A lot of the time roof leaks are caused by common problems such as a missing or broken tile, split lead flashings or bad workmanship. There are times when roof leaks only occur in very heavy rain or when its blowing in a certain direction. One of the reasons why I love my job so much is because it sometimes involves a little detective work and the cause is not always what you think it would be…
I was recently called out to a house that had a suspected roof leak which had been happening for some time. Looking from the outside of the property I first checked for the obvious, any missing tiles, broken or mis-seated ones. The roof was covered with Rosemary tiles which can sometimes be a bit tricky to find causes of leaks. Even small cracks can leak badly or if the roof is at a shallow angle it is possible for wind and rain to drive underneath the tiles.
With nothing obvious visable outside I had a look in the loft for anysigns of day light or damp areas but again nothing was visable apart from the damp area on the ceiling below which had become quite soggy an mouldy.
The owner of the house told me that a plumber had been in to remove the cold water tank following a boiler refit. As it happens there was a pipe above the damaged ceiling but when I looked I couldn’t see it dripping or water spraying out but on closer inspection (as much as you can in a dark loft) there was a drip of water on it when I ran my finger along the pipe. It seemed quite old so it had not been altered when the tank was removed and there were no joins or bends near the leaking area.
Using a torch I found the tiniest pin hole in the copper pipe, could this be the culprit? Surely a hole like that couldn’t do that much damage? Turns out it was and it must have been dripping for a long time.
After repairing the pipe I removed the damage ceiling and stripped back the wall paper. Using the same size plaster board I screwed it to the joists and taped up the edges to stop it cracking in the future.
After the board was fitted into place it was a simple case of skimming the board and leaving it ready for the decoration. All that and I didn’t even have to go on the roof anyway!!
Here is the part of the copper pipe that was cut out and repaired. If you look closely you can just see the pin hole-