Leaking chimney/roof


J

Jeff

....dealing with a builder whom we have found out the hard way has cut corners on our 5 month old home.

We have now noticed a bad water leak around a brick chimney where it goes through a shingled roof. Last week we had about 4 inches
of rail and collected about 2 gallons of water leaking in from all four sides of the chimney/roof juncture. Of course, a single
hole in the flashing on one side could be causing water to enter and run all around the 4 sides - can't really tell as wood framing
is in the way.

We are uncertain of the exact cause and apropriate fix. The builder's original roofer was already out once, and put some extra
roofing caulk (not sure of the actual name) around the top of the flashing. He suggested that the problem might be within the
chimney, as the clay flue liner doesn't look like it was mortered well and was slightly offset over the last few flue pieces to move
the liner over a few inches to center it. He claimed that wind-blown rain might be entering the chimney flue and traveling through
the poor morter joints into the brick outside. I've installed a plastic bag over the chimney/flue opening, however, and the water is
still leaking.

Another issue is the quality of the brick work in the attic - instead of a neat brick job, the masons simply slapped whole and
broken brick around the flue lining without full morter joints. The thing looks terrible, and not particularly strong, but it is
confined with the attic. That is the area where the water is appearing and dripping onto the ceiling. We now know that the builder
hired very bad masons, some of whom had little or no experience.

The Question: Is there any way that the poor masonary job could be contributing to the leak, or is the problem most likely due to an
incorrect flashing job on the roof? I know that a brick wall is pourous, so I am imagining a scenario where water running down the
roof might hit the side of the brick chimney, go right through porous brick and travel down the inside of the chimney until it meets
the poor brick/morter job in the attic. Because morter is missing there and some brick is turned sideways etc., the water could
then run back outside the brick wall.

The other possibility is that the masonary job in the attic is strictly cosmetic and the problem is confined to the roof flashing.
What, however, could a roofer do wrong that would make the leak so severe (2 gallons or more a day)? There is flashing in place and
I can't see anything obviously wrong with it.

We have an inspector coming out to look at it soon, but I wanted to get as many opinions about this as possible.


Thanks in advance
 
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T

Tom Baker

Jeff said:
...dealing with a builder whom we have found out the hard way has cut corners on our 5 month old home.

We have now noticed a bad water leak around a brick chimney where it goes through a shingled roof. Last week we had about 4 inches
of rail and collected about 2 gallons of water leaking in from all four sides of the chimney/roof juncture. Of course, a single
hole in the flashing on one side could be causing water to enter and run all around the 4 sides - can't really tell as wood framing
is in the way.

We are uncertain of the exact cause and apropriate fix. The builder's original roofer was already out once, and put some extra
roofing caulk (not sure of the actual name) around the top of the flashing. He suggested that the problem might be within the
chimney, as the clay flue liner doesn't look like it was mortered well and was slightly offset over the last few flue pieces to move
the liner over a few inches to center it. He claimed that wind-blown rain might be entering the chimney flue and traveling through
the poor morter joints into the brick outside. I've installed a plastic bag over the chimney/flue opening, however, and the water is
still leaking.

Another issue is the quality of the brick work in the attic - instead of a neat brick job, the masons simply slapped whole and
broken brick around the flue lining without full morter joints. The thing looks terrible, and not particularly strong, but it is
confined with the attic. That is the area where the water is appearing and dripping onto the ceiling. We now know that the builder
hired very bad masons, some of whom had little or no experience.

The Question: Is there any way that the poor masonary job could be contributing to the leak, or is the problem most likely due to an
incorrect flashing job on the roof? I know that a brick wall is pourous, so I am imagining a scenario where water running down the
roof might hit the side of the brick chimney, go right through porous brick and travel down the inside of the chimney until it meets
the poor brick/morter job in the attic. Because morter is missing there and some brick is turned sideways etc., the water could
then run back outside the brick wall.

The other possibility is that the masonary job in the attic is strictly cosmetic and the problem is confined to the roof flashing.
What, however, could a roofer do wrong that would make the leak so severe (2 gallons or more a day)? There is flashing in place and
I can't see anything obviously wrong with it.

We have an inspector coming out to look at it soon, but I wanted to get as many opinions about this as possible.


Thanks in advance
Any or all of the conditions you mention are possible sources of
leaks.
Make sure your "inspector" gets up on the roof and looks at flashing
and chimney cap; into the attic and looks at the flue and the brick
work. If you are not comfortable with his attention to detail or his
discussion of the problem, you * may * have to hire a forensic
architect or engineer who may have a deeper technical background.

You should have a contract with the General Contractor rather than
with his sub contractors. If this is the case, you don't have to
struggle with the subs, who can pass the hot potatoe around from one
to another until you give up. The GC should have a contract with you
and it is his responsilbility to see the problem is fixed. You can use
whatever investigative reports to add force to your request that you
get a house that meets the standards of the business.

TB
 

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