

Transcript

Today we're doing another tile reset, tile re-lay, reusing the same tiles... what else shall I call it anyway I remove all the existing felt and well this is a truck home it was built in the 1940s 50s and he had only one layer of felt and the owner has been repairing it through the years and he got to the point where he had a bunch of leaks and he didn't want to repair no more so now he wants to reset his style the style looks dirty and everything but still in a good condition so you can reuse it this is a standard type roof tile, it's called life tile what I'm doing here these guys they they put like a little two by two in the front of the the front of the fascia why he has no fascia where he has curved walls eventually the guy he's gonna cut him off like this cut him and then he's gonna cut the core balls but it - this piece of metal and then he's gonna put in your fascia I don't know how he's gonna do it but he's gonna do it anyway my job is to relay the time to reset the tile to rain install the tiles in the same same exact place as you seen before I before I remove them I put a marked on them see it this one belongs to that side that's the number one this is number two number three number four number five and so on okay otherwise when you if you don't do that and those cut belonged to this side of the hippie okay so I've removed the hip board I've removed the the felt I remove all the nails I left the clean plywood and now I'm over to start over a clean new plywood replace um started to replace some starter boards on top of that area and replace on damaged plywood on the top I'm gonna restore I'm gonna install new new roof vents I'm planning to take some tile down so I can make something I can make some make some space for there for the installers I'm gonna prep it and I'm gonna bring some installers to help me like in two days today I'm waiting for the inspector to come and inspect my roof that's why I'm only putting half of it oh by the way right here there's a gap okay there's a gap of about one inch this is a ballistic underlayment okay peels and seals so there's a gap right here about an inch so the usual amount they burst up on top of this thing but in case you somewhere around managed to run underneath there the tire I mean they only need the felt and it's gonna run hard right here under the edge but this guy look ugly so that's why I used the one layer of Salford your membrane along there along the edge of the roof on top of the edge metal so this sofa there is gonna sealed is gonna seal between the the brush stop and and the first stop in the in the HTML okay I'm gonna I'll take another beer later and hopefully I can guide you through the steps when do your own tile this is the way you can do it this thing right here is gonna seal the edge metal when the critical part which is the drip edge okay they gotta tuck it underneath their top and the existing tapping looks good it's just dirty I was going to replace it for a new one but it's no reason to this is a 24 gauge the one that I have is 26 so this is a lot thicker the only problem is the guy they used one a year of Terrapin felt a lot of people are obsessed obsessed with 40-pound mm-hmm yeah like it but the problem is it's too slippery has a lot of sand it's too slippery so and so you have a lot of sand on it you create a lot of buckles on it doesn't have any grip I've seen some guys they do like tile roof they install a 40-pound and they use that and when the charge told the tile you know they're sleeping down so they rip the paper they didn't put enough nails they create a lot of buckles and it looks ugly so to meet the rebound does the work two layers no problem but if you wanna use 40-pound it's up to you it's your problem I will use it on you if if I require by inspection but I don't really like it because to to send it was slippery over love the full roll on top of the after all openness thick ceiling over there when I start with same here and now I'm gonna overlap another full role on top of the top of the half a role of this a little example that how to do it make sure you always have double then you're okay see this one overlaps and the half of the row in the bottom one this one - this one - this always lay it underneath the existing okay so always make sure you have two layers always you start we have you over love the food world and you overlap on top of the food roll half way and then half of the way the other one it goes up like that okay no so if you're using the existing metal right here on the wall to prevent any water to go inside there you're gonna have to put roofs in man underneath and then put some nails to hold it down okay that's the way we do it okay and this little lip they left over here is to divert the water away from the wall okay see I experienced the roofs always leaks on the walls to the most critical places where you go in the world connection so every time that you know water leak you can have it on the wall or underneath the metals but it runs underneath so this thing is gonna prevent you're gonna seal any water penetration in there okay then later I'll show you how to keep it tight this is how you keep the the metal down put some ad nails and then fold them or let's say you plant close to this edge right here much are the one hand okay I'm sorry if I cuz I'm holding the camera with the other one place the nail can't keep the metal down okay and it's gonna prevent any water too good that way so when water runs against the wall it's gonna actually right there notice how he filled up the top eight underneath with the roof cement and I'm gonna put the and he's told I'm gonna install the nails to hold it down in place right here I'm missing the the bottom part of there the bottom part of the flashy I'm gonna put our mother flashing underneath underneath this thing or maybe I'm gonna put a stick on the flashing and then on top I'm gonna put the aluminum flashing that goes here usually we install in tile you're supposed to put a base flashing and also the aluminum flashing on top so this is what I'm gonna do here okay one more time this is the idea CS taraweeh half of the peel and stick so I have to use drop for that thirty pound fell but then overload my full roll on top of the peeling stick you know I love another full roll on top of the half of the football you see I'm taking half hour so I always got two layers all the way to know no matter what always make sure you have two layers okay when you get to the top you're gonna have to cut one half one full roll in half and then just tuck it underneath alright so that's the main idea guys okay please don't take don't cut corners so you know that now I'm gonna keep on rolling these things after here you just kick it okay then right here use your hammer your hammer to reach to the end okay so that way you don't fall off the roof let you stretch it and see it thank you stretch no Nelly even there that Valley flash another object was custom-made but it doesn't work anymore you see how the hard water managed to go underneath and it's all where over here so I don't think I recommend bellies with metal see how the water sticks underneath you need a waterproofing membrane you see the water caused damage it ran behind the the metal and then damage to the felt that's why the guy he had a water leak and put a never stopped it somebody came and did a repair and put this ugly metal on top of this thinking that the water was coming here but he was thinking from that area so I'm gonna do it differently okay for this areas I think it's better to put like like a build up a system like a touchdown arm up hold up or even peeling stick Oh for their midlife it's gonna go underneath and then a couple I was gonna get the granulator captured [Applause] to go together that's gonna work they're having a metal that's gonna rest over a year so is better to put something let's modify her before you mount the the next sheet on top make sure they fit some version my peritoneum is a purple nurple [Applause] yeah that's gonna prevent any water scientific the loves to be come apart and then you fill this one and put some nails on it moving in a slip ring and now you're gonna fold this poor out like in law watches take it out after you have it in place and then you're gonna fill it up and then you're gonna fold it back in place put it back in place like this you gotta go slowly with your hand rub it you should 6 make sure you have no fats will make any cuts on this folder here chopping a long court a kiloton must you know make a car over there and you're gonna patch it with mastic roof select no era chopping in the parents opinion dough chopping you see okay mastic underneath I just kind of do a wrap again it's called wrapping I'm gonna wrap around these then right here make another cap like this okay that's gonna do it - I think Oh patron right and then I'm gonna finish this the style pen to wrap around here and then I'm gonna I'm going to overlap the caps it on top of there on top of the helping make sure that your tell pen overlaps at least four inches on top of it bottom part and then right here I'm gonna do the same thing I wrap cat so I'm gonna cut it wrap it around put some primer and then mount the the cashier on top that's a simple and they use some muscle primer to bond it up the metal and cap what a massacre and then this thing is gonna rope around there's a core underneath the eye they kept with their cement and then I put another a course on top of in the corner just to make sure there's no what is gonna get in there here right here underneath you're gonna get up on a live ahead and put some nail all the way to the top I'll make sure that this thing is not gonna come down [Applause] and this is yourself for there underlayment you peel it and you over love it on top of the torch okay a lot of people think oh I'm gonna put 240 pounds so in case if water runs underneath the valley he's gonna end up on that and the the pillar stick and now you see there's one layer that goes on top of the top of the torch he was on the wall and overlaps on the torch and this yeah and now I put on another layer right here to overlap this so everything underneath the felt it's waterproof the felt is just to lay the tiles on the field but this is the most important the most critical parts see this ballistic underneath the the valleys so don't get fooled by people telling you oh I'm gonna put two layers of 40-pound put you later 30 pound selling well why are you gonna use in the valleys I mean how are you gonna have a waterproof night my my my critical parts you know my most areas where it's it's gonna leak that's what you well that's where you can have the problems in our problems on the field both have a broken tile but always you and how your problems valleys around fireplaces stuff like this so make sure they know how to waterproof it you see it like that just how I do this detail this is this fish is in like a foot high angle so put it out there just in the water this way and then I make this this band right here on mate she's gonna send the water this way and they're gonna sit on top of that open Rachel [Music] [Music] [Applause] [Music] okay this is a completed job I install the same tiles I used to replace it underlayment with two layers of felt 30-pound felt what I did different I use rebalance two layers of felt so further and limit under my under the the valleys walls flashings fireplaces and also added some new for hanging vents the hanging vents they come in different shapes for s tile 4 flat tile for low profile s tile and like this and they look like tile when you look from far away instead of having those ugly ones dormers like the house of cross you see they reset the tile then literally they reset the time where they use the same tile I mean the same the same donors I don't know it's I didn't like him so I put me you one two three four five six seven I put seven dormers eight dormers up here a o'hagan vent I'm sorry you're hanging event and then I installed two in the back to two in the bottom because before somebody did the addition on the bottom but he didn't install anyone so I installed that one over there and then I saw another one on the other side so so roofer you have to look where the house needs to be ventilated okay and this is the novella cat and this is the the old tile but it's being reset so that's why you see some tiles are dirtier than other ones is because they're not in the same same exact position so this guy my guys they want to live with like an open belly and right here I know if I show you the video but I remove the the metal flinch that I had over there and then I installed a new sofa there to place out for their roofing membrane painted the flashing is like a darker color because the tile is also I cannot paint in red otherwise it's not gonna match okay so left a piece of metal up here anyway

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How to Replace Single Tabs in Asphalt Shingles

This is the same process as replacing a whole roof shingle. A whole shingle is 3 tabs long. The steps outlined here are the basic steps for replacing shingles. You won't need a knife or hooked blade to replace the whole shingle.

What you'll need for this asphalt shingle repair job:

  • 3 tab shingles
  • Roofing Cement
  • Flat bar (pry bar)
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife with a hooked blade
  • Roofing nails - 1 1/4 inch

If a tab is missing where two shingles come together, there is a hole where water can go right into the roofing underlayment and under the singles. This will eventually cause a roof leak.

materials for a DIY asphalt shingle roof repair

You will want to use your straight bar, a clean trowel or a putty knife to slide under and gently lift or 'pop' the shingles up. This cuts through the adhesive and is the path of least resistance, so you can go right through the shingles. You'll need to pop the singles up above the one you want to take out. You will need to pull the nails out of the one above that too, so pop that one also.

Use the flat bar to lift up the nails you encounter. Put the flat end under the shingles and pop the nail up, then the pry end on top of the shingle to finish pulling the nail completely out.

Using a hooked bladed utility knife works best for cutting on top of the shingles (the granule side). The top of the shingle will be about 2 inches or so under the shingle you are lifting. Find it and hook the blade onto i and pull straight towards yourself. Make sure you're not pushing down into the roof. Try to make a straight line down to the keyway.

When you find yourself needing to pry up nails, use the curled, pry side of the bar and if you need some help, tap on it with a hammer. Don't bust your knuckles pressing down on it too hard.

It's best to pull whatever nails you come across, even if the shingle comes up with the nail still in place. While many people might think to just hammer it into the roof because it's easier than prying it out, the problem is that you can't drive another nail through it in that same space if you do that. And most likely, that exact spot is where you'll want to place the new nail. So take the extra time and effort and fully pull any nails you come across

When it comes time to cut the shingle to size, sometimes you have to cut at a slight angle so the shingle will lay flat, because you won't always be able to cut it perfectly straight. Making two cuts makes this easier to do.

To be clear, when you're cutting shingles, you want to use the hooked blade if you're cutting from the top - the side with the granules. If you're cutting from the bottom - the smooth side - you can use a straight blade.

As you begin to put the shingle in place, you can spread some roofing cement underneath it just for a little extra protection and security before hammering the nails into place.

When you do nail the shingles, nail them about an inch back from the edge. You should be able to see where the nails were. Then re-nail the existing shingles, just not into the exact same holes.

If it's an older roof, adding a bit of roofing cement is a good idea. The new shingles have new adhesive on them, but the old shingles aren't going to stick on their own. Also, as long as you're there working on the spot, adding a bit of roof cement will ensure that you won't need to deal with that spot on your roof again.

When applying the roofing cement, make sure to put it on the seam and on the nails, always underneath and not on top. This will help seal everything up while also helping to stick the tab down. Any extra roofing cement and it is just helping to stick the tabs down and together.

How To Repair A Leaky Asphalt Shingle Roof

Transcript

today we are going to repair this asphalt roof as you can see there is a very good crack along as fall along the shingles as you see there are some other ones that work well done with a little the roofing cement but no no fabric was used so that opened up again and here you'll be needing a brush to clean out the crack scissors to cut the fabric and the cement a quick note about this rough cement its fiber reinforced plastic rough cement and it can be used in wet or dry conditions to cement the fabric to the crack first I'm going to clean out crash damp crack you now use the gloves to spread the rough patch cement in to and around the crack you I'm using gloves instead of a Trowell because i find it easier in cold weather spread it a little wider than the fabrics with there now apply by fabric I cut it to the landing I'm not you match like that how you want to apply another coat all right you finished that is all there is to it 

You can go here to read more on Tile Roof Leak Repair Basics

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How Long Does Tile Roof Underlayment Last?

With properly installed tiles, if you look at the standard underlayment, you will likely see it is still in excellent condition and it should be able to last anywhere from 50 to 100 years, provided your tile is installed properly. It will still be plenty thick, and it should still be flexible, But when it is not installed properly, that's when you end up with the felt paper wearing out.

As we saw in a previous article, How To Repair A Leaking Asphalt Shingle Roof, a poorly installed roof tile will cause problems leading to the eventual need to have a roof repair.  In the first article, we got to the point of carefully removing the tiles to inspect the problems underneath. At this point, we found the plywood was in terrible condition and needed to be replaced. You may well find the same thing on your roof, especially if you've been seeing water leaks on the inside of your home, in the ceiling.  

Once you have your plywood panels that you're going to use to replace the rotten wood, in my example case I got two 2 by 4 foot panels stacked on top of each other right over the opening where I need to replace the rotted wood. I line them up so the edges are right along the rafter line, which you can tell by seeing where the nails from the original material have been hammered through.

So once the replacement panels are in place, aligned with the rafters, all I need to do is take a Sharpie and draw a line around the outside of the new panels and then follow up by cutting right along that line with my saw. So just mark all around the perimeter on the old wood with the Sharpie, and then just cut it out. And then the new panels will fit right in the opening.

Once you cut back and remove the old wood, you'll see the rafter system, 16 inch on center. So three rafter bays is a total of 48 inches wide, which is exactly the width of the panels. And when you line up your panels in the step above, lined up with the nails going into the rafters, you'll see that you end up with a little lip where the new panels can sit down on there and you can nail, stitch nail both sides of the new material, just like you would the original sheeting.

working on a tile roof on a Tucson home

Something to mention - a lot of times the space at the edge of the half inch plywood on the roof is very flexible when you have these smaller panels that you're putting in place. But the reason why it's normally very flexible and unstable is because typically you don't have a roof rafter system that is 16 inches on center. Normally your rafters are about 24 inches on center and there is a lot more space between the rafters to allow for flexibility when you step on it.

When it's naturally very stiff and stable, you probably won't need to put any blocking on the back side of the lateral seams in between the rafters. Oftentimes the panels sit on 24 inch span rafters, it is something worth doing. And so that blocking on the back side, just screw through the panel. You can pull the blocking tight from the back side and then screw through this panel into the blocking as well, and it stabilizes the joints in between the rafters. So you may need to do that if you're replacing panels on your on your rafters or on your roof where the rafters are 24 inches on center from rafter to Rafter, 24 inches.

So as far as nailing pattern goes, probably a good idea for you to check your local codes at your local building and safety division of the entity city, county, wherever you live. But in my area, the perimeter nails any where you have a seam along the rafters, the exterior perimeter of that panel needs to be nailed, six inches on center minimum. All six inches on center every six inches. You get another nail on both sides of the scene.

And then in the middle of the panel, obviously, you can't nail there because there's nothing underneath. So these spots do not require nails that are in between the rafters. But in the middle on the rafter, you want the nails to be every nine inches minimum. So these are about seven or eight inches apart. And on the outside edge they need to be six inches apart. And I've found this to be more than sufficient with half inch sheeting on just about any truss or rafter system that I've ever worked on.

Tile Roof Leak Repair From Start To Finish

Transcript

We're going to do a tile roof inspection and repair. This customer had a leak in his loft. There's a window about 2-foot over there and about nine feet back that's where it's leaking into the room. So I'm gonna take up any of the tile so it's pretty easy to do. We'll make some safe stacks on the side. Safely stack the tiles aside. We're gonna cut out all the roofing felt paper now and we will find leak either right here by pulling off the felt right about here. It's pretty typical. We're gonna get this side of tiles all up I'll show you after we get everything off safely stacked aside. Then we'll cut out the damaged felt paper check and repair the deck if needed finally I circle the leak find all the problems, find the leak source or make sure we do leak detection make sure it's fixed.

We re-felt the area put it all back together including a warranty. We do a lot of these so we get these things done for you done quick

So we're going to show you the easy step here cutting out the plywood, cutting up the felt paper, excuse me when I'm cutting out the pilot see it's pretty easy I don't know why people go over this but just if you know what you're doing it doesn't take too long. Fold it up recyclable bags into a trash bag cleaned up we've got one more to take out you can see how the leak started. There's his roof leak.

Fold up the bottom first bottom first that way you get dust all over the place. That's how you cut out and fold felt paper. Why the other roofers don't want to do it I have no idea. Doesn't take that long.

All right now you can see got a leak that started right up here, little problem in the felt paper it goes all the way down and then right here is what was falling into his house, right there big, big bump in the decking and it was going right in the house.

Whenever your roofer does a repair you want to make sure that's nice and clean cuts, square rectangle, the shapes are good very very important. You don't want a weird-looking repair because you want to make sure you take it out even that way to know exactly where it was repaired. It's worth it to take the time to do it right.

These ridge boards sometimes they take nails and nail them right the bottom corner so you just cut them off, that way you can get the felt paper all the way up here.

Here's what you should do just to make sure the roofer got the area you should always have him just circle the roof leak so he can show you what it is. Find it and circle the damaged area. It's a real simple. There you go you can see all the water damage is confined in this area on the outside of it nothing but clean plywood which means you have it confined. The leak started right here, fell into his house right there, circled all the way around it. That's how you can tell they actually did the leak detection and found the leak, otherwise if they just cover up an area how do you know if they found the roof leak? You're just never going to know.

So there's a another tip for you make sure your roofer circles the leak

Now that the roof is felted, ...let's see you can do these things really really quick

I got to tell you that there this one right here it was like the easiest one that you can do it's a field leak there's no pipes there's no valley there's no flashing there's no skylight there's no chimney there's no nothing it's clean that's the easiest one that you can possibly do that's like so fast some of these leaks you have to tear up maybe an area just twice as big as this. It can easily take you all day depending on how much water proofing you have to do. The waterproofing on this is real basic so this is a real easy one to show you that you know it can go quick but a really experienced roofing contractor and crew will make a huge difference. Once the repair is done then we go down talk to the homeowner tell them what's up show them what we got.

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Flat Roof Leak Diagnosis

Today we'll be walking through a case study of a flat roof leak diagnosis and repair. Understanding the process that a qualified roofing contractor goes through can give you insights into your own roof and problems that may arise.

flat roof repair and coating on a Tucson house

There are two types of flat roofs. The ones that leak and the ones that are going leak. Additionally, many flat roof leaks are misdiagnosed and many times, unnecessary expensive repairs are performed.

The owner of this flat roof case study has had flat roof leaks since the day the building was purchased, which was roughly 10 years ago. The building owner employed many roofing contractors to make roof repairs which included the installation of new roof membranes, installation of new flashing, and the installation of new top reflective sealant coating. After all these repairs, the roof membrane still leaked. The building owner and his secretary would control the roof leaks with buckets. The last roofer decided to get an opinion from a building scientist (Marko Vovk) to help diagnose the root cause of these roof leaks.

Upon arrival and beginning inspections, the roofer cut the roof membrane and found trapped water. Water was running between roof membranes and leaking at two different room locations below. While on the roof, the maintenance man was adked to bring up a 5 gallon bucket full water. Several cups or water were thrown to an upper elevation brick wall. The water beaded off.

The maintenance man was asked who sealed the brick. He said, that 10 years ago, when they bought the building, the previous owner disclosed that the window at this location leaked and it was repaired. He wasn't sure about and brick sealing. He stated that since this repair, the window has not leaked.

Well it was quite obvious that somebody 10 years ago knew it was the brick that was leaking and not the window. This is why they sealed the brick with what appeared to be a water resistant coating.

While walking and inspecting the roof it was noticed that a higher elevation roof brick wall also existed at this area. Several cups of water were thrown onto this brick. This time, the water was absorbed or sucked into the brick. Brick and mortar joints are naturally absorbent; this is why you need weep holes in brick.

This brick upper roof wall did not have weep holes. This brick wall was once an exterior wall of an older building. The building roof that has the two flat roof leaks was an addition that was built over 20 years ago. The brick was getting saturated during long duration rains. This wall also faced the southern and western exposure which is more susceptible to weather. The water was getting sucked into Brick and mortar joints and running down that back side of the brick in the ¾ capillary space.

This newer addition building had roof joists that rested on pocket ledges that were cut into the brick 20 years ago. Instead of water running down into lower levels, it escaped at these cut pockets.

This was going to be an easy fix. Simply by sealing the exterior brick would fix this leak.

The owner was warned though, that when you seal brick, it no longer breaths and the potential of brick spalling may occur. I told the owner to control indoor humidity by running a dehumidifier during cold climates.

The reason for this is that if you have high indoor humidity it will travel to the exterior through a vehicle called vapor diffusion. If the brick is sealed on the exterior, it will act like an exterior vapor barrier. During the winter, when it is cold, it freezes, and brick spalling can occur. So controlling indoor humidity when you have sealed brick walls is very important.

The second leak diagnostic was also simple. Directly above this second leak was 12 year old HVAC unit. We cut into the roofing membrane at this location and encountered moisture. When a 5 gallon bucket of water was dumped into the HVAC unit fan area, it wasn't long before the water started dripping into the room below.

In the room below you could see a roof fasteners rusted and dripping water. The secretary said, the roof would leak for several days after rain storms. This leak existed for 12 years due the HVAC installation contractor not being a roofer.

Go hear to read about How To Patch A Roof Leak

This roof top unit had a roof duct penetration that was poorly sealed. The HVAC installing contractor created this leak 12 years ago. This was also an easy repair.

The HVAC unit needed to be lifted and roof membrane needed to be replaced.

Sometimes when looking for leaks you need to apply some building science knowledge, not just roofing knowledge. Sometimes, roof leaks are not roof membrane related as they were in this case.

DIY Flat Roof Repair

Transcript

Today we'll be discussing making repairs to an old flat roof which, to be fair, is long overdue for a total replacement, but the owners haven't quite decided what to do with it yet. It's had a few minor repairs over the years including a temporary repair with an acrylic based paint on sealant, and in fact that's still waterproof and holding good, but what we'll be considering this time is a low-cost paint on repair that's within the grasp of most people, and it will seal the whole roof not just small areas.

The first place to start is with a clean dry roof and as you can see it's dry but not very clean. All we're going to do is thoroughly sweep the surface with a stiff bristle brush, and if any of the dirt or moss is really stuck, it may also involve scraping with a paint scraper as well. What we need is a dust free, dirt free contact with the roof surface so we can prime it up in a moment. You'll probably find the tiny mineral finish or mineral edging like this grips onto dirt really well so it's important to remember that any debris you leave on the face of your roof will into the bond we're looking to achieve. When you've removed as much as feasibly possible just sweep it up or into the guttering ready to removal later on.

This is a bitumen primer and all sorts of makes are available. The fastest and easiest way to apply the primer is with a standard 9 inch roller. And if you haven't got a dedicated roller extension you can make one. Simply sure a broom handle straight inside the roller and here I'm spinning a roller into place but you could also use gaffer tape if you really wanted. To just pour out some primer into a puddle about a mugful or two at a time don't go berserk this stuff goes a very long way. As you can imagine, it's not worth bothering to cut in neatly with a brush. I'm just doing the whole lot with a roller because I'll be stripping this roof off in the next year or two anyway. But if you want to do neat but full sheets best for the outside edges.

Now let me explain at this point how much primer you want on the roof, and the answer is as little as possible to do the job. By all means be generous on your first pass, but on the second or third what you're looking for is the least amount of primer as possible. Once it's done its job by bonding the loose particles on the surface of the roof, that's it. Any puddles primer is not only a waste it's going to take longer for your roof to dry. The exact same applies to the mineral edges or drips. Once you have it primed roll it out to get rid of the excess less is more. With that done you just need to let it dry or flash off. In the summer this can be as little as 20 minutes but in the winter it can take a couple of hours. So go and have a tea break and come back when it's done.

Now this is a roll of glass fiber scrim and it's just like rendering or plastering scrim. And if you want to you can skip applying this stuff totally but I'm going to show you how it's done in case you want to. What I'm going to do now is place this onto the prime roof and roll it out. Just make sure that you get it nice and parallel now roll it to the outside edge of the roof and cut it just short of the drip edge.

Next roll back the other side all the way back to the halfway mark and when you get there pin it in position with something just to stop it springing back or blowing around. Fantastic now we're ready for the roof sealant and this is what I'll be using again there's many manufacturers but this is basically a solvent based bitumen roof sealer, and 25 liters of this should be enough to coat this roof twice.

Once you've popped the lid off you're going to need to give it a stir a good one the solids always settle to the bottom and the liquids to the top and obviously you want a consistent even coating. So with a flat sided stick nice and carefully pull up all the solids from the bottom and only when you're happy stop mixing.

Applying the roof coating needs nothing more elaborate than a decent soft bristled brush. A nice natural fiber like this works best not too stiff and not too soft. If you don't want to work directly from a 25 liter container consider putting a couple of inches off one side of your brush with a hacksaw. Not only does he make it slightly easier to work with but you can also get it in a standard builders bucket. Handy if you don't want to look a whole 25 litres up the roof you.

Back on the roof we can now start applying the roof sealant to the room and because we've already primed it it should stick like an absolute beauty. It's just a matter now of applying about two millimeters of sealer over the roof everywhere that the scrim will sit when it's rolled back out. That way when we apply more bitumen on top the scrim will effectively be sandwiched between the two layers.

Now using a scrim like this does make this type of repair slightly harder and messier than not using one, but there are two distinct benefits. Firstly it guarantees a minimum depth of coating of two millimeters, meaning no drama spots or missed areas. Secondly when dry it will add additional strength which is important if you have lots of cracks in your roof or it has a slightly soft feel to it. This as you can imagine helps to stop most cracks reappearing as the bitumen sealant dries out with age in the years to come.

When you have the first half done roll back the other half and start the process again. Now there are two disadvantages of using a scrim and here they are. Firstly it's a messier job and you have to keep pressing over the roof filling up any holes that reappear. This obviously takes a bit more time and you will use a bit more product. Secondly if your roof isn't flat or has nasty hollows or ridges in it the scrim can resist following these contours which will make it a lot more difficult otherwise known as a pain in the arse. Okay so here on the second run I'm going to do exactly the same process this time making sure that one scrim overlaps the first scrim by two to three inches. Then we're going to cover it up, just as we did before.

On the third one though I'm going to show you a slightly easier and lazier way to apply the scrim. Here I've just placed a couple of dabs of sealant onto the roof and I'm going to stick the scrim in it and roll it out into position. This time though I'm just pushing the bitumen straight through the scrim from the top surface alone whilst this isn't as good as the previous method it does still work. But like I said it's a lazy method not quite as good. Your roof your choice at the end of the day.

And of course there's the no scrim method. If you're looking for a repair that's a little easier and cheaper just apply the compound directly to the roof. Yes the depth of the sealent becomes harder to judge and it doesn't add the strength that we've talked, about but you can always have a second coat later on and to be honest I would do that as a matter of course anyway. Now all we're doing is covering the whole roof with a nice even coating trying to achieve the two millimeter depth that we require. Covering the whole roof and working back to the ladder or exit point.

With that done you should not have something that looks like this. On a summer's day it will be fully waterproof in about an hour, and re-coatable in five to twelve hours. What you want the surface to look like if something like this, nice and even with no pinholes. But sometimes especially if you've used scrim you might get some small pinholes like me near the edges where I was trying not to flip bitumen into the gutter or on the floor below.

A second coat of sealant here we'll pay absolute dividends and because the hard work has already been done recoating will be so fast it's almost embarrassing. Any small flecks of bitumen that find their way onto the floor can usually be dealt with by applying building sand generously to them and treading it in. Let it absorb the bitumen for as long as possible and then just sweep it off.

For a really nice finish and to protect your hard work for longer consider applying solar reflective coating. Again this stuff settles to the bottom and it will need a darn good stir until the solids flow freely. Then it's just a matter of cutting in around the edges with the two inch paint brush and applying the solar reflective coating with a cheap 9 inch roller just as we did with the primer.

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residential roofing contractor working in Tucson

Understanding Your Home Roof Repair

Realizing you may need to have a repair done on your home’s roof is not something you’re likely to be happy about. But you probably know you shouldn’t ignore it either. Understanding the basics of residential roof repairs can help you feel more prepared when you speak to a roofing contractor so you can ask the right questions and be familiar with the roofing industry terms.  We have prepared this article to help you do just that.

When it comes to home improvement projects, fixing your roof isn’t something that’s likely to be high on your list of things you want to do.  While it certainly is rewarding and reassuring to know you have a solid, non-leaking roof over your family’s heads, it doesn’t have the same kind of “wow” factor as building a deck, a new fence or building a swimming pool.  

Nonetheless, if you suspect there is something not quite right with your roof,  it is definitely not something you should not ignore.

One thing that is pretty much guaranteed regarding your roof is that if it is damaged now, over time it will get worse until you address and fix the issue.  If you see a bit of a water leak on your ceiling now when it rains, you can expect that you will see more and more of it as time, and rain, goes on.  

The reason it’s important to understand this is that no matter how big or small of a repair you need now, waiting is only going to mean you’ll need a bigger, more significant and more expensive repair in the future.  It’s better to deal with a roof problem sooner than later.

This is also important to note that if you’re dealing with insurance to cover the cost of the repair, the adjuster will be able to tell if you’ve waited longer than you should, which could impact how much of the repair they’re willing to cover.  

water stained ceiling due to a roof leak in Tucson home

If there’s any chance you might be selling your home in the near future, having a good, sound roof will make a significant difference in the price you can get compared to if potential buyers need to bring roofers in once they buy. In fact, oftentimes a buyer won’t even consider making an offer if there’s an issue with the roof for fear that more will be discovered later.  So, once again, dealing with roofing issues sooner than later is the way to go. 

A well maintained roof should last 20 to 30 years, or even more.  And when the time comes to replace a roof (and that time will come, because no roof lasts forever), a roof replacement on a neglected roof is going to be more complicated and more expensive than one that has been regularly inspected and maintained.  That’s because over time, more than just the roof surface material can be damaged once moisture is getting in.  Support beams may start rotting that would need to be replaced or mold can develop that needs to be removed.  As you can no doubt imagine, all this will add a considerable amount to the final cost of a new roof.  Once again, regular maintenance, inspections and early action will serve you and your roof in the long term. A roof repair is far more affordable than a complete roof replacement!

If you suspect something is wrong with your roof, there are things you can do yourself to get a better understanding of it, or you can always hire a professional roof inspection.

DIY Roof Inspection

If you have a flat roof like many homes in Arizona, it may be easy enough for you to walk it and look for issues.  But if you have any kind of pitched roof, whether it has tiles or asphalt shingles, you may be putting yourself in danger by going out onto it.  

In such a case, you might want to get something like binoculars to be able to look very carefully at the roof from the ground, or maybe lean a ladder up against the house and climb to the top without actually walking on it.  This is especially true if you have a tile roof because if you don’t know where to step, there’s a good chance you could crack some tiles.  And if a tile breaks beneath your feet, that could put you in danger of falling from the roof as well.

Furthermore, you may not know exactly what to look for as far as damage.  In some cases, there may not be actual visible damage, but a skilled eye can see that something is worn out and near the end of its useful lifespan.  Just because it isn’t an issue today doesn’t mean it doesn’t show signs of becoming an issue in the very near future.  

Talk to a professional roofer if you have any doubts

Tackling DIY projects is noble, but there are times when you don't want to risk missing something important that could cause significant damage and expenses down the road. If you're not super confident in your abilities to find and fix issues with your roof, it's worth contacting a professional roofer to at least have a look and consult with you about what to do next.

If you do it yourself and you see something that looks wrong, you may still need to get in contact with a roofer to find out if it’s OK, or how long it might last.  When you do this, are you sure you have all the terminology to convey your question to the roofer?  Will you have all the information they will need to give you a complete answer to your questions? If not, they may not be able to adequately answer your question anyway.

For all these reasons, you might want to consider calling in a professional roofing contractor to inspect your roof for you.

Hiring a Professional to Inspect Your Roof

When you have a licensed, bonded and insured roof contractor to do your roof inspection, you know that they will be fully knowledgeable about the type of roof you have, the way it was installed and the kind of things to look for that might indicate problems.  

Inspector On Your Side

Just because an inspector may do roof repair work, don’t assume they’ll necessarily tell you that you need major repairs. If you’ve done your research to find a roofing company that has a good reputation and solid reviews, they are probably busy enough that they don’t need to invent work. And since all roofs eventually need work done to them, being honest is the best way to get consistent work today and into the future.

Common Roofing Problems

Missing or Cracked Tiles or Shingles

Considering asphalt shingles are probably the most popular roofing material used in the United States and there are a lot of homes in the Tucson area that make use of it, it's also one of the roofing types that are most likely to show up with problems. One of the more easily spotted issues is if you have broken or missing roof shingles or tiles.  It’s like a piece of a puzzle that’s missing and it sticks out like a sore thumb!  But what about if the same piece is just cracked or out of place?  It won’t be as obvious, but it may still let enough moisture underneath it to cause your roof a lot of problems.  

Damaged Flashing

With water being the biggest potential problem for your roof, you need to do everything you can to keep it at bay.  Flashing is thin metal that gets installed under tiles and shingles along roof valleys and joints where water is likely to travel.  They create a seal to carry water away and if they’re cracked, it’ll be difficult to see from the surface, but before long you’ll see it from the inside when moisture starts to leak into your ceiling.  Cracked or otherwise damaged flashing needs immediate attention. 

Damaged Vent Booting

Your roof has vents that can look like pipes sticking up out of your roof.  They are there to expel moisture and have seals around their base, between the pipe and the roof.  Over time, the material used to create this seal can decay and crack.  This is the kind of sign to look for that may lead to moisture getting into the house rather than expelling it like it’s designed to do. 

The same kind of seal can be found around skylights. Improperly installed or repaired skylights are notorious for causing problems.  A trained eye can determine if this is a problem for your roof or not.

Transcript

Hi. My name is Russ Ackerman. I'm a Certified Master Inspector through InterNACHI. I'm here to do a roof inspection. Today we're going to cover a typical inspection of a roof from the exterior. My roof inspection starts from the ground. As I'm as I'm inspecting the exterior of the home, I'll usually start by documenting attic ventilation which might not otherwise be visible from the roof that would include gable and soffit vents. So I'm going to walk around the house now and try to look for those and here in the side of the house we can see we have a gable bent so I'm going to take a picture and document that on my report when I set up my ladder I typically look for a place where I got a nice flat surface to set the ladder anytime you're setting up the ladders I always want to look for wasps nests that might be around always looking for overhead power lines as well as you get up in the ladder we're always going to tie off our butt ladders with a bungee cord as you see up there I always want to keep your ladder tied once we get up at the gutter line I usually want to check for any drip edge flashing that might be here this one does not have any because the gutter is serving as the drip flashing or gently pull up on the shingles I can see that there's underlayment going over the flashing make this sure to bond it down it's not the wind is not going to take and pull it up once we're on the roof here I'm going to continue looking for attic ventilation so I'm going to be looking for a roof vents will go overlooked for that here we can see we have roof vents for the Attic so I'm going to talking about that take a picture of that make sure all the nails are sealed down as well next we take some overview shots of the roof I always like to make my pictures look great so if I have a mountain view versus another house I'm going to take the mountain view so I'll go over here and take a couple photos and I'll take some photos some more overview shots and I'll get one overview of justice ingles in general and then as we were looking over the conditional roof I am seeing some granule laws I'll go over look for exposed nails the flashings this is all sealed up good you come over here we have some exposed nails at the ridge line here so I make sure those are all set and sealed they're popping out get over here you can see one exposed nail some granule law so the Hale kind of hits sometimes it shows up on the ridge shingles versus the rest of the roof plane and as we get to the valleys I want to check to make sure they're properly bonded and we want to these shingles sealed against cross wash so the water doesn't wash over and under so I'll give a little Cub going down the valley just to make sure they sealed and these are pretty good these are sealed pretty well also in order to document other flashing around that roof besides a drip edge flashing and gutters any roof penetrations I always want to document those look making sure they're properly installed make us your nails are sealed take pictures of everything document everything because this is a area that the client is not going to follow you up on the roof your HVAC vent over here as well check again for flashing issues exposed nails want to make sure there's no cracks in the bed here which might allow water that's actually drain and back into the furnace you come around here you can see some nails popping up the flashing is popping up you got a big gap here on make sure this one have a roofer come in here seal these nails seal that flashing back down same with the skylight here as well got the flashing popping up wanna have that secured and nailed here you can see over the sunroom in the back of the house there there's still asphalt shingles but it's definitely newer it's been installed recently the owner actually said it was 1/2 years old I put it on my report one to five years old so we're to check that out first thing I noticed is some flashing screws issues where this addition is going against the original roof kind of hard to see here but I'll take some pictures there's a metal flashing and then they just have it covered with tar paper which is a indication this things might have had leaking problems at at one point this plastic is improperly installed on top of the singles should be like a counter flashing installed here so I did take a couple pictures and document that we recommend evaluation repair by a qualified roofer potential leaking point here that's an issue continuing with flashing down here you can see on the lower roof they have actually a piece of wood glued to the chimney or caulked to the chimney working as a counter flash and that's improper install but the counter flashing should be going into the motor joints of the chimney which it's not this is a potential issue it's something I would recommend the sellers to caulk or the buyers to have them check the seals make sure this is sealed annually or replace by a qualified roofer also at the bottom of this flashing that we're looking at right now you can see we're missing a kick-out flashing where the flashing ends at the gutter line there that's going to allow water to just pour down along the side of the chimney we want to have a proper kick-out flashing installed there as well on this roof surface you can see that there's a broken there's a low sluice missing tab here on the roof and I recommend having that checked out replaced by a qualified roofer and then we'll check out the last portion of the roof which is this rolled asphalt valley towards the front of the house we'll go check that out right now here we have a little rolled asphalt in this valley here you can see there's a lot of granule loss there's a lot of cracking this foot this portion of the roof is at or near the end of its lifespan I'm going to recommend having this evaluated replaced by a qualified roofer here we have tree branches in contact with a roof surface and several I always recommend trimming trees at least 10 feet away from the roof surface that's not always possible but we just don't want them when they're blown in the wind we don't want to be causing abrasion against the shingles against the fascia so we're going to recommend having these trim back over here we have more tree branches close to the roof surface going to recommend trimming those back and on the back of the house as well you see tree branches in contact with the North corner of the home then we're going to look at the skylights we're looking for proper flashing at the head wall flashing the counter flashing the apron flashing everything looks pretty good here again we made note earlier that the flashing was curling up at the corners here on both these corners would recommend having be sealed secured down also if you look at all three skylights there's condensation moisture between the glass and all three of them these are all failed window seals I'm going to recommend replacing all three of these skylights right here and down here you can see it's all fogged up that's just going to continue to fog up more and it's going to be you won't even be able to see all of them eventually and here you can see the moisture it's in between the panes of glass once you get inside the house we're not going to do that today but once we get inside the house you're going to want to check closely for any moisture stains on the insides of these skylights if they're already you want to confirm it with a moisture meter make sure it's not an active leak either way you would put in your report that evidence of past leaking recommend repaired by a qualified roofer last thing on the roof is the plumbing weather boots I want to make sure that weather boots are intact they're not all cracked up a lot of times it will be on older homes allowing water penetration in the Attic again well makes your nails are sealed up if you find these all bleeped up with tar that's indication that they've been leaking and they need to be replaced by a qualified roofer these are in good shape though the chimney is normally part of my exterior inspection but because there are roof flashing who stuff we'll do a quickie on here we did notice it's a 60-inch wide chimney so we want to make sure we have some kind of cricket or flashing at the head of the chimneys keep water from pouring against it which it does a couple things I'm noting here is the flashing improperly installed here should be inserted into the motor joints there should be a groove cut inserted into the motor joints these are just slapped up against the chimney cocked that's going to wear out eventually cause leakage that's something I'm going to recommend sealing annually until we have proper flashing installed also we'll notice there's a lot of loose missing mortar at the joints these are water penetration these are potential water entry points as rain can get down inside the chimney chase you'll see a lot of that here and all over the side of the chimney here as well there's a lots of gaps in the mortar I'm going to recommend having that tuck pointed sealed up properly getting the side of the chimney again you've got a piece of wood kind of like we head down below you know a piece of wood caulk to the chimney serving as a counter flashing this is not a proper installation we do have proper step flashing underneath but we going to recommend having proper counter flashing installed otherwise this is going to need sealing annually to prevent water entry and as we continued with our roof inspection over the main house we did notice one nail pop on the on the roof here it wasn't set properly it was actually it was actually set where it was supposed to be just wasn't sunk down all the way so I don't have that secured make sure this is sealed down so we don't have nailed poking through the top of the shingle later on and this concludes our inspection of the exterior portion of the roof thank you for watching 

Whether you have a TPO or EPDM synthetic rubber roofing membrane on your rooftop, or even a shake or shingle roof, at some point you may need to contact a local roofer to do some repairs. DC Roofing can help you whether you need silicone sealant, a new refelctive coating to help bring down your energy bills, or need someone to see if the felt paper under your tile roof is in good shape. Call us and we'll give you an honest assessment of the condition of you roof.

Hiring the Right Roofing Contractor

Whether the repair on your roof is large or small, or even if you’re just getting a roof inspection to know whether you need a repair or not, feeling confident about hiring the right roofing company for the job is critical.  Not only for getting the job done right, but for your peace of mind as well as for your budget. 

License, Insurance, Bond

The first thing you want to ensure is that the roofer you speak with is licensed, bonded and insured.  Roofing is a dangerous job and if anyone were to get hurt while working on your roof, you want to be sure there aren’t any issues that would come back to you, as the homeowner.

Also, a contractor who has taken the time to get licensed and all the other things that go with it has something to lose if they do shoddy work.  A friend of a friend who has “done roofing” before could potentially do a poor job, or even incomplete work, and who would you have to complain to?  If you have an issue with a licensed roofer, you can always take it up with the ROC - the Registrar of Contractors in Arizona.  So when you are ready to consider a roofer, make sure you ask them for their ROC number.

Reviews

A good roofing contractor will have a history of satisfied customers.  They should have no problem giving you a list of people they have done work for in the past so you can check with them as to their level of satisfaction.  You can ask them things like

  • Was it easy to get ahold of someone if you had questions
  • Did they arrive on time and do the work that was agreed to in a satisfactory amount of time
  • Did they remain on budget
  • Did they leave the work site in good condition
  • Was the crew professional and polite

Fortunately, a lot of companies now have reviews posted online where it’s easy to read about others’ experiences.  But just because you don’t see reviews doesn’t mean the company isn’t worth your consideration.  Some companies are too new to have accumulated many customer testimonials.  But if you ask the owner, they should be happy to provide you with contact information for people that have experienced the work they have done in the past.  


When it comes to find a high quality local business, homeowners in Arizona want to be sure they hire a team where service, materials and workmanship are top notch, while keeping the price affordable. DC Roofing of Arizona is here for you, covering all the areas in and around Tucson and beyond.

From minor storm damage to major roof repairs or complete re-roof from single family homes to commercial buildings, DC Roofing is your hassle free full service licensed, bonded and insured roofing contractor for all your roofing needs.

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