This past week, we saw several strong storms with heavy rains and high winds roll through Central Illinois. Most areas received well over 4″ of rain, causing flash floods, closed roads, and property damage. When we receive that much rain for a prolonged period of time, it is not uncommon to see water spots and leaking on your ceiling drywall. However, what appears to be a roof leak may not always be caused by a problem with the roof.
Susceptible Areas on a Roof
Over the years, we’ve looked at hundreds of leaking roofs. Surprisingly, a lot of roof leaks are not in fact leaky roofs at all. Some of the most common non roof related leaks are attributed to the following:
- Furnace and gas vents
Over time, brick and mortar chimneys become weathered and aged. This aging causes bricks and mortar to crack and fail. Each crack in the mortar or bricks, is an area for water to permeate through and then run down the chimney. Alot of times a mason can replace damaged bricks and tuckpoint mortar joints and the problems will be resolved.
We also see several leaking chimneys that are your standard chimney box with vinyl siding around it. If the chimney is not properly wrapped in a waterproof barrier, wind-driven rain can get behind the siding, run down the chimney and behind the flashing. The fix is to simply just remove the siding from the entire chimney, install the waterproof barrier from top to bottom, covering the flashing at the base of the chimney where it meets the roof.
Similar to a vinyl sided chimney, we often run into areas on a roof where the roof meets the side of the house. Again, if there is not a proper waterproof barrier installed behind the siding, wind-driven rain and snow build-up, can get behind the siding and the flashing where it meets the roof. The process to fix this problem is identical to that of the chimney repair listed above.
FURNACE & GAS VENTS
Many homes that don’t have a traditional chimney on the roof, often have just a metal furnace or gas vent coming through the roof. Over time, these fixtures receive a lot of abuse from wind and rain, which can cause the “collars” around the pipes to become loose and break their seal. When this happens, water can get behind the rain collar and travel down the outside of the furnace pipe, which will then drip and damage or stain drywall ceilings. Most of the time these issues can simply be fixed with roof sealant, or a new furnace pipe with new flashing and rain collar can be installed.