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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default Leaking brown liquid

    Good morning. Not sure if this is something posted previously on this site but have to imagine my situation is not unique.
    Last winter I noticed a brown liquid puddled on my kitchen counter top and that it had run down the backsplash from the cabinet above. I assumed someone had put a cup of coffee in the cabinet and it tipped over. Not the case. I wiped it up and thought nothing of it further. Well, it happened again. This time I looked in the attic space above and saw that it was running down the walls there as well. Additionally, there is a plumbing vent in that attic space. I also noticed that the same type of colored stain existed on the exterior siding as well as the soffet vents and on the windows. BTW, the roof on my home was redone in 2005 during a complete overhaul and renovation by the previous owner who I learned was a contractor/carpenter. I had an insurance adjuster out to assess the condition who told me what I already knew; they would only pay for damaged caused by the liquid and not any roof repair/replacement. I then asked a guy who I knew well enough to call a friend who owned a roofing/siding company to come take a look. He told me the shingles were bad(brand recall in fact) and that they needed to be replaced. Since we could not afford to complete the entire roof(over 5000 ft of roof area), he said we could do that area only and do the rest at a later date. We both thought that maybe it was old underlayment and faulty vent boots and that replacing those would solve the issue. Long story short, the plywood was in sad shape and needed replacement as well. I thought, yay!, more money. Additionally, the previous owner used no baffles when he did his work. The attic is only partial with a knee wall and the rooms have vaulted ceilings. I believe this is called a "hot roof", and therfore requires baffles from the soffet to the ridge. Anyway, that side of the roof is brand new from sheathing to shingle, baffles, boots, ice and water, felt, etc. The first time the snow melted this winter, I had a puddle of brown water inside my cabinet. The second time the snow melted, I had a puddle on my counter top. Stains on the outside and in the attic as well. Needless to say my frustration level is peaked since I don't know if the new work was done improperly or completely unneccessary. Any and all thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Sorry for being long worded but I wanted to provide as much information as I could. Thanks for you thoughts and comments. BTW, I live in the Lapeer, Michigan area. Thx. I have photos but they are too large to post on here. Let me know if you want to see them.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    boston,ma
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Leaking brown liquid

    yes you have a leak,and or a condensation issue. It could be running down the vent pipe and dripping off a connection somewhere, this is a very common area to leak. You will have to get in there and trace the leak, look for the obvious first , stains on the rafters, insulation, siding and you will find the leak area. If is gets warmer you could spray areound the vent and shingles to see where the water is coming in. Good Luck!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Leaking brown liquid

    Thanks jled96. Seems to me like it's a bit more than a leak since it doesn't just happen when it rains, it's in more than one location on my house, and both roofs were brand new. I know that doesn't mean theres not a leak since leaks usually show up on new roofs moreso than old ones, IMHO. Plus it's brown now and it was brown last year. I wish it was a leak because it probably would have been fixed when I replaced the roof this year. Put new boots over the vent piping which I thought would have taken care of the problem. Has anyone heard of "tobacco juicing"? Doesn't really seem like my problem and it's more common out west but the color on the exterior seems to match.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Melrose, Ma
    Posts
    22

    Default Re: Leaking brown liquid

    Had the same problem with my house last year during the ice damn problem in the Northeast. If your house is old like mine, they treated the wood back then with some sort of chemical and once it got wet the chemical would run off and the result is brown staining.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    boston,ma
    Posts
    114

    Default Re: Leaking brown liquid

    If the below roof area is moist it could be a condensation issue, if warm moist air is getting inside that attic space between the rafters the vapor will condense on the sheathing and cause your issue, this is most likely what is happening, if you already ruled out the leak theory, you want to have a look at this so the roof deck sheathing doesn't rot out from the inside, this can cause a number of issues. You might have to take down some interior sections to see if this is what's happening. You might want to get a roof professional to get an firm answer. I have been in attics during the winter months rewiring and seen far too many roofs with 1/2" thick ice on them inside under the sheathing. Good Luck!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Leaking brown liquid

    Thanks for all of your input. I spoke with the roofing contract who did the replacement last year. He was not very inspiring and offered little valid explanation as to why this is happening again. He's of the opinion that one should treat a roof like we treat exterior walls and pack them with insulation(celulose) to block the heat from escaping, ie no baffles or such and down to the soffets. Not a big fan of that idea since your roof would cook all summer and IMHO the shingles would last about half or less as long as they should. I guess had he told me that there was a very good possibility that I would have this same leak issue again I'm about 99% sure I would not have spent the money to have him rip off my roof. Doesn't make sense to me. However, I was faily confident in him, to my dismay, and his idea about my current roof. If you want it done right you really have to do it yourself. The only reason I did not do it myself is that my roof has a steep pitch and I don't have the equipment or desire to work in that scenario.

    Here's another thought I had. When they tore off the old roof and sheathing they found there to be no baffles in place. I had them install baffles when they re-sheathed it however when I saw them doing it I'm not sure they were doing it according to design and that the baffles were not overlapping, just butted together. I think they are getting pinched off where they join and possibly not allowing airflow from soffet to ridge. Therefore, the roof temp in not staying cold and that's where the heat is getting into it from the room below and then maybe that is where the problem lies??? Haven't tackled the interior yet but does anyone think that properly installed baffles would be the solution to my issue?? What about blocking down at the soffets??? How does one approach that without tearing off a section of the roof???
    This is like the second time in my life I have enlisted a contractor to do work for me. I am pretty capable of doing most of my own work. Both times I have been less than satisfied when work was completed. I understand the populations sour disposition with regard to tradesmen. Bulls#$% answers are at a premium and most customers don't know the difference until it is too late. Not a huge fan of Mike Holmes but he's right most of the time. Sorry. I'll get off my soapbox now. Thanks again for all of your help fellas.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Leaking brown liquid

    Well I got into the drywall yesterday and my worst fears have come true. I didn't want to be right on this one but unfortunately I am. The baffles look like they were installed by a 2 years old. Not one of them, on this side of the house, was installed properly. I'm sure it's the same for the other bedroom as well. Now I have the additional problem of the integrity of the roof sheathing and ceiling joists. I'm sure it is black mold but there's wet, black stuff on the underside of the sheathing and the joist's are very wet and a little soggy too. It's barley six months old!!!! When the roofing crew was here I specifically told both the owner and the lead roofer that I didn't think they were paying enough attention to what they were doing with the baffles and that maybe they should. That was the whole reason this was having to be done in the first place. To say I'm dumbfounded would be a severe understatment.

    Any thoughts on recourse against the roofing company???

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,694

    Default Re: Leaking brown liquid

    Talk to an aggressive lawyer. A case like yours is hard to win, but worth trying.

    Also, report to the your state board.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Leaking brown liquid

    As expected, the roofing company owner played the "not my fault" card. Tried to blame it on everything but poor workmanship. Even wanted to go after the building inspection report from 2005. Amazing feat of denial at work. Not sure I want to waste the next 2 years of my life in court but he at least deserves some aggravation for this I think. Not sure what the lesson is here because he and I weren't unfamiliar with each other so I tried to at least employ someone I knew to sidestep that landmine. Shame on me I suppose. Puts another black mark on the industry that can use as much help as it can get in the integrity department.

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