A Roof Leak, Flashing & Vent Pipe Repair in Carlisle Provides a Lesson on Preventative Roof Maintenance
This week JWE Remodeling & Roofing received a phone call from a homeowner in Carlisle, PA 17015 with an urgent inquiry about our south-central PA roofing services. Turns out they had a leaking roof that was getting worse and worse and needed to be repaired. It's a familiar call, so on this page we'll describe the roof repair process and what you can do to prevent or fix your Pennsylvania roof from leaking.
We were able to get out to Carlisle within a day of this homeowner's call. After a thorough roof inspection we were able to trace the two water stains on the home's interior ceilings to their source, and the culprits were two usual suspects: poor chimney flashing and an old unsealed pipe vent.
The story of this Carlisle, PA roof repair is a cautionary tale for all Pennsylvania homeowners who's roofs are more than 10-15 years old. Read about how we identified the leaks and what we did to fix them, so that you can decide if it's time to take a look at your roof and do some preventative maintenance to avoid seriously costly home damage.
Over the course of many years, after being pounded by wind and rain and sun and snow, rubber cracks and seals break. Flashing and flanges installed around pipe vents and chimneys begin to fail. Even roofs that have properly installed components like flashing and vent pipe boots need to be replaced at some point.
This particular Carlisle, Pennsylvania roof could have been sealed better:
- The chimney flashing was only wrapped around the exterior of the chimney and did not have an adequate seal.
- There was no counter-flashing or step-flashing installed around the chimney.
- The caulk that was meant to stop water from leaking between the brick and the metal flashing was old and cracked, which caused a leak inside this homeowner's living room.
- The pipe vent was not properly installed. Heavy wind and rain was able to drive moisture beneath the flange and under the roof.
- The roof shingles should have been laid completely around and on top of the metal flange of the pipe vent boot to stop water leaks.
- Making matters worse, the entire setup was at least 20 years old and (as shown in the picture) the rubber gasket was cracked. Water was able to make its way between the gasket and the pipe and it ran down onto an interior ceiling, causing extensive damage.
These Carlisle homeowners are going to end up getting a new roof within a year or so. In the meantime, they contracted us for a simple yet effective repair of this roof leak to buy them some time. Since they did not want any expensive or invasive procedure on their roof (as they are going to replace it soon), we stopped the leaks by sealing and caulking the problem chimney flashing and installing a new boot over the top of the pipe vent.
Pipe Vent Repair & Perma-Boot Installation:
We installed a Perma-Boot vent pipe repair system over the existing roof vent pipe boot and flashing. Each component of this new boot was thoroughly caulked and sealed with a tripolymer sealant. This type of fix will last for decades, and in fact Perma-Boot provides a warranty for the lifetime of the existing shingles. The vent pipe leak in this PA roof is fixed for good. The chimney flashing leak was more complicated...
Chimney Flashing Repair, Seal & Caulk:
We sealed the chimney flashing by applying a tripolymer roof caulking sealant called GeoCel 2300 (a product capable of sealing leaks entirely submerged in water!) around the edges of the flashing. We then sealed all the flashing - from 1" overlapping the brick to 1" overlapping the shingles - with a Flex-Seal spray to ensure that no watter could leak into the home. However, the problem with this chimney flashing was that it was only on the exterior. It should have been installed with step-flashing and counter-flashing.
Proper Installation of Chimney Flashing:
Because of the problems with this chimney's existing flashing, we gave the homeowners other options for repairing it. For example, a more permanent fix involving the installation of step-flashing and counter-flashing would completely prevent future roof leaks. This is especially important because the chimney rises from the very bottom of a steeply pitched roof, so the valley where it meets the roof shingles gets a lot of water run-off.
Most chimneys, installed somewhere higher on the roof, are free from heavy water run-off over their flashing. Since this Carlisle home was going to get a brand new roof within the year, the homeowners opted for a simpler fix to buy some time. So we thoroughly sealed and caulked the existing flashing.
You can ensure that your chimneys, vents and pipes are properly protected from leaks by giving them a thorough inspection. If you are experienced with a ladder and feel comfortable up on a roof you can look yourself to check for signs of dry-rot and other damage that could lead to leaks. The best idea is to schedule a free roof inspection from a qualified local roofing contractor professional like JWE Remodeling and Roofing. We got slammed with rain and windy weather this year and last year here in south-central Pennsylvania and a lot of homeowners around Adams & York County have damage to their roofs. Most of them don't even know it yet and water is currently leaking in, causing unseen damage. Don't wait until you see the damage, because then it's too late. Stay on top of your roof's condition to stop leaks.