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Sometimes A Roof Leak Can Be Caused By The Architectural Design

Sometimes a roof leak can be caused by the architectural design.

It rains, and often it rains hard.

Roof water has to not only move easily away from the house, but be diverted into gutters that are sufficiently sized to handle it.

In this case we have living space roof draining onto the steep garage roof, and into a valley which diverts the water toward the siding.

From there it moves into a valley which drains into a thin, 6' long gutter.

A gallon of water is represented by 11"x21"x1".

During heavy rains hundreds of gallons of water are diverted not only against the house, but then into a small gutter. 

Water goes where it is directed to go.

The water from the upper roof meets the steeper lower roof and gains speed.  More water during the rain increases the volume which gains more speed.  Volume and angle cause water to increase in speed.

When I see this roof design, often the speed of the water forces it in.

The client arrived, and this was the first thing we talked about.  I predicted what we might find inside.

In this case the only place it was coming in is in the garage.  But I was right.  It had rained the night before, hard, and this spot and areas nearby measured 100% moisture.

I enhanced the photo a bit to make the stain stand out.  Inside the garage, unless you are looking, the stain is hard to see.  The seller may not have even known it is there.

And my thermal camera, Mighty Mo, saw that the water intrusion was larger than the stain that was manifesting.  Stains are not necessarily indicative of the entirety of a leak.

And this leaking had been happening for some time.

Fortunately it was only in the garage and it had not yet migrated into the house - a bedroom upstairs and an office downstairs.

What do I do?  Observe and report.

What does the client do?  Ask to have it investigated professionally and repaired.

What does the seller do?  Decide whether or not to address it.

And the deal proceeds from there.  The home inspector did his job - his client is informed.  And everyone is aware of what is going on.

My recommendation:  rely on the experience of your home inspector!  Very often whatever you are looking at, like this roof design, the inspector has seen before!  Hence the prediction in this case.  Even if there had not been leaking, this roof design will always be there and the potential for the condition is there, unless there is flashing put in place to prevent it.

 

 

Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC  

Based in Bristow, serving all of Northern Virginia.

Office (703) 330-6388   Cell (703) 585-7560

www.jaymarinspect.com


Comment balloon 18 commentsJay Markanich • June 20 2014 03:33AM

Comments

Morning Jay sometimes the best made plans are not really thought through. 

Posted by James Dray, Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results (Fathom Realty AR LLC) about 4 years ago

If you have a design like this James, it needs other considerations!  Like better flashing.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Good catch, Jay.  I hope they are able to find a good solution for this.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) about 4 years ago

The roof is fine Debbie.  This is a flashing problem!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Flashing work often falls throgh the cracks. Shingle installers try to get by without it or with less of it. Membranes, flashing and counter-flashing is a system that can't be replaced with a bead of caulking, yet it is often seen.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 4 years ago

If you are going to design this, make certain of the flashing requirements, Robert?

That takes thought.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay, This is a great post and somthing to remember when building and buying houses.  Steep pitched roofs do require adequate gutters and flashing! 

Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Aubrey and Associates Realty) about 4 years ago

It does T&D.  And big boy flashing.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay, steep roofs look great and may even last a little longer (I heard that somewhere, maybe even here), but they do require "water management"!

Posted by Tom White, Franklin Homes Realty LLC, Franklin TN (Franklin Homes Realty LLC (615) 495-0752 or www.FranklinHomesRealty.com) about 4 years ago

Tom - steep roofs do last longer.  You heard right.  But water needs management, as you say.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay- it does take experience and knowledge, both of which you bring to the table. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) about 4 years ago

I agree Kathy, but it's really cool to have Mighty Mo in your quiver.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

The flashing along the brick looks incorrect. I don't see a diverter flashing either. Probably would be wise to up size the gutter and down spout due to the increased volume of water from the roof field to the left. 

Posted by James Quarello, Connecticut Home Inspector (JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC) about 4 years ago

All that is true Jim.  And under the siding above, the boundary along that looong roof surface, I am imagining only step flashing, certainly not high enough.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

Jay - There is no better advantage to have than experience.  Once you have seen something many times over it is obvious what the outcome will be.  A good home inspector is worth far more than his or her weight in gold.  Thanks for the blog.

Posted by Steve Ewing - Keller Williams Realty (Keller Williams) about 4 years ago

Thanks Steve.  And this is wishing I was worth MY weight in gold!

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

My inspector has a thermal camera also and I LOVE those things!  Very insightful post in regards to roof leaks!

Posted by Renée Donohue, Las Vegas Real Estate Broker - www.urLVhome.com (Savvy Home Strategies Realty, LLC-REALTOR®-Estate-Probate) about 4 years ago

They are very fun Renee.  I have been using one for 10 years now.

Posted by Jay Markanich, Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia (Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC) about 4 years ago

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