Went into Champlain Heights in south east Vancouver and found a rooftop flood today. There were two good drains on the roof but unfortunately they had both plugged up with leaves and muck. The leaf strainers were still intact and functioning but somehow muck got through the filter and plugged both drains. Water was entering the residence below around a roof vent. It was an easy fix once we got the drains unplugged and all the water off. At it’s deepest the water was over 8″. Good thing the rubber boots are tall! It is true that the roof system should have withstood this water load but after aging as it does the sealant around one of the vents just wasn’t good enough. Would preventative maintenance have caught this unfortunate instance? Perhaps. One will never know but I am a strong proponent of roof top inspections. Just imagine if this one could have been averted. The cost to react to the leak and then repair all the damage has to be over $5K. Maybe it’s even $10K. Whatever it is I’m glad I’m not paying it. Ultimately the choice is yours too.
Today’s challenge proved it doesn’t have to be a roof system deficiency to cause a water leak. When we first arrived to this New Westminster Strata complex we measured the interior drip location out and found the area on the roof most likely. Everything looked great. Couldn’t see a potential issue anywhere on the roof. We double checked our measurements, located landmarks to ensure the correct positioning and always came up with the same location and same result. The roof was tight BUT it had to be something near by! To make a long story short it turned out to be a 4′ section of blocked downpipe, due to someone crimping it unnecessarily at the base so the elbow could more easily slide on, that was backing up and entering into the ceiling space. This is another one I’m proud of because it sure wasn’t easy to find or likely to occur. Persistence pays off and I never say quit until I know I’ve found the problem or the most likely culprit therein.
A very common deficiency found on concrete tile roofs is the sliding of tiles that were originally in contact with a hip or ridge board. This commonly happens because the tile has been cut down in size to accommodate the space needed to fill between the adjacent tile and the angled hip rafter. This cut always eliminates one or both of the anchor “cleats” on the top of the backside of the tiles. With no factory anchor to hold the tile in place, the original installer usually just applied a mastic sealant between the tile and the wooden hip board. Sorry to say this doesn’t work. The pull of gravity moves the cut tile. When the old mastic stretches, dries and breaks the tile is left to slide out of place and opens up a void in the roof system and a potential leak! The proper way to anchor these tiles is to grind a notch, or better yet two notches, in the tile and nail on a diagonal into the wooden hip rafter. This is what we accomplished today on this Richmond house. There is no way this tile is going to move.