Roof leak or condensation?


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Old 02-09-15, 06:26 AM
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Roof leak or condensation?

The picture below shows our problem. We live in Ottawa, Ontario, and water started dripping into our bathroom alongside the fan vent. As you can see, a lot of icicles have formed in around the vent pipe. We had roof work done just this past summer, but so far the roofer is not returning our calls. In the interim, I'm wondering about the insulation around the piping. Should it be all the way up to the roof, and how to seal it properly?
 
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Old 02-09-15, 06:45 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Are you able to get on the roof and take a pic showing the flashing around the vent?
 
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Old 02-09-15, 06:58 AM
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Thanks for the welcome. I won't be able to get up there. It's a two story house and we have a fair amount snow (but nothing unusual for our area). We've been here 12 years, and this is the first problem -- so I am questioning the roofing job. I did take another look inside, and the wetness has dissipated since we stopped using the fan yesterday.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 07:07 AM
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What kind of roof work was done? new roof or patch job? More than likely the leak is caused by improper [or improperly installed] flashing.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 07:19 AM
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New roof job, replacing an older roof. The roof is under warranty, but the roofer is not answering calls, despite showing 8-4 p.m. opening hours. How common is it to not be able to reach a roofer in the winter? This is a legitimate business; as far as I know, one of the larger and more established roofing companies in our area.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 07:30 AM
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Ah, just heard from the roofer. They will send someone tomorrow, so I plan to leave things as it for now. I will post back what the problem was.
 
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Old 02-09-15, 09:51 AM
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Good to hear they are standing behind their work ... sometimes construction trades will take their vacations in the winter [saving good weather for work]
 
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Old 02-09-15, 06:05 PM
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Someone on the roofer's crew screwed up, big-time, for that amount of leakage to occur. Chances are his phone has been ringing off the hook, with all of his shoddy work leaks finally showing up in the cold and wet weather. Not that it's related to the leak, but the visible shingle nailing pattern looks a bit questionable. Make sure to take a few top-side pix when he's there, so we can give you our take on his explanation (and proposed fix) of the problem.

It might not hurt to remind him that he will be responsible for a major interior ceiling rebuild (and clean-up), if the insulation becomes saturated enough to cause a sheetrock collapse. I've seen it happen, and it's not a pretty sight.
 
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Old 02-10-15, 10:52 AM
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The roofer sent two guys. They replaced the existing piping, saying it was damaged, took out all the wet/frozen insulation, and replaced it with about 15-20 feet of new insulation. No charge.

They did acceptable responsibility, saying it was likely damaged in the roofing process, and that the existing piping was fairly fragile.

It all looks good now, knock on wood -- though not happy to hear that the nailing pattern might be "questionable."
 
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Old 02-12-15, 05:06 AM
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Not fixed! After my shower today (we've taken 3-4 four since the initial repair), I went up to have a look. It's actively leaking, water dripping rapidly from all around the vent. It seems that the new piping/new sealant had no effect. So, back to the roofer....
 
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Old 02-12-15, 05:34 AM
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Can you post a new picture of what it looks like now in the attic, ie what was replaced and the new icicles.

Also, what type of vent is on top of the roof, I assume it isn't just an open pipe pointing straight up.

Another, re-read and didn't see it mentioned, is this a first floor bath (ranch) or a second floor?

Second floor is always subject to higher stack effect creating a constant air flow out through the less than functional dampers. But this is a low flow of house temperature air which can get cooled and deposit moisture forming ice. When the fan is run, you have a large flow of air which melts the ice. But, it looks like you definitely have water at the roof level, not sure if any inside the duct. Once the moisture leaves the vent it should not be getting back through the flashing.

Bud
 
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Old 02-12-15, 06:27 AM
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I will post the new photo later. It just shows new leakage around the new pipe on the wood -- a smaller area (more actively leaking behind the pipe in the photo above), with a smaller wet area around the entire pipe. No icicles yet, just very active dripping. But this is from only a few showers, so I think the existing fix made no difference.

It's the second floor. That's why I haven't gone up there, plus we have maybe one-two feet of snow up there -- which is less than we usually would have at this time of year. We did have some ice build up in our region early in the winter, which may be part of the problem.

I'm still not sure to what degree the moisture is caused by internal only condensation (the air not going fully out) versus melting ice/snow seeping back from the roof, or both. If I recall correctly, I believe an ice barrier was supposed to be installed around that vent with the roof. The roof underlay is synthetic, Rhino paper.

The shingles were Certainteed XT25. The listed vent looks like Maximum #301/Venmar 60300 for "2A" and CT4/CT6 for "1C" (I don't have the drawing at the moment, only the proposal). The proposal indicates a replacement all plumbing stacks.
 
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Old 02-12-15, 07:42 AM
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The Venmar you listed looks like a heat recovery ventilator and not a bath fan.

I'm concerned about something like this:
Broan Roof Vent Kit-RVK1A - The Home Depot
Which isn't going to do well in three feet of snow, especially when the snow can pile up when the fan is not in use.

However, that should have been a problem all along. Something changed.

I assume they cleared at least some of the snow away when they did the repairs. Did it snow again between their repair and the latest dripping?

Here is another link with lots of illustrations. You can use their arrow to select left or right.
https://images.search.yahoo.com/imag...&hsimp=yhs-001

Bud
 
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Old 02-12-15, 09:08 AM
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Edited from earlier: Found the drawing: it's a CT4 at that location.

Yes, it snowed again, but I suspect it started leaking again after the first time we used the fan after a shower. They did not go on the roof at all for the attempted repair. They stayed strictly in the attic and seemed to assume the problem was with the piping.

There was no problem before the winter. I checked the attic during heavy rain, and all seemed good . I probably should have checked it earlier this winter.
 

Last edited by silog1; 02-12-15 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 02-12-15, 01:27 PM
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That's a good one, the roofing guys made their roof repair from inside the attic. What did they say when you called them??

Seriously, (I'm still laughing), someone needs to get all of the snow away from that area of the roof. If they had done that the current leak probably would have gone away. At least you now know the problem is outside. I realize it is very difficult to make roof repairs this time of year, but you need to get them to agree to be back in the warmer weather to see what wasn't done.

Clear the snow for now, you or them, and see if the leaking stops. Make sure they understand that the problem still exists.

Bud
 
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Old 02-12-15, 03:57 PM
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Here's the photo post-fix -- it's little dark, but most of the active leakage is behind the pipe. Since this photo was taken, we've stopped using the shower, and it's mostly just small icicles now.

The roofers have not yet scheduled a time to come out. They sent me a note saying it might be a frozen damper in the vent. We ran a hot shower and saw steam coming from the vent, so I'm not sure that's the case, though a partial freeze/leak into the vent seems likely.

I've looked at the Maximum CT-4 diagram. Is it likely that the snow/ice would get into that type of vent? There is no more than two feet on the roof, but the vent is surrounded by the snow and barely visible. Even the roofer's repairs guys said it's been a light winter for snow (for us). In 12 years with our other vent, this was kind of leak was never an issue, and we had a lot more snow than this on some of those years.

Is it my responsibility to the clear the snow or should this be a warranty thing? I suspect technically it's my responsibility, as there are the typical disclaimers about ice dams, etc., but they misdiagnosed the problem to begin with and ISTM that none of this should be happening with a six-month-old roof. Also, should I change the vent in the spring, and what would be a good one (and should they change it)?
 
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Old 02-12-15, 06:31 PM
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Your alleged roofers screwed up on the topside during the original reroof. Probably took shortcuts in sealing or flashing (if they used any, that is). Taking hot showers is causing adjacent snow to melt and flow past their screw-ups, into the attic. I've never heard of roof leaks being repaired from the inside, but I guess I have a lot to learn.

Get them back in warmer weather, when the snow is gone. In the mean time, avoid taking hot showers, or just crack a window open slightly when you have need of a shower.
 
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Old 02-13-15, 07:17 AM
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I have not yet been on the roof, but I was able to snap these pictures of the vent. Is this an adequate vent for the snow we receive?
 
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Old 02-13-15, 08:19 AM
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Looks like a problem to me, plus, if that is a chimney top in back there could be excess heat in that area helping to melt some snow which would contribute to the ice dam behind your vent. In any event, if they had flashed it properly it should have performed just as it has in the past.

Bud
 
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Old 02-13-15, 12:38 PM
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Looks to me that it is creating its own ice dam. All the snow is melted around the vent and turned to ice. See the right hand side of the indent in the snow. The heat from the vent is melting the snow and the water has no where to go. There are icicles in the attic so it is cold in there as well.

I say, take shorter, not as hot showers, don't use the vent until you can clear some of the snow. If you can get a snow rake and drag a path from the vent down, it will most likely clear the problem. That's a ton of snow and more than that particular vent was designed to handle.
 
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Old 02-13-15, 02:02 PM
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As I have gotten older I have had to resort to easier ways to do things. If you have ever seen a ladder left in place flat on a roof, well I built a set of stairs. This gets me to my low slope area where I secure myself and use a scoop to push the snow off. I'm making good progress at minimizing the snow melt, but there are times when just 3 or 4 feet of snow has to go. Whatever the configuration of your home, being prepared to easily and safely remove the snow is a real plus.

Bus
 
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Old 02-17-15, 07:37 AM
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Just an update, the roofers came on Friday. This time, they worked on the roof and in the attic. They cleared the snow/ice around the vent. To their credit, they have been trying to solve this throughout some extremely cold weather (wind chills approaching -40C/-40F).

The explanation was that ice build-up had lifted the vent (including the nails and sealant). Ice under the vent was then melting with each shower. He said he had never seen it before, and they've been using the CT-4 vent for 10 years.

The flashing is built in to this vent, so that was not the problem; it was the ice build-up. To solve, they melted the ice under the vent (with help from our shower on high; I know how to create my own very realistic sauna), followed by new sealant under and around the vent, along with better insulation around the piping. He did not think the vent was to blame because they have been using it for so long, mostly just a force of nature problem.

Upon further monitoring over several days, there is no longer any significant leakage. However, after showers, there is still a smaller area of wetness on the wood around the vent, and a very small (1 cm x 3 inches) single icicle. I've passed this along to the roofer. ISTM this could be one of three things:
1. Heat from the hot air on the roof melting the residual moisture and frozen condensation. It has remained very cold (Friday's high was around -22C, -5F, and not much higher since then), so the condensation is easy to see.
2. Hot air leakage somehow going back down and around the top of the vent, melting the residual moisture and frozen condensation.
3. More of the same roof leak problem. The new sealant was put on at very low temperatures, so I wonder about that.
 
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Old 02-17-15, 07:51 AM
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Many sealants do not work well on wet surfaces. Many indeed say that they stick to wet and dry surfaces, but my experience runs counter to that. The cold weather also prevents sealants from spreading out and curing properly. If if is down to a minimum, then may be best to live with the one icicle, keep the area clear and re-address when the weather breaks.
 
 

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