When Roofing Contractors Fix Roof Leaks on Older Homes: The Tip of the Iceberg?

Roofing contractors must be especially attentive when they repair and fix roof leaks on older houses. Here are some of the basic points they will look for and why.

What a Roofing Contractor Asks in Order to Fix Roof Leaks

  • Is the roof nearing its general life expectancy according to what is predicted for that type of roof covering?
  • fix roof leaksHas the roof been inadequately maintained and cared for, thereby diminishing its life expectancy, and is it now close to overall failure?
  • Has the roof sustained damage due to wind, impact, freezing, damming or stress to eaves and other parts of the structure by ice and snow, or from other extreme conditions?
  • Can a simple repair be made given the condition of the overall original sheathing, flashing and underlayment?
  • Is the original wall, rafter and roof design adequate, or was the original structure designed to older and less sufficient standards where a leak may presage the failure of the entire roof?
  • Is it an “honest” leak due to a minor error, unusual stress or hidden fault in materials, or did it occur because of deficient roofing technique, design or practices on the part of the original contractor?
  • Does sagging, bowing or separation in roof and chimney or other elements indicate serious flaws or damage?

Choices a Roofing Contractor May Present

  • If the roof is sound and there is enough life expectancy left, the roofing contractor may recommend proceeding with a simple repair to the extent necessary to completely fix roof leaks or other problems.
  • He may have found a localized fault due to hidden damage from rotting, stresses or other factors. He will then urge the owner to opt for a more extensive repair involving stripping off part of the roof, replacement of affected underlying structures, and matching as closely as possible the texture, colour and quality of the original roof covering.
  • A more extensive repair than the one above may require replacement of one whole section of roof.
  • Entire replacement of the roof covering may be the best option if the roof life expectancy is near or if the roof has deteriorated prematurely due to insufficient care and maintenance. This may involve replacement or adding of new sheeting, and is an opportunity to install a better protective membrane under the roofing material and update the flashing, since it also has a life expectancy.
  • Poor design choices, out-of-date, possibly inadequate building standards, practices and materials, or serious hidden faults or damage to load-bearing elements may demand minor to extensive retro-fitting of supporting walls and rafters. In essence, the entire roof and underlying structure may need replacing and would preclude any simple leak repair.

Time Takes Its Toll on Older Roofs

fix roof leaksThe advanced age of a house may present even more possibilities for problems, as its roof will have been exposed to a greater number of stresses from weather and settling over time.

It may also have been built prior to the development of current codes, inspection practices, and introduction of improved materials and techniques.

Be wary of do-it-yourself options or an unschooled repairman; professional roofing contractors offer valuable and often necessary evaluation.

The customer may have asked for a simple repair to fix roof leaks. But an ethical and responsible roofing contractor will not simply stop the leak and walk away. He will inspect the overall condition of the roof to establish that the leak was isolated and not an indication of a more serious situation. This may mean more initial expense than anticipated, but it can save a great deal more in the long run.
 
vancouver-rooferAs a renovator Doug did many rot repairs which gave him a good understanding of where and why buildings leak, and how to prevent it. He realized the need for a different approach to roofing; one that educated the customer enough to make good decisions. With better trained installers and a quality inspection process Absolute Roof Solutions was born…” Read more.

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