Leaking roofs are a common complaint during winter, in particular in new homes that are being tested by the rain for the first time.
Leaks can be caused by either a construction problem, lack of maintenance by the owner, or both.
Some of the construction issues that can be the cause of roof leaks include:
- Valley flashing not wide enough
- Flashing pulled away from walls
- Flashing wrongly overlapped or fixed incorrectly
- Insufficient angle on guttering to drain water
- On metal deck roofs, incorrect or insufficient “damming” of the ridges which, with extreme wind will cause water ingress under the roof
- On a tiled roof cracked tiles are generally the problem. After the Builder has left, the installation of TV antennae or air-conditioning may damage or crack the tiles or displaced tiles are not replaced correctly.
Builders will respond to a call-out by clients to inspect a roof and attempt to discover the cause of a leak. This is often difficult as invariably the roof is not leaking when the builder arrives. Only trial and error process can reveal the underlying cause of the problem. An experienced builder will investigate the usual suspects and repairs will be done to rectify any problems identified.
Where there are structural causes, the builder is responsible for faulty and defective workmanship for up to six years after practical completion.
Problems later down the track caused by inadequate maintenance i.e. failure to clean gutters and downpipes can result in water overflow into eaves/ceilings creating stains, bubbling paint and mould. Regular maintenance and inspection by the owner can eliminate these causes and effects of roof leaks.
Are you covered?
Check what your building insurance policy covers, as generally damage must be due to a single incident – i.e. storm damage, but if the building is not maintained and the resulting damage is due to neglect or poor maintenance practices, an expensive repair of a collapsed ceiling will need to be covered at the owner’s expense.