Pan flashings don’t necessarily just have to be around skylights. Many walls utilize this same detail. Today in Vancouver we cleaned a long pan flashing along an exterior wall. The debris build up in these long pans is always substantially more then in smaller skylights. Make no mistake they all need maintenance or they will all leak. It’s just these larger pans will fill up with debris faster and thus leak at a higher rate due to the amount of roof they are covering.
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.
When working on a concrete tile roof today in Vancouver we had an opportunity to remove old caulking and replace it with a new fresh bead. This isn’t always necessary, depending on it’s location, but in this case it was on the field of a roof so the old caulking was exposed to continuous water. I wanted to do it. Well wouldn’t you know the old caulking peeled off with little resistance to expose a hole where one would not expect it. I’m not saying this would have leaked any time soon but it sure would have leaked sooner then not if we didn’t upgrade the existing caulking. The moral to the story for me is to trust your gut and more so important is the moral for the home owners is to trust an experienced contractor. I’m confident my customer is happy he chose an old guy.
When working on a roof it’s impossible not to start looking at all the other roofs around you. Today in Vancouver I was fixing a leak and noticed the neighbor’s garage had an obvious broken tile. There was no doubt this was letting water in…. and I could fix it very easily. But how do I let those home owners know without looking like an “ambulance chaser”? It’s a fine line not to look sleazy. I don’t want to be bothersome or intrusive to a complete stranger so for the most part I keep my mind on the job at hand and not worry about how I could possibly help the neighbors. The only thing I feel comfortable doing is taking a photo and sending it to my client hoping that they will talk to their neighbor about what I saw. What would you do?
Today’s challenge was the disassembling of a failing waterproofing detail around a chimney and the fabrication and installation of new pan flashing system. After you’ve seen 1000 of these things it’s pretty easy to build one. Sure there will be a small curveball thrown your way in some capacity but for the most part it’s straight forward. This rancher home in Fort Langley only tricked us once when we were building the pan flashing. A small weakness 6″ off the surface of the roof was the issue and we resolved it by covering the hole with a 90 degree angle piece of flashing. NO problem. Now if only I could do my taxes as easily!
Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem. When we do our pan flashing maintenance service packages on concrete tile roofs we often find leaks that the home owner was not aware of. This happens when the leak is close to the gutter edge and is therefore dripping through the soffit and not causing drywall damage. It can also happen if the roof leak is small and the amount of water getting in is not enough to cause notice. The final possibility is if the underlayment fabric is providing a shed and ushering the water down slope out into the gutter. Such was the case around the chimney in this Vancouver residence the other day. The wet wood on the side is proof of the leak. The value of preventative maintenance was clearly displayed to this agreeing and thankful owner.
Finding roof leaks is not an exact science. In fact it can be downright frustrating to find a roofing leak for home owners and roofers alike. So it’s a nice treat to find the “smoking gun” of proof on your first suspect choice. It’s even nicer when you make the call from from the ground. Such was the case in Burnaby BC today. Concrete tile roof leaking over the bedroom in the NW corner of the residential home. We get to the site and the only possibility in that corner of the house is a plastic roof vent. Now experience has taught me these are a habitual leaker too…. but I want to make us look good so I don’t really talk about my age. So I make the call and prove it to the home owner 10 minutes later with the warped flange of the vent in my hand and a photo in my camera. I wish I could have gotten as good of marks in Science 101.
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.
The most common leak on cement tiles, concrete tiles and clay tiles occur around skylights and to a lesser degree, chimneys. In fact it is not the Columbia Skylight or Velux Skylight that is leaking, but more so likely the roof system around the skylight that is failing.
The attached picture shows what a typical skylight looks like when the tiles have been removed around it. The style or color of the tile is not important in this example however the most common roof tile is like these, with a Roman profile, but only in red. All skylights are designed the same way. Same too with chimneys! What commonly happens is the metal pan flashing around the skylight/chimney fills with debris and blocks a clean and clear passageway for the rain water to flow. In the case pictured you can see the debris building up in the pan flashing. You will also notice that the vertical containment lip on the outside edge of the pan flashing has been pinned down (is white in color in the photo) or pushed down by the weight of the tiles that usually sit on top of the flashing. As this vertical containment lip is forced down, the containment capabilities of the pan flashing are reduced. When the containment lip is almost flat with the pan flashing and there is a build up of debris nearby this compromised area, a leak is only a matter of time from happening.
The service package we offer includes removal of the tiles to expose the pan flashing, cleaning and straightening of the pan flashing, caulking as necessary and reassembly of the system. Sometimes it is necessary to use a diamond blade grinder to “notch out” the underside of the tile so it is no longer in contact with, or sitting on top of, the containment lip. Our skylight maintenance pan flashing service package includes digital photos e-mailed to you of your skylights disassembled to substantiate all work actions. In fact, there is no need for anyone to be home.
Crucial Roof Services is your Lower Mainland tile roof specialists. We service all municipalities in the GVRD including Vancouver, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Port Moddy, New Westminster, Langley, White Rock, Ladner, Delta, Tsawwassen, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission and Abbotsford.