Why your roofing contractor may not be able to fix your leaky roof the first time.
Finding a leak is a bit like a doctor diagnosing an ailment; often they start with the tried and true: take two aspirin and call me in the morning (if your condition doesn’t improve).
Roofers start their diagnosis with a visual inspection to determine the source of your leak. A qualified roof repairman will ascend your roof and perform a visual inspection to figure out the source of your leak starting with the 20’x20′ area nearest the reported problem. This approach to problem solving leads to success 80-90% of time and is the least expensive way for the roofing contractor to diagnose your problem with highest probability of success.
The issue arises for the remaining 10-20% of the time when the contractor can’t find the leak, due to a number of reasons. Remember, once water penetrates a roof system it can run a significant distance from the point of penetration before it becomes visible or problematic for the occupant. Similarly, different types of roof construction or construction defects may lead to roofing problems unique to that situation.
When your roofer cannot find the cause of the leak on the first inspection, your roofer should return and make a second visual inspection, increasing the sphere of consideration from the initial 20’x20′ area to the surface 40’x40′ around the leak.
The roofing contractor may or may not do a destructive test or take core samples of your roof in an effort to locate the water source in the roof assembly. This approach to problem solving is more expensive, takes more time and adds to the roof damage that has to be repaired after the fact. This approach will typically identify all but the most obstinate of leaky roof problems.
If neither visual inspection nor destruction reveals the source of your leak, then your roofer may recommend diagnosis via the forced water method – essentially putting enough water pressure on your roof to force the leak to occur in real time. This is a highly successful but costly methodology. It requires two roofing repairmen spend up to a full day on your roof with a hose and other equipment generating a service invoice that can run thousands of dollars before the repair work actually begins.
Best way to avoid a costly service call? Contact a professional repairman when you first experience the leak before the situation worsens.