When a roof leaks, it means that water is entering through a couple possible areas. It could be getting through the actual roofing material or membrane that was used when your roof was installed, or it could be getting in through “protrusions” such as skylights, metal or brick chimneys, lead or aluminum vent stacks, roof drains, etc.
If you see visible dampness or any mold or staining, it does not necessarily mean that the leak is directly above. Leaks can develop on one side of your roof and may travel a fair distance before they become visible on the inside. It could also be a direct result of having inadequate ventilation or air circulation.
As soon as you notice a leak or any symptom of a developing leak, it is in your best interest to have it inspected by a professional to possibly avoid the larger expenses of repairs to both the roof and inside items (drywall, painting, carpet cleaning).
For tar and gravel leaks, finding the cause is complicated by the hidden membrane system. In a traditional tar and gravel roof the waterproofing membrane is covered by a protective layer of asphalt and gravel. This gravel layer commonly hides the membrane deficiency.
Regular maintenance is key to preventing the general inconveniences that are associated with a roof leak. If you need professional advice and/or workmanship, please do not hesitate to contact us.
It’s hard to believe that over time a nail can back out of a position it was once hammered into without any form of assistance from man. That’s what we found today while doing a hidden gutter repair in North Vancouver. This nail reversed itself over an inch and punctured the EPDM membrane used to waterproof the built in gutter. So how does it happen? I figure it involves thermal cycling and structure settlement. IF there are any Engineers out there that can educate me more…. please do. Until then I know I fixed the leak by sealing up this issue.
If you are one of the unfortunate homeowner’s to have a specific type of concrete roof tile made by Monier, I feel sorry for you. The Monier Homestead concrete roof tile has been discontinued by the manufacturer for some time now. Perhaps a decade? Now why would a manufacturer do something like that?… and especially to home owners who are supposed to be their valued clients! The reason is that a systemic failure occurs due to a design flaw.
I believe the slight curvature of the tile causes breakage to the top left hand corner of the tiles. Foot traffic on the roof adds to the probability of breakage. But you need to walk on your roof to uphold maintenance requirements you say. I agree. Leaks happen too and not just because of the systemic design flaw. Those leaks need to be addressed.
Now here’s the biggest kicker of all though. You can’t see those cracked corners because the tile placed above and also the tile placed beside the one OR MANY that cracked is concealing it. Try and find a needle in a haystack. You’ll have more luck.
It’s been said many times – A roof is most likely going to leak at either a protrusion or a change in direction. That is why the selection of hardware to use, when waterproofing protrusions, is critical.
Firstly, the correct hardware must be chosen for each protrusion. Protrusions can be varied but the majority of protrusions are drains, plumbing vent stacks, fan and furnace/hot water tank vents or attic space static and non-static air vents. Material choices are plentiful so it’s easy for an inexperienced contractor to make a wrong decision. The choices include lead, copper, steel, plastic, rubber or aluminum. Let’s analyze each.
Lead This is most commonly used in steep slope roofing applications for plumbing vent stacks. Many years ago it was also used in lower slope applications such as tar and gravel and torch on. Drains also used to use lead sheets for a waterproofing detail. Today, lead is still acceptable for tar and gravel roofs however not much tar and gravel roofing is being installed any more. Lead should definitely not be used in torch on applications as it melts too easy when it gets close to the open flame required for a quality torch on roof system application.
Copper This is primarily used in drains on flat and low slope roofs. It is also used for drains in hidden gutter or built in gutter applications on steep slope roof systems. Most all roofing materials are compatible with copper when appropriate primers are chosen.
Steel Commonly used for vents of either static or forced air. Galvanized steel is primarily chosen as the regular texture and style. Steel is most commonly used in flat and low slope roofing but it is also used on steep slope roofing for fan vents such as bathrooms, kitchen hood fans or furnace and hot water tanks. “Gooseneck” vents are the most common shape of steel vents.
Plastic Only used on steep slope roofing. Not necessarily a quality piece of hardware as it is prone to either warp or dry and crack. The only plastic I use in my roof systems is as a static
air roof vent along the ridge of my shingle roof systems.
Rubber Used on steep slope roof systems in conjunction with plumbing vent stacks. Commonly called “5-in-1s”. These are prone to drying, shrinkage, deterioration or anything else that effects long term performance. I do not use them. The only time rubber is acceptable for a hardware piece is when it is used on an EPDM rubber roof system and is supplied by the system manufacturer.
Aluminum The selection of choice for plumbing vent stacks on torch on roofs. Do not accept anything else.
The second most important factor is sizing. You don’t want to put a 3” lead plumbing vent stack on a 1.5” ABS plastic pipe. It just doesn’t work for long term performance. Ensure the sizing is appropriate.
And thirdly is the preparation of the hardware. Does it need priming, cleaning, scratching, cutting, burning or stretching? Most every piece of hardware needs to be modified somewhat from the original condition it was delivered in.
In the attached photo I have burned and scratched these copper drains. They are now ready for the appropriate primer to be applied. Ensure your roofer knows the critical details of hardware selection. It could make or break your roof.
Today’s blog takes us to Annacis Island situated under the Alex Fraser bridge between Delta, Richmond and New Westminster BC. The worst case scenario leak occurs on a flat roof with external drains. External drains mean that the drains are located outside of the building’s perimeter. So the roof sags, in the middle, over time and the drains remain a high spot on the outside edge of the roof area. Complicate that with an old tar and gravel roof and you have a leak that can fill a bucket faster then you can empty it. Good thing this leak was just in a metal shop and not over some computer warehouse or something like that. A lot of water was getting in. We shoveled. We swept. We blew water. We found the problem and dropped some clay on it. Now we just need the roof to dry so we can upgrade the temp patches to a more permanent torch on status.
Look at this photo and tell me you empathize with the owner. I do. Initial installation is failing. That’s a 4″ long blade shoved right into an open torchon roofing seam. The seam is only 3″ wide so there essentially is no seam to be had. I guess we can look at the glass as half full and say the owner is lucky it has lasted this long. I say it never should have happened with proper care on installation. Anyways we found this leak on a warehouse in Vancouver. Roofing is what I enjoy. Each day brings a new challenge. It’s nice when that needle-in-a-hay-stack gets found, as it was in this case. Finding roofing leaks can be like solving a murder mystery. Inspector Greg. I like the sound of that. Maybe I’ll even make it on Dateline or 20/20 one day! You knew me when….
Wow. It’s amazing how much damage a tiny little hole in a roof system can cause. Take the example of today in Vancouver BC. The interior damage, over an extended period time, was substantial. The cost? Even more so. And why? Because someone wasn’t careful when they were nailing a board from under neath the roof and punctured the metal valley flashing. It was a very small hole. The size of a nail head. But over time this tiny hole let in a lot of water… which in turn caused a lot of head aches. I knew I had to find something. The roof was vast and the potential of finding the problem was daunting. But there it was. A good scrubbing of the valley metal exposed the hole and the mystery was solved. Lucky? Maybe. But I like to think you have to be good to be lucky. Trust Crucial to help solve your Vancouver roofing challenges that other contractors can’t.
We responded to a roof leak in Vancouver today. We found an improperly applied torch-on membrane roof system that the installers had taken far too many short cuts on. To summarize my position on “short cuts” is that they always result in weaknesses and weaknesses, in turn, increase probability of leakage. The job of the roof is to ELIMINATE leakage so probability needs to be nil to accomplish that. In the case of this leak the primary short cut is that a flashing wasn’t used around the chimney. The second short cut is that the roof plies weren’t applied to an appropriate substrate. So the black “roofer’s goop”, also known as mastic, that was the only waterproofing barrier keeping a leak from happening ultimately failed. It was destined to happen. Insert a Blues Song or a Sad Love Song here.
I was asked to come to a residence in central Vancouver and inspect and report on what I found with regards to their APP membrane roof system. APP is a predecessor of our current SBS torch-on membrane roof system. I was told there were no active leaks and they were more interested in learning what preventative maintenance should be done in effort to fully capitalize on the roof asset that exists. Simple enough. But what I found was alarming. There were clear deficiencies that were prime for a leakage issue. But they weren’t leaking! Now don’t get me wrong… this is a good thing and hopefully I can attend to these deficiencies before they do indeed turn into an ingress problem. So here we have it. Another perfect example of the value in learning about your roof and enacting preventative maintenance before the roof becomes more costly. Call Crucial Roof Services for all your roofing needs in the The Lower Mainland area.