Roof leak from chimney

Old 12-18-02, 11:48 AM
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Roof leak from chimney

I own a 100 year old Village Colonial style house. When I bought the house 2.5 years ago, I bought it knowing that it needed the roof to be reshingled and the two chimneys to be rebuilt. There was a brown, oil looking stain on the ceiling of one of the bedrooms on the top floor near one of the chimneys prior to any work was done.

The chimneys were rebuilt from scratch above the roofline, and the roofers removed 3 (!) layers of shingles, and reshingled the roof, tucking the chimney flashing under the shingles.

Despite the roof and chimneys being redone, I have had periodic incidents where the brown stain has reappeared in the bedroom in a 12" x 6" area near the front chimney (which is built inside the wall) along the edge of the ceiling. The stain could never be removed completely as it tended to bleed through new paint even though the stain appeared dry when I painted it. This stain would only reappear when there was a very hard rain storm. I think I've only noticed new stains 3-4 times. Since the first stain reappeared 6 months after all the work was completed, I never bothered to re-contact the contractors and just lived with the periodic maintenance.

Now I am trying to sell my home, and the first thing the buyer's inspector noticed was the stain, and apparently had a device that "detected moisture." He also noted that the "flashing around the chimney's didn't look installed correctly."

Now I've talked to the roofer who assures me that the roof is fine and the flashing was installed correctly. It should be noted that the flashing was not sealed with any cement or tar. The inspector thought that caulking around the flashing would solve the leak problem. My roofer wants to apply something he called "plastic tar" over the flashing to seal it and make the inspector happy. Another roofer quoted me $200 per chimney to apply some kind of roofing cement over the flashing to seal any leak.

I guess my concern is that none of these solutions will work, and I have to be out of here by Jan. 15th. The leak was there before the roof work, and recurred afterwards. Sometimes when there is heavy rain, water comes down the chimney and makes a puddle of brown water in the basement by it's base. Could the water be leaking through the old masonry below the roofline and causing the stain on the ceiling? I've mentioned getting a chimney hat as well, but no one seems to agree with my idea.

If anyone could share their insights and experiences, it be greatly appreciated.

Thomas Reagan

PS I could also use some suggestions on how to cover that stain so it can be covered completely with paint once the roof is fixed.
Old 12-19-02, 08:37 PM
bungalow jeff
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Perhaps you are looking in the wrong place. Have a chimney inspection performed. The liner may be deteriorated allowing condensation (especially if you have a newer furnace) to condense and seep through the masonry. This moisture will collect on your ceiling much like a roof leak.

If the ceiling material is still sound (only stained) after the actual problem is identified and repaired, a stain-blocking primer like Kilz will hide the stain when you repaint.

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