It feels like it’s been raining for at least two months now. Opening up the weather app on your phone makes you think, “certainly this app must be broken.” An endless row of grey clouds with cartoon rain falling from them. The rain keeps coming and with it comes discoveries of leaks. Roofs all across San Antonio are being tested and some homeowners are discovering for the first time, they have a leak. In sunnier times, your roof sat there, doing it’s job and no one noticed, but as the skies darkened and the rains came, your roof was put through the ringer and you woke up to the “drip, drip, drip” of the water coming through a patch in your ceiling.
Many homeowners see these leaks and wonder how they didn’t get noticed or caught during inspections or before they bought the home. The trouble is, there is no test for leaks on a roof.
You can’t simply dump enough water on the roof to see what happens. You have to rely on some forensic investigation by your inspector, looking for signs of leaks – the water stains, issues on the roof like missing shingles or improperly sealed flashing – these signs can lead an inspector to think there could be leaks, but unless there is active rain, they often can’t say definitively.
Add in severe weather: strong winds, heavy rain (even the dreaded straightline winds that can physically lift shingles and force water under them) and suddenly you have a recipe for a new leak that no one knew about.
So what do you do? If it’s a newer roof, see if you can get a hold of the roofer. Many roofers warranty their work and know that these kinds of weather events can expose issues that no one could have seen previously. Even if they feel it’s past their warranty or not covered, they should be able to give you a good look at what’s going on and what needs done to fix it.
Sometimes, they’ll even tell you the best bet is to just leave it as is because any “fix” won’t do much unless the one in a million conditions line up once again to cause the exact same setup that caused what is an anomaly that you’ll probably never get again if you tried.
If the leak is a bigger issue, call your insurance company and get them out to take a look. You have insurance for exactly these kinds of events and it’s time to use it. Get the adjuster out there and see what they think.
Regardless of the final fix, leaks are annoying when they happen (and they never happen while you’re sitting around with nothing to do – they always come at the worst times). Remember to try and minimize the damage. Get a bucket to catch the water, turn off lights and electronics in the room, cover carpets, and remove wet items as quickly as possible so they don’t sit, especially since items full of water sitting stagnant can lead to mold.
It can be frustrating to discover a new leak, but often there is no way anyone could have seen it coming. We spend a lot of time going through lengthy dry spells where water intrusion never has a chance to show itself. As well, those long, hot, dry spells cause shifts in materials (much like the ground around your foundation contracts when it is dry and swells when it is wet) and these shifts change how the pieces fit together, leaving gaps for water to work it’s way inside.
image courtesy of nan palmero