That Pesky Leak That Won’t Go Away and Nobody Can Find

A common occurrence for us is to arrive at a building and have the owner say the leak has been going on for a long time and multiple companies have tried to fix it, but it still leaks. Why can’t anybody find and stop a roof leak. The roof looks so simple. To understand this, you must first understand how roofing repair technicians operate.

In typical companies, the repairman may have several leaks to look at in one day. So he shows up, looks at where it is leaking and then goes up to the roof to look around the area. His purpose is to find something on the roof that may leak. Put some sealant on anything that could possibly leak and leave to the next one. This process works for a lot of leaks, but not all. Then the next rain occurs and he is called back out. He sees the previous repairs didn’t work and looks for something else. This can occur multiple times. Frustrated, the owner calls another company who starts over with the same process.

Many times, the leak is not the roof. It can be an AC, a drain, or walls. Most roofers think we are roofers and not plumbers or AC or anything else. We look at the roof and that is it. Roofers determine it is not the roof leaking, tell you what it is and leave. The biggest conflict occurs when the roofer says the leak is from an AC and the AC repairman says his unit can’t leak. The owner is left with no help after mutual denial. Most owners see water coming from the ceiling so it must be the roof. This is where a communication disconnect occurs that prevents a proper solution in solving the leaking problem. Since the roofer is first called, the roofer needs to be in the solution business, not just roofing.

So what is necessary to properly resolve a leak before it becomes and extended problem?

First, the technicians need experience in having seen a variety of leaks and issues. Preferably, the technician should have started as a roofing installer and seen multiple types of roof systems installed first hand.

Then the company needs to train the technicians in finding solutions. This training comes with an attitude that the leak may not be a roofing issue, but the customer needs to know what it is and how to stop it.

Third is a proper presentation of the problem and recommended solution. If the leak is from an AC unit and the AC repairman denies it, then the roofer and the AC repairman need to meet at the site at the same time. The two working together to resolve the issue (water testing might be required). If the leak is from the wall or a drain, then the roofer should explain the nature of the problem. The owner can then call the proper trade contractor and be able to explain what needs to be repaired.

Some common non- roof leaks:

  • Walls: Quite often, the leak is at the ground level coming out the bottom of the wall. It is assumed the leak ran down the inside of the wall. In reality, many of these come through the outside wall.
  • Drains: From the roof level, drains can leak, but the drain enters a pipe below the roof. The connections and seals can become loose allowing the drain to leak from below the roof. During rain, the pipe can become full of water and heavier allowing it to pull down from the drain bowl. On a dry day, it may be up tight and seem like it couldn’t leak.
  • AC Units: Roof top AC units leak for a variety of reasons. Doors left off and condensate overflow are just a couple reasons.
  • Walls and windows above roof: Window seals deteriorate and leak overtime. This can also be clogged weep holes.

Zenith Roofing’s employee motto is “Whatever It Takes”. This motto is posted with a large sign in our warehouse so everyone knows it. “Whatever It Takes” means find the solution and fix it. It means going above and beyond the expectation. Not just find the solution, but be the solution.

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