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Thread: Evasive leak

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    4

    Default Evasive leak

    Q: Should we pay licensed contractor to continue to find source of leak or hold him to the work already done to find/fix leak? We have water leaking inside the house at the top of a new slider installed by same contractor. Leaks only in driving rain and will leak hours after rain stops. There's a metal awning over slider. Leaks over stationary door but now is leaking over moving door. History:Caulk outside and inside of new slider showed cracks. Same contractor re-caulked three times (slider frame, including screw holes of awning bracket over slider). Time 3&4 had him use Lexel caulk. Before new slider, water collected underneath the floor board at the foot of our old slider. The wood floor inside showed water damage. Hired him to replace the slider and fix water damage. With the installation of the new slider,we saw visible dry rot in subfloor and floor joist. He installed new floor joist and new patch of subfloor. We asked him to find the source of leak. He proposed removing siding to find source. He found 2nd floor window trim rotten and identified source of leak to to be a joint in the siding above the 2nd story window that fed water along the window, beneath siding, running around slider and collecting at the spot of rotten floor joist. We proceeded with replacing 2nd story windows above the slider (three total), window trim, and siding. He says he's done all that he can do and that leak must be where siding meets the trim boards at the top of the house. He ruled out roof and 2nd floor shower as possible source. Says, siding only goes under trim board by 1/4" and driving rain is getting under siding and exiting out slider. What is fair for both of us? Pay him or hold him to prior paid job?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,360

    Default Re: Evasive leak

    From what you wrote;

    He did good work and a lot of it. While his diagnosis may have been off, he did install new materials which needed replacement. So on that basis he deserves to be paid for the work he did. The leak is still there, so I am going to guess he didn't test with a garden hose or go high enough. The leak can easily be above those windows upstairs.

    Start with this test- When its all dried out, take a garden hose and (without splashing all over) hose down the slider. See if that leaks. Then s l o w l y move up the exterior of the building with the hose until leaks are evident. Using a stethoscope may help find the leak sooner.

    If this were my job I'd be giving back some of the money for my labor due to the error in locating the leak. But that's how I roll. You still have the materials.

    Leaks are tricky and can take a long time to figure out in both time and money. Bringing in new people isn't any guarantee of success. Its more of a moral judgement to me than a law argument. If you think he was earnest in his efforts, he's due the money. Only you can determine that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Evasive leak

    Thanks for your response. We've paid him for all the replacement work. As you say and from our experience, sources of leaks are hard to locate. He did spray above above the windows below the roof line and below windows but no leak. Then he sprayed over the awning and the water came inside. He took the awning rail off and put in bigger screws to hold the rail (the original screws showed rust and the screw holes were worn) and caulked around the screws and recaulked where the awning meets the siding. We were all certain that was the end of it. We had two weeks of no rain. He sent us a bill, for that visit (surprised us, but ok since it seemed unrelated to his work). First rain, the water came back inside the door. When it leaked I called him, no response. Called again no response. He came by the house, (didn't let us know he was at the door) and left us a proposal to continue to find the leak and note that he checked with contractors state license board to confirm that he did all that he was obligated to. We checked with the state license board and they said file a complaint. We don't want to file a complaint. We just want the leak fixed and he has the best knowledge about our house. He thinks it's at both the awning and gable locations. He's proposing to seal both locations. Now he wants to be prepaid. It is a judgement call. Can you tell us more about what you mean by using a stethoscope? Would that be for listening for water dripping behind the interior walls? Btw: Like your web site. Too bad for us were a few states away. A master bath remodel is our next step.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,481

    Default Re: Evasive leak

    You say "new slider", was this a replacement of an existing door or was a new door installed through the wall? If it's a replacement door and the wall didn't leak before hand, then the leak is likely due to an improperly installed door. If there was no door before, then something happened during the install to cause that wall to leak. Both accounts, IMHO, leave the responsibility on the contractor to rectify the issue. The fact that he's not returning calls, shows up unannounced and leaves notes on your door that the contractors board sides with him, is a feeble attempt to make you go away rather than have you press the issue.

    From the sounds of your posts, you're trying to be reasonable and get the situation rectified. The contractor, on the other hand, while initially trying to fix the problem, has decided that it's too much bother and rather than work with you on a solution wants to cover his fat arse by getting prepaid for any further work. A real scum bag that gives the rest of us a bad name.

    Has anyone discussed the possibility that mold is now growing inside the wall due to the leak and wet insulation?
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    nova scotia, canada
    Posts
    1,522

    Default Re: Evasive leak

    my question is, is this a sliding door or a sliding window? reason being, sliding windows are notorious for leaking, part of the reason most guys will rarely install them. ive torn out a ton of them and all have signs of leakage because they dont seal correctly especially in wind.

    hard to side with anyone on this. he has taken many attempts to find the leak, but hasnt removed the siding on the wall. by not doing so he cant see what condition the building paper is in or how the window was flashed up top to keep water out. it could also be a defective unit. more often than not in a case similar to yours the door or window at fault was properly sealed and installed however theres a crack in the unit which is allowing water in. id say your next best plan would be to contact the manufacturer and get a service technician sent out to warrenty the unit. service techs know every inch of their companys product and can find the problem and fix it
    fire up the saw and make some dust

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Evasive leak

    Thanks for all your replies. I'm new at this and have inserted my original request with details underlined. It's a slider door on 1st floor replacing an old slider door. There was a leak before the new door. Contractor did replace siding above door and to about 1 ft above 2nd story windows. He found water damage at 2nd story window. Plus we had the new siding painted by licensed painter and his crew recaulked windows and siding joints and put primer and two coats of paint. Painter painted the whole back side of the 2nd and first floors, including existing siding so paint would be consistent and for a good seal.
    I feel stuck because general contractor knows everything about the house (he replaced siding, three windows and slider door & floor joist where old leak deposited water). This job (leak) is beating both of us up and now is complicated by weakening trust on both sides. We're going to call him in for a talk, review his proposal and let him know that if we hire him for this job, we'll pay a deposit and balance at the end of the job, like all previous jobs. You're right his request for prepayment may be his way to say he's done with it. If so we'll hire someone who wants the job. Time to be adults. Thanks for giving us industry perspectives.

    We have water leaking inside the house at the top of a new slider door installed by same contractor. Leaks only in driving rain and will leak hours after rain stops. There's a metal awning over slider. Leaks over stationary door but now is leaking over moving door. History:Caulk outside and inside of new slider showed cracks. Same contractor re-caulked three times (slider frame, including screw holes of awning bracket over slider). Time 3&4 had him use Lexel caulk. Before new slider, water collected underneath the floor board at the foot of our old slider. The wood floor inside showed water damage. Hired him to replace the slider and fix water damage. With the installation of the new slider,we saw visible dry rot in subfloor and floor joist. He installed new floor joist and new patch of subfloor. We asked him to find the source of leak. He proposed removing siding to find source. He found 2nd floor window trim rotten and identified source of leak to to be a joint in the siding above the 2nd story window that fed water along the window, beneath siding, running around slider and collecting at the spot of rotten floor joist. We proceeded with replacing 2nd story windows above the slider (three total), window trim, and siding above slider door and 1ft above 2nd story windows. He says he's done all that he can do and that leak must be where siding meets the trim boards at the top of the house. He ruled out roof and 2nd floor shower as possible source. Says, siding only goes under trim board by 1/4" and driving rain is getting under siding and exiting out slider.

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