For the last few months, during heavier rain, there is a small leak in
my roof. The leak is in my utility room, attached to the house, and
directly visible since there is no attic in the way. It was a mystery to
me where it started until I was able to narrow it down today. I was able
to take some pictures:
Image '68 shows the general area on the roof where the water is getting
in. I verified this today with the hose turned on and placed over the
area. I was unable to spot anything obvious on the roof from the outside.
Images 69 and 70 are from inside. You can see the water stains in 69 and
the close up shows what appears to be a tare between the roofing boards
that is allowing the water to drip through. The leakage is very slow,
perhaps one drop an hour with rain, but of course the hose over top
accelerated this. The question is: how do I repair this. I'm guessing to
coat the topside over this area with roofing cement, but not sure. I
don't know exactly on topside where this perforation lies, so maybe some
suggestions for that.
Thanks, in advance, for any help.
Note that the actual "perforation" (point of infiltration) is probably uphill
from there. E.g., water may be getting *under* a shingle and traveling along
the topside of the roofing board (i.e., on the underside of the lowest layer
of shingle) before reaching this "opportunity" to pass between the roof boards.
It is unlikely that the "perforation" is exactly in line with this "drip"!
E.g., you may have a nail pop or other really slow leak that can't
readily get into the attic space directly so has to resort to subtly
wandering around looking for this opportunity! As the roof may have a
"side to side" pitch (locally), you can't be sure that the failure is
directly above the ppoint where the water is dripping (it's probably
being coerced to follow the EDGES of any shingles it encounters along
Can you feel (from the inside of the roof) a difference in "moisture content"
between the board(s) above the drip and below? Don't be faked out by
If you have a spotter (or a remote camera) so *you* can be outside
with the hose (a more skilled action than "watching for drips" on
the inside), carefully direct the hose to specific areas (and for
a fair amount of time so any water can makes its SLOW progress
along whatever circuitous route it requires).
Note, in particular, whether your hose is letting water creep
*up* under courses of shingles. Gently lift shingles to examine
nail heads to see if any are lifted. Or, if you can see any
tears in the asphalt.
That will depend on the actual failure you discover. If it's just
a nail pop, you can slop some adhesive under the shingle or nail
head and sink a new nail. If, OTOH, the house has "moved" and
torn some underlying shingle course, you'll want to replace that.
It's easy work -- just not particularly "fun". Esp if you have to
worry about weather. Don't fall for the temptation of just
slathering adhesive/felt all over the place and "hoping" you've
caught the problem "by accident". You'll be forever worrying if
the next storm will leave you with a mess -- or, with a DIFFERENT
[Note if it is getting cold in your location, keep in mind that the
shingles will be more brittle -- less tolerant of your walking on them
Start with a tape rule and some "landmark" (chimney?) and CAREFUL measurements
to get yourself in the ballpark.
[And, by coincidence, it's raining, here, yet again! Cripes, when will Monsoon
I think it is though. When I had the water running on there today, it
was right over the top of where the drips were occurring, not higher up
Tonight, I took a flashlight and shined it directly onto the area where
the leak was coming through. I then went topside and,from the ladder,
tried to see if the light was coming through anywhere. Turns out that
if I slightly lifted on shingle, I could see the light and this was
right over where the leaks are occurring. Based on this, I feel
reasonably confident that the leak is directly underneath the same area
topside. Now that I know the exact spot, I picked up both some roofing
caulk, that needs applied with a caulking gun, and some rubber coating
spray. Not sure which I'm going to use. The spray would be more
convenient, but would it hold up as well as the roofing caulk?
On Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 8:02:20 PM UTC-4, Al roarke wrote:
Something isn't right there. There should be underlayment, then the
shingles. Even with shingles, if they are properly staggered and none
are broken/missing, I don't see how you would see light by just lifting
up a shingle. I'd also look at alignment, ie where the edges are.
If they laid a row down where they didn't start it right, you could
have edges too near edges from the rows before or after. Where they
meet should be offset by about 3" from the course above and below.
Basic process is to carefully lift them up and look around until you
can identify what's wrong.
Based on this, I feel
I would identify the exact problem before applying any fixes.
how old is the roof? what part of the country are you in? how long were the shingles guaranteed for.......
is there tar paper under the shingles??
all of these basic questions are important...
if the roof is near end of life, theres no use putting a lot of time money and effort in a roof that ultimately needs replaced soon..........
10 years old; I am in Eastern PA, about 10 mi N of Philadelphia. No
guarantees as I wasn't here when they were put on, although I did sort
of know of the roofer.
I understand. Overall, I haven't been happy with this roof. I
inherited this house from my parents and the roof before this one was
put on by my brother and father. It lasted 30 years, but it was an
additional layer on top of the original. Then, 10 years ago, my father
was too old and sickly to pull of the existing layers and place a new
one, so he hired someone by word of mouth. I think that was a mistake.
Within two years, I remember seeing a portion of the lower roof peeled
back from the wind. This was a "rubberized" section the roofer
installed, claiming it was better than shingles in that area. We have a
garage attached to the residence that was also "rubberized" and it
started leaking within 5 years and I have to coat it yearly with roofing
asphalt to stop the leaking. If I am the one to ever have to replace
the roof, I guarantee that I will find a roofer with a guarantee after
going through the problems I "inherited".
My brother is now gone too, and I know almost nothing about roofs, but I
am a quick learner.
With the hose up there, I was able to identify the exact spot where
water was leaking through. As others have said, it may be higher up, I
don't know, but for now, I sealed around and under the area with roofing
caulk. The problem is that the temps here haven't been the warmest and
it's still not solid yet today even though I applied early yesterday.
The instructions said it could be applied down to 32 F. It hasn't been
32, but down to 40 at night with daytime highs in the low 60's.
while I was applying the caulk, I noticed a roofing nail a little higher
from where I was. Since it's the only one I see, I'm guessing that
roofing nails should not normally be visible? Perhaps the source of the
leak, but I only saw it after the fact.
On Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 8:07:37 PM UTC-4, Al roarke wrote:
If you saw a nail head above a shingle, you can be pretty sure that that is
where your leak is.
It is not uncommon for a "nail pop" to wear through the shingle that is
supposed to be covering the nail. That hole in the shingle will let water
through and the water will follow the nail until it is under the shingle.
From there it will enter the house at the next lower spot that it finds
You need to go back on the roof, remove the old nail and apply roofing tar
under the shingle to seal the hole. Use enough tar so that it oozes up through
the hole in the top shingle and seals it. Don't bother banging the nail back
down, it will just pop up again.
I had a number of nail pops in my old roof and I kept it working for a few
years by sealing the holes as described above, but eventually I had the house
re-roofed. When that was done, it was done properly, with an ice barrier,
full soffit vents and a roof vent. I also had new gutters installed and
then added foam rafter baffles so that the soffit vents could do their job.
On Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 8:07:37 PM UTC-4, Al roarke wrote:
It is better. It's a waterproof barrier to prevent water from ice
damming getting inside. It's required by code from the edge up the
roof 2 ft past wall where interior heated space begins.
If the roofer used the real product, no way it's the source of that
problem. It's rubberized and sticky on one side. No way it's going
to lift. And clearly that can't be the problem, if they had just
used felt instead, that isn't held down at all and has zero to do with
the shingles lifting. Sounds like incorrect nailing. Did they use
staples instead of nails? I saw a new condo development where after
a noreaster, the whole place had huge sections of missing shingles.
That place used staples. Similar complex across the street used nails
and it's roofs had very little damage.
We have a
I thought you identified the exact spot with a hose? Just start
out lower and slowly move the hose up every 15 mins or so.
Probably won't work and might even make it worse.
That's for sure. Next question is why is it there? Possible
someone previously tried to fix the leak and didn't know what
they were doing?
On Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 8:00:03 AM UTC-5, trader_4 wrote:
See my previous post. The nail head from a nail pop will often tear a hole in the shingle that was covering it. It used to happen on my house before I had the roof replaced.
As you know, a hole above where the leak appears in the attic is extremely common. The description of this issue fits the nail pop situation perfectly. It could be something different, but it has all the earmarks of a nail pop.
The second picture at this site shows exactly what I use to experience.
Interesting. I have relatives who live in Lower Bucks County -- Northampton
Township. I was just there yesterday. They had a new roof put on about 10
days ago -- a complete tear-off and a whole new roof with architectural
shingles etc; required some plywood decking replacement in a few areas. I
think the whole job was about $12,000 but apparently homeowner's insurance
paid for most of it -- about 80%. A neighbor of theirs supposedly noticed
shingles off due to wind damage etc. and knew a public adjuster would filed
an insurance claim for them. Then they got the insurance settlement money
and hired a roofer to do the new roof replacement.
This, of course, is not the scenario that you have, but based on your
description of your location it sounds like it may be near where you are
Just an update and looking for more suggestions, my generous application
of "Wet or Dry" roofing asphalt around the problem area still hasn't
solved the leak! If I take a coffee cup full of water and pour over the
asphalt, the leak still appears in the utility room. Any more ideas
would be welcome. I would have thought that the asphalt would have
solved it, but not!
On Thursday, November 12, 2015 at 8:59:30 AM UTC-5, Al roarke wrote:
Generally speaking, applying roofing cement is not the right way to
fix a problem with a shingle roof. As I pointed out previously, you
had said that with a flashlight shining in the attic, you could slightly
lift a shingle and see light. That isn't right. There should be
felt underlayment, then staggered shingles. I don't see how you would
ever be able to see light by just lifting a shingle. Focus on what is
actually wrong, not on applying cement. Those shingles look like they
are in very good shape. You fix this by finding the cause and then
possibly replacing a shingle. Did you take a look at how the edges
stagger? Possible they laid one course where the edges aren't offset
several inches from the previous course?
Having second thoughts, I ran up there and carefully removed the cement
I applied less than two hours ago. Luckily, still easily removed. I
then used the method in this video after carefully lifting the shingles:
Being only 55 F here, I wasn't able to lift them up nearly as far as in
the video, but enough that I was able to place the cement underneath. I
then pressed them down as hard as I could so the cement would spread.
In the video, he says to coat any cement that pushes out from under with
granules. Although I tried to carefully remove any of that cement,
there is still some remaining in spots. I don't have the granules, but
could get some. Are they a necessity? The good news is that I threw a
couple of buckets of water on the area and no more leaks so, I hope,
Somehow, I knew you were going to say that and it's unfortunate because
you and others seem to know your roofing here. It's also unfortunate
that I am in a pinch for funds at the moment plus a big cold front
coming, plus more heavy rain on the way. As I said before, I don't know
shingles or what to look for. Googling is nice, but sadly the pictures
and often the descriptions offered are unclear. To try and get someone
to do this simple repair, at least where I live, would have cost $$ even
if you could get them (most roofers don't want bothered here unless you
have them put on an entire new roof). I hope you understand and, at
this point, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that what I did will hold up
at least until warmer weather. There's a gazillion videos out there on
roofing and repair and how's the layman to know which one is correct?
The reason I asked about the granules is because I can only get 5 lb
buckets which run $25 and the closest store that even has such stuff to
me is 35 mi away, so I didn't want to make the trip unless necessary.
If you are refusing to answer from hereon, so be it, and I bid you
farewell and have a nice day. Others hopefully will chime in.
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