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Leak in New Foam Roof

6 replies [Last post]
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Joined: Jan 28 2008

Hi Everyone - We have a new Foam roof (2 years old) that has a leak. Water is entering the roof and coming into the house where a hydronic heating water pipe enters the roof. We originally thought it was a pipe leak and called the hydronic heat specialist/plumber, who said it is not a pipe leak, but very clearly a roof leak. After going up on the roof to do inspection, he said the pipe is fine, but the roofing material around the pipe is the problem. He said it was not built up properly around the pipe (like all the other pipes on our roof and all the other roofs he's been on) and not sealed. As a result water has been able to get in, and the roofing material around where the pipe enters the roof is soggy and soft.

We called the roofing company, hoping they would honor their warranty. They sent someone out to fix the problem. His solution was to caulk around the pipe.

Now it's two weeks since he "fixed" the problem and we still have water leaking into the house and the roof surface around the pipe (where there is no caulk) is still soggy and soft.

Can anyone tell me if caulking around the pipe is the best way to fix this problem? The plumber told me roofers usually remove the ruined part of the roof, apply new materials, then build up the roof around the pipe. He's not a roofer, but considering we still have a leak, and the roof is still damaged, I'm trying to figure out what to do next. I thought they would at least build up the area around the pipe to make it like all the others on our roof, then spray on the elastomeric coating. Makes sense, but I'm not a roofer either!!

I appreciate any and all advice/info you have to share! :shock:

Joined: Apr 20 2006

Were the pipes temporarily removed for proper access when they foamed the roof ? You would remember since pipe work can cost plenty.

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Joined: Jan 28 2008

Hi Randy - THANK YOU for posting! Yes, the pipes were removed during the roofing process. The week after the new roof was put on, we had a leak in the same spot. We were told they didn't tighten the pipe enough when they re-layed the pipes after the roof was complete, but it was supposedly not a roof problem. This is the first time we've had another problem since. Any ideas/suggestions? We're grateful for anything...

Joined: Apr 20 2006

The reason for removing pipes is to get enough access around the pipe stub to foam up the sides of the pipe. This way water does not stand right next to the vertical part of the pipe that goes through the roof. If the horizontal pipes are left on the roof...it makes for a messy, uneven, water retaining mess. Half of your FOAM CONTRACTORS just leave the pipes in place and work around them. Owners believe these guys when told that they have 'super powers' that enable them to do things with foam that the established companies can't do. After all, it's also saving you $2,500... so it must be true.

The hydronic pipes on your roof are copper and are soldered. A leak in the system would have been evident long ago. Someone needs to clean the existing material away from the pipe and carefully build up some exterior caulk around the pipe. If this does not cure your leak; Here's another possibility - The water could be coming from somewhere nearby, and only leaking in at the pipe because there is a hole in the wood ceiling there.

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Joined: Jan 28 2008

Thanks, Randy. We feel much better now! Is the caulk up to the same standard as the foam roof or will it fail before the roof needs to be recoated (approx. 7 1/2 years from now)?

Joined: Apr 20 2006

Top quality exterior caulk should last a decade or more.

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Joined: Jan 28 2008

Thank you so much! :)

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