Home>Discussions>EXTERIORS>Roof leak and every roofer has a different opinion! Help!
5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Roof leak and every roofer has a different opinion! Help!

Our house is a Victorian twin with metal main and porch roofs. Last fall, we noticed buckling of paint and puffy plaster in the front wall in our living room and during heavy rains, a few drips of water would come through the door frame. Our bedroom is directly above the living room and there is no moisuture in that front wall whatsoever.

My Mother-in-law, who is an old house vet, but not a roof expert, thought the rain was coming in through a few cracks in our stucco exterior. We had a stucco man come out and patch all these areas and an Uncle came over and patched a few holes with gunk. The dripping through the door subsided but the moisture in the wall continued.

I have had 4 roofers come out for estimates (which have taken forever since we had a crazy winter here in PA and they have been very busy). 2 said the leak was a result of the main roof, which should be ripped off and shingles installed or new metal. One said metal the other said shingles. The 3rd said the porch roof needed to be replaced and provided a quote for new metal and also said our stucco was absorbing water and it should be repainted. The 4th was an expert in metal roofing/historic restoration. Their approach is to maintain metal roofs rather than replace them. They thought the leak was in the porch roof and said while main roof needed attention, it wasn't that bad. Thoughts?

I am inclined to trust and go with the 4th. They gave us the most reasonable quote, to coat and paint the porch roof, add counter flashing, and recoat and patch the main roof. 15 year warranty against leaks. We can't afford to replace a roof and I wouldn't want to install shingle on a twin with the other side being metal.I want the home to maintain it's original look. Also, we don't plan on being in the house for more than another 5 years so I'd like to fix the immediate problem and let the next owners decide if they want to replace it or not.

Sorry this is so long. I am so frustrated and feel helpless. I just want this situation fixed so my 1 year old isn't running around in a home with paint peeling off the walls and plaster cracking off.

A. Spruce
Re: Roof leak and every roofer has a different opinion! Help!

I'm inclined to agree with the 4th opinion about maintaining the roof you have. The fasteners that hold the metal roof on have a rubber grommet around the base of the head that creates a seal when it contacts the roofing surface. These seals can deteriorate over time, necessitating replacement of the fastener or applying a sealant to them.

I'd also revisit the wall in question. You say that the stucco was repaired, but what about sealing around windows, doors, and trim that may be on that wall? I've seen plenty of upstairs windows leak like a sieve with no damage to the upstairs, yet flood the downstairs room below it. If this is the problem, it will entail removing the stucco from the wall, reflashing the window, and replacing the water proofing membrane behind the stucco.

Re: Roof leak and every roofer has a different opinion! Help!

i completely agree with sprucey on this one. hopefully the leaks are easy to find, sometimes the leak can be in a really strange spot and the water makes its way along framing before showing signs of it sometimes many feet from the source

Re: Roof leak and every roofer has a different opinion! Help!

It sounds like the 4th roofer, who has the expertise in metal roofs would give you the best results. And the roofer that suggested replacing it with shingles (most likely only knows how to install shingles).

Restoring the roof will likely cost about 30-40% less than it would to replace the roof. And you will get a 15 year warranty (I'm assuming a manufactory warranty).

Petty Roofing, Boise
Re: Roof leak and every roofer has a different opinion! Help!

I like your fourth guy also. I am assuming the 15 year warranty is one provided by the coating manufacturer. We have had good results with most coating products. To remove and replace your existing metal roof with either shingles or metal that matches the original is a very expensive proposition and it really comes down to basic affordability. Sometimes repair and restoration of an existing roof is the best option, and sometimes it's the only option.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.