New Overlay Roof Leaking & Problems

Old 12-30-05, 07:31 PM
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Exclamation New Overlay Roof Leaking & Problems

In August we replaced our asphalt roof by laying over a second roof on top of the first. The roof never looked quite right to me after it was laid. There were bumps and waves, shingles that didn't lay flat, and the ridges didn't look quite right either. The contractor assured me that the roof would flatten out in time and all would be fine. The prior roof had NO PROBLEMS and had been done absolutely beautifully. It's only fault was it was 17 years old and the shingles were beginning to come off.

This past week, while we were on vacation, we were hit by torrential rains. When we returned home today, we found puddles in our kitchen. We went up into the attic and found the roof was leaking around the chimney. It's a huge leak which spreads out extensively, and down into the door frames and drips from the door and ceiling vent. We called the contractor immediately. His employee who installed the roof called us back and told us he would come out tomorrow.

I've read the posts on this discussion and I am horribly worried. I don't think they replaced the flashing. I think they may have bent up the old flashing and stuffed the new roofing under it. Along one section where the lower roof butts up against the exterior side of the wall next to the chimney, they ran a line of cement between the asphalt and the siding. Is this effective at preventing water leakage?

What should I make sure they do to fix it? We have torrential rains - can they apply cement and new flashing in such weather? I don't know that they can get up to the second story roof safely - it's extremely high and extremely steep (Post-modern Victorian).

I would appreciate any advice you might have. Should I get a roofing inspector to come out? We paid them for the job when it was done. I am VERY worried.
Old 12-30-05, 10:59 PM
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Hi suzq2,

If you contracted with a roofing contractor then he is liable for fixing both the leak and any damage the water caused. Generally, it is best to work with a contractor to fix problems before assuming the worse. Most roofers are hard working folks that want to do a good job, so give him a fair chance to make things right.

In the mean time, make sure you prepare for the possibility of things going South. Take pictures and document any damage. You may need this later if you have to work with your insurance company to fix things. Also, most States require contractors to be licensed and bonded (insured), so if your insurance company fixes things, then they might want to go after his insurance company to be reimbused. Pictures can really be helpful in these cases.

As to the way the new roofing looks - your contractor is most likely correct, in time the roof will lay flatter over time - especially when the weather gets warmer this coming summer. Keep in mind however that the roof will not look the same as if you had had the old roof removed first. This is just a fact you will have to accept.

Best wishes.

Old 12-31-05, 12:18 PM
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Well, you're probably right to be worried. I've got a very low opinion of some roofers because a few of them seem to be more concerned about speed and less concerned about doing a good job.

A new roof will only lay flat on a flat surface. If any of your shingles were curled up (as many shingles will do with age) then no, they won't lay flat. but as mentioned, it's likely that once warm temperatures return, the shingles will lay down better. It takes longer for them to lay down on a steep roof than a roof with less pitch, because gravity doesn't help them lay down as well.

When shingling over existing shingles, I have hardly even seen roofers install new stepflashings. Most often, they will just shingle right over the old flashings and use blackjack tar to seal the ends. That's a poor practice that can actually create leaks rather than prevent them. It's hard telling what they did around your chimney without actually seeing it. But it likely had to do with their attempts to tuck shingles under the flashings, or possibly they have created some sort of dam with their tar that is making water back up where it used to be able to drain freely. Their "solution" will likely be "more tar" which is the normal roofer's solution for everything. You ought to insist that they fix the problem correctly, because that tar gets old and brittle and doesn't stop leaks forever.

If contacting a roofing inspector will help you feel at ease, then by all means do it. If nothing else it will put the pressure on your contractor to fix it right. But you might also have success if you just let the contractor try to figure out where the problem is and fix it without any outside interference.
Old 01-02-06, 07:39 PM
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By the time I had finished reading your first sentence, I could have finished your sad story. Your problem is that you did not do a complete tear off of your roof. These problems are usually what happens when you do not do a complete tear off. Your shingles will never lay flat and straight with a roof over. Also when you do not do a tearoff, you do not get new flashing. Yes, they probably tucked the shingles under at the chimney. There was not much else they could do. By not doing a complete tear off, you have hindered the roofer in doing his job correctly. About all that can be done is apply a water proof sealant. Work with the contractor, but I doubt that your home owners policy will pay anything because it was a roof over and not a tear off. I also doubt if he will pay for any interior damage. Remember, he did what you wanted him to. There will be others who disagree with me, but after 35 years in this business, I can tell you that I never have nor never will do a roof over for the very reasons and problems you have. Sorry about that, I wish I could give you better news. Good Luck

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