Louisville Roof Repair Options and Information

Are You in Need of a Roof Repair and Don’t Know Where to Start?

Picture of a ceiling that was damaged and is showing brown stains from a roof leak.

Garage ceiling damaged by a roof leak and showing stains.

Many homeowners in Louisville and surrounding communities are in need of some type of roof repair service. Here are a few tips for identifying the problem, as well as a general idea of what it would require to complete the roof repair. If you are handy, there are even some repairs you can make yourself.

Think “Safety First” Before Attempting Any Roof Repair.

Whether you are on the ground or on a ladder, you must always take special precautions before attempting a roof repair. We recommend that our friends in and around Louisville call us before getting on a roof, especially if it is steep or higher than one story. However, we understand that some people already feel confident in their climbing abilities, and are just going to inspect the situation themselves. If you are one of those people who decides to be a daredevil, make sure you take every safety precaution available.  For example, check for power lines near the roof and along the path you will travel carrying your ladder.  You should also consider wearing a rope and harness, such as those used for rock climbing.  Also, make sure you do not climb alone.  Have a helper on the ground to hold the ladder steady and to assist you in case of an emergency.

Diagnosing the Roofing Problem from Inside

We are called out to inspect roofing problems around Louisville every day.  If the issue is a leak, it usually presents itself in the form of a brown stain somewhere on a ceiling or down a wall. The first step with problem solving any leak is to consider what could be above or behind the brown stain that would allow water to enter the home.  Below are a few common scenarios that I run into and what repairs you may need to make.

A Leak Near a Bathroom or Kitchen Wall

A plumbing vent in need of repair may be the culprit if you have a leak in your bathroom or kitchen. Chances are that your roofer did not use durable lead pipe collars while installing the roofing system on your home.  Instead, there is probably plastic or rubber boot flashing around your plumbing pipes. The lifespan of plastic or rubber pipe flashing is only about 8 to 10 years before it becomes brittle and starts to crack from too much exposure to the sun.  If you notice a leak in your bathroom or kitchen, be sure to inspect the flashing used around the exhaust pipes.

A Leak in the Center of the Ceiling

Picture of a roofing box vent as it would look from the ground.

This is a box style air vent on a roof.

Your home needs adequate ventilation in order to allow heat to escape the attic area.  Roofing ventilation includes various combinations of soffit vents, gable vents, box vents, and ridge vent.  Basically, air comes in through the soffit or gable end vents, and exits through the box vents or ridge vent installed at the very top of your roof. Sometimes these vents can leak and allow water to enter the home.

A Leak Around the Chimney

Improperly installed chimney flashing can cause serious leaks.  For some reason, chimney flashing is a simple process that somehow confuses many roofing installers. I have seen counter flashing on brick chimneys from Louisville to La Grange that were only face nailed to the brick and had caulk applied to close the gap at the top. Experienced roofers know that such flashing installations are, at best, a temporary solution because caulk can dry up and crack in just a few short years. If you see stains on a ceiling near a chimney, it is usually a problem with the flashing.

A Leak near an Outside Wall

Picture of a roof with damaged shingles that needed to be repaired.

Wind damage done to shingles, this one was leaking badly.

Gutters are often to blame for leaks along an exterior wall. When gutters start to droop over time from the weight of rain and ice from our Louisville winters, they start to shed water in ways that were not intended. Normally, water will overflow outwardly and cause a nice little waterfall in the center as it all floods into your yard. Water can also flow out of the gutters the opposite way, right into your home. If you notice water stains on your ceiling near an outside wall, check your gutters closely.  They may need to be cleared of debris, repitched to redirect water, or replaced entirely.

Other Potential Causes of Leaks:

  • Roof to wall flashing – There should be flashing anywhere the roof line meets a wall. Missing or damaged wall flashing can create leaks.
  • Exposed nails – Nails that are not caulked or properly covered can rust out over time, which can allow water to leak into the house.
  • Missing shingle – One or more missing shingles on your roof can compromise the entire roofing system, allowing water to seep beneath the shingles and felt.
  • Lifted or curling shingles – Shingles that are no longer sealed down properly can cause a leak, similar to the situation caused by missing shingles.
  • Leak in a valley – If the roofer did not use a moisture barrier, such as ice and water shield or metal flashing, water can leak easily into the seams of this area and directly into your home.

Diagnosing the Leak from the Ground Outside

Let’s take a trip outside of your home to assess the situation.  Start by imagining where the leak appears inside of the home in relationship to the roof outside. Can you see this area from any vantage point in your yard? If so, look for items on the roof that we listed above. Ask yourself, “If I was a raindrop, how would I force my way inside?”

Areas to Consider

  • Are there small white things that look like PVC pipe anywhere near your leak? If so, this is a plumbing vent. As explained above, yours could be dry rotted.
  • Is there an air vent on the roof near where you are seeing the stain? These look like little 1ft x 1ft boxes. They are usually located on the rear or sides of the roof. (Some homes in Louisville have newer more efficient style ridge vent that goes along the very top ridges. If you do not see the box vents, look for a small raised dark line along the very top ridges of your roof in the area of your leak.)
  • Do you see any missing shingles or ones that are lifted up near your leak?
  • Is there a wall that meets the roof anywhere nearby? If so, what is the condition of the flashing?
  • What is the condition of the chimney? Be sure to consider the flashing, but also check for cracked mortar and other problem areas.
  • Do two roof lines meet and form a valley over the leaking area? Is it covered in leaves and other debris?

Below are pictures of the items discussed in this article that may need to be repaired.

Picture of a plastic plumbing vent boot.

This type of plastic plumbing vent could be trouble. Check for cracks in the plastic where it meets the pipe.

 

Picture of damaged siding j-channel and flashing that was causing a leak.

This is an example of poor flashing work where a roof line meets a wall, which created a leak.

 

Picture of a roof with box vents.

These small box vents allow air to circulate, but sometimes can let water in.

Picture of a chimney with old flashing that needs to be repaired.

Older chimney flashing that needs a little work.

Picture of a gutter that is sagging.

This gutter was sagging, and pulled the fascia board loose causing water to flow inside of the home.

Picture of a broken pipe collar.

This pipe collar flashing is allowing water to enter the home freely.

Picture of a roof valley full of leaves.

This valley was leaking because the leaves were holding in moisture and preventing proper run off.

 

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