Small leak leading to entire roof replacement????


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Old 10-09-06, 04:38 PM
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Small leak leading to entire roof replacement????

I have a strange problem, which requires some background info.

Earlier this year, I installed central a/c and, as part of the installation, a roofer subcontractor (who seems honest) was involved to "patch" the section of the roof where the a/c copper pipes would go out to the a/c compressor on top of the roof. Since then, I have had a persistent small leak: water would run along the a/c pipes towards the closet where the air handler is. (Luckly, there is a metal pan that collects the water). The first visit the roofer came to see the problem, he told me that the leak was unrelated to his subcontracting work, and I paid him $1400 for repairs (which seemed comprehensive) around a big area of the roof. But the leak persisted, and it became clearer it was related to the a/c pipes.

The problem has persisted. After many, many visits, during which the roofer has done a lot of patching and re-patching (for free)-- both around the section where the a/c pipes go out, as well as a big chunck of roof around -- we are unable to pin down the source of the problem (although it has partially ameliorated after each visit).

Since the leak shouldn't be happening, the roofer has concluded that the only reason why this may persist is that the is a leak somewhere in the current roof, that the water is travelling *between* the current roof and some previous roof membrane towards where the a/c pipes hole is located, and then the water is dripping down the pipes. My first question is: Is this diagnosis reasonable? It's the first time I hear something like this (but I know little about roofs).

His solution to solve this once and for all: replace the entire roof!!! The roof is flat, metal, about 900 sf. He told me the base cost of a job like this (removing the old roof, putting a brand new one) in WashDC is $8900 . He would credit the $1400 I paid before, and then he would pay half of the remainder -- so I would pay $3700 for a new roof. Sounds like a good deal, but I really didn't want to spend $3700 for something I may not need. My second question is: Is his solution reasonable? It looks like he is "using a sledgehammer to cut a tomato". And my third question is: Is the price right?

Thanks
 
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Old 10-10-06, 08:01 AM
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Leak

Are the copper pipes insulated?
Could the water be coming from condensation on the pipes?
 
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Old 10-10-06, 08:18 AM
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Yes, they are insulated. Extensive testing showed that condensation is not the issue -- plus, the leak only takes place during rain. Thanks
 
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Old 10-12-06, 09:20 AM
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I once had a leak in a asbestos shingle roof at a corner where two sloping roof surfaces met my porch roof. I put a lot of roof cement in that area without success. What solved it was to reroof the valley between these two sloping surfaces. While doing this I found a roofing nail that was loose located about 10 feet up from the corner in the valley, and I believe it was the problem.

So, I agree with your roofer that the leak is probably originating somewhere above the pipes, and the water is trickling down under the metal roof to the pipes.

One thing you may or may not be able to do, depending on the difficulty of getting up there, is to use your water hose and progressively spray up the roof, say two feet at a time, until you detect some moisture on the pipes. Spray around the pipes for about a minute. Then stop for about 5 minutes and check for moisture. If no moisture, spray out from pipes about 2 feet for a minute, stop for 5, then check. Repeat until you either detect the general area the leak is coming from, or determine you cannot locate the source. This takes time, but if you're lucky you'll find the source and can patch it yourself.

On the other hand, the offer your roofer is giving you sounds fair to me. But, I'd want his assurance, actually I'd insist on his guarantee in writing that the leak will be fixed before payment is made.

Let us know how this turns out.
 
 

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