Contrary to what one might expect, there are no building codes for roof repairs; there are only some repair manuals available from NRCA and certain manufacturers/independent sources, acceptable trade practices, and rule of thumb procedures. Repairing a leak can be as simple as seeing the hole or defect in the roof and fixing it. Sometimes it will require a number of process of elimination roof repairs to stop the leaking and/or performing a water test to help identify the cause of a leak or leaks.
After examining the evidence for a roof leak from inside the structure (this examination may require measuring as it is imperative to pinpoint the correct area), then the area on the roof above the interior water damage is evaluated. When evaluating a leak to determine the best course of action, a wealth of experience and knowledge is paramount. Repairing the wrong item or area or using improper or inferior materials just creates confusion and expense, not to mention frustration.
When a roof repair is finished, you should be able to state that the work completed functions absolutely correctly. If the leak shows up again in the next rain, evaluate the original repair, determine if it is working, and look for what else could be allowing water intrusion. Water can travel quite a distance and you can have multiple leaks showing up in the same place, all at the point of least resistance.
In brief, our roofing proposals for a leak are based on the following criteria:
1. A visual inspection of the roof.
2. Hidden defects i.e., we cannot bid what we cannot see. If the roof repair does not resolve the leak and additional work is required, there can be additional costs to the homeowner. Had we known the additional work was needed from the beginning, it would have been in the first scope of work (proposal) and the price would have reflected that additional work necessary.
3. We rely on information supplied by the property owner.
4. Our primary intention is to put the roof in working order. Our secondary goal is to blend the repairs with the existing roof.
5. A leak is defined as the roof system is open and can allow water intrusion. The leak may or may not manifest itself inside the structure.
6. Most roof leaks are eliminated with the first repair and some may require additional work.
More information is available from NRCA at their website, http://www.nrca.net/.
The first paragraph of all our repair proposals and roof Inspections is posted for your review as follows:
NOTE: This roof has been examined by a qualified inspector employed by Eastman Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc. The professional opinion of the inspector contained in this report is solely an opinion and does not constitute a warranty or guaranty of the statements contained herein and may be subject to dispute. This is a visual inspection of the roof and roof surface only and does not include inspection of the building structure such as attic spaces. Eastman Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc. is not responsible for comment on any hidden defects in the roof that may be present but not visible during our visual inspection of the roof surface. We rely on information from owners/tenants and other reports when available, i.e. pest control reports, property inspections, etc. It is the sole responsibility of the property owner and their agents to make Eastman Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc. aware of any information and reports (when available) which would aid Eastman Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc. in the evaluation of existing roof conditions. If any repairs for leaks are recommended, it is our intent to first, put the roof system back in working order and second, to somewhat blend repairs in with the rest of the roof. There are no uniform standards for repairs, only what is considered an acceptable trade practice or rule of thumb. A leak (Section I) is defined as the roof system is open, can allow water intrusion, and must be repaired to insure leak-free service. Optional and additional (Section II) items are preventative maintenance items. It is not necessarily our intent to put the roof in code-complying condition or to meet manufacturer’s specifications unless a new roof is recommended. Eastman Roofing and Waterproofing, Inc. is a roofing contractor and is not licensed to inspect or certify your building as being free of pests, pest infestations, fungus, mold or dry rot. Hence, we cannot under law, warrant dry rot repair. This report does not include any estimate for repair on damage that a termite and/or masonry contractor may have caused after this inspection. This inspection report is valid for 90 days from the above date.
Case Study: Townhome in Los Gatos, CA
After numerous repairs by other companies over a nine-year period, a townhome in Los Gatos still had a leak in the same place. The homeowner’s association replaced the ceiling in the hallway and painted that ceiling every spring – a grand total of nine times.
After evaluating the leak area, we gave the owners six possible reasons why they had a leak: the cap sheet roof seams, drain or overflow intersection, drain or overflow pipe, tile roof above, tile roof alongside, or the stucco wall. We also furnished them with a proposal item by item in order of probability and priced each one individually. The owners wanted us to fix all six items, but we suggested they have only one fixed at a time so that we could determine the source of the leak.
After implementing our plan (which we told them could take up to two years and six different repairs), the leak stopped and it turned out to be the stucco wall, not one of the roofs! How do you see inside a stucco wall to determine if the waterproof paper is damaged? You can’t. The source of this leak was determined by a process of elimination. We started with the most probable item and finished with the least likely. And, in this case, the source of the leak was the least likely item.
Fortunately, most leaks are not this complicated. The bottom line, however, is whatever you repair must work after the repair is completed, even if the goal of resolving the leak is obtained through a process of elimination.