Finding roof leaks, asphalt shingles montgomery county md

Finding roof leaks, asphalt shingles montgomery county md

  • Look at all roof penetrations in the leak area closely for holes and / or damage.
  • Look for “shiners.” Shiners are nails that were not covered by the following course of roofing material. If left exposed too long, many nails will rust, leaving a hole and causing leaks.
  • Look at the mortar on chimneys and parapet walls. It’s rare, but damaged mortar can cause leaks.
  • If your building has a stucco facade, then cracks in the stucco, especially along the tops of walls, can be the source of leaks.
  • Check to make sure that all drain details are functioning and that your gutter is not full of debris. If your edge details and gutter details are not done correctly, water can back up over the top of the fascia, run along the soffit, and down the inside of the wall where it enters your building.
  • If you look carefully, and find nothing on the roof, then check your attic or ceiling space. What looks like a roof leak can be a problem with the plumbing, especially with commercial buildings because fire sprinkler lines usually run along the attic space. This is often identified by a leak occurring when it isn’t raining.
  • Another problem frequently mistaken for a roof leak is a poorly designed roof-mounted HVAC unit. HVAC units can have faulty pans in them which can permit water to enter the building during a rain storm.
  • Look for areas where there is a lot of debris such as leaves and branches that have gathered. Piles of debris can block water flow which can cause the water to back up under the roofing. This commonly occured behind chimneys and in valleys.

If you are calling a contractor to take care of your leaks. Here are some questions that he may want to ask you.

Q: Has anyone been on your roof doing work? An electrical contractor, HVAC mechanic, someone installing a heat pump or evaporative unit? And if so, were they anywhere near the leak area?

This question is important because people can often drop tools which can penetrate the roof and cause a leak.

Q: Does it leak only when there’s a wind-driven rain? Only when it snows?

A lot of times wind will drive rain up under overhangs where it can get into the building where it normally couldn’t. Or if there is a turbine vent that is frozen in place, the wind will drive the rain into it and cause a leak. Snow is tricky because it can cause ice dams which will allow water to back up under shingles, or it can be deep enough to go over the tops of curbs. When it starts melting, it starts leaking.

Q: How long after precipitation starts does the leaking begin? How long after the precipitation quits does the leak quit?

This will give the contractor an idea of how far the water has to travel before it actually shows up.

Q: Has anyone been up in your attic recently?

A lot of times when plumbers, electricians, HVAC mechanics, etc. are working in attics, they can knock a flashing loose, break a seam along a condensation line, or even accidentally put a hole in the roof system by puncturing it in the spaces between decking. None of this is purposefully done, it’s just something that happens because attic spaces are usually very cramped and difficult to

Bradley Construction, roofing contractor serving Bethesda, Potomac, Chevy Chase, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Rockville, Northern Virginia, Washington DC

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1 Response to Finding roof leaks, asphalt shingles montgomery county md

  1. IAN on August 6, 2012

    great article!

    Reply

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