Are you experiencing unwanted water leakage from your concrete roofing? While this is alarming, know that you are not alone in dealing with problems like this. Commercial roofs made from concrete are prone to damages leading to moisture retention and eventually leakage. It does not mean concrete roofs are not any good. Like any roofing system, they have their advantages and disadvantages. At this point, our objective is to educate building owners on how to stop water leakage from concrete roofs. Proper and regular roofing maintenance will help extend the life of your property to get the best value out of your investment.
Concrete roofs have been an integral part of modern architecture for decades. Although they are typically seen as rooftops for commercial buildings, with changes to styles and architecture for residential buildings, homes are now also being constructed using this roofing method, with concrete shingles also starting to become popular in residential home structures. Even though concrete has been chosen as a superior material for both housing and commercial structures, it doesn’t mean that it is not susceptible to damage from the elements.
Waterproofing is one way you can help avoid damage from occurring earlier than anticipated and will inevitably help your concrete roof to last a lot longer. Adding waterproofing to your roof is a great way to protect your building and is well worth the investment.
At Hitch Property Constructions, we offer the best range waterproofing services to rectify your water issues.
Commercial Concrete Roofing Composition
Before we get down to the bottom of the problem, there is a need to understand what concrete roofs are made of. Being aware of their composition gives you a better perspective in dealing with it.
Concrete roofs are composed of sand, cement, and water. These materials are combined to form a compound. It can be used to build not only roofs but also floors, ceilings, decks, and many more. It is also important to note that concrete is a heavy material. Hence, it requires the right amount of structural support.
What to do before waterproofing a roof?
A large proportion of the flat roofs covered two or three decades ago with single-ply roofing membranes such as torched-down modified bituminous membranes (mod bit) or with EPDM are today good candidates for being recovered. Entirely replacing the old roof system with a new one is often prohibitively expensive. Still, in the past several years, liquid applied roof systems emerged on the market as reliable, worthy alternatives.
The first condition that must be met in choosing the right material is the compatibility between the existing roof surface and the liquid product intended to be used. Not paying attention to the type of material previously used to coat single-ply roofs can be a costly mistake. For example, it is a bad idea to apply urethane over a surface previously coated with acrylic elastomeric. The solvent contained by most urethane coating presents a high risk of re-emulsification for the acrylic. Another example is a roof previously covered with silicone. This type of surface does not accept any other kind of coating, as silicone surface will obstruct the adhesion.
Roof Repair Tips: Find and Fix a Leaking Roof
Leaky Roof Overview
If you have water stains that extend across ceilings or run down walls, the cause is probably a leaky roof. Tracking down the leak is the hard part; the roof leak repair is usually pretty easy. We’ll show you some simple tricks for finding and repairing most of the common types of leaky roofs. But if you live in the Snow Belt and the winter you have leaks only on warm or sunny days, and you probably have ice dams. We won’t go into that roof leak repair in this story. Check out this article for more on preventing ice dams. If you have a leaky roof, you’d better fix it immediately, even if it doesn’t bother you much or you’re getting a new roof next year. Even over a short time, small leaks can lead to big problems, such as mould, rotted framing and sheathing, destroyed insulation and damaged ceilings. The flashing leak that caused an expensive repair bill was obvious from the ceiling stains for over two years. If the homeowner had dealt with it right away, the damage and subsequent repairs would have been minimal.
How to Find Roof Leaks
When you’re trying to track down a leak, start by looking at the roof uphill from the stains. (Plus: here’s how to clean roof stains.) The first thing to look for is any roof penetrations. Items that penetrate the roof are by far the most common source of leaks. it’sIt’s rare for leaks to develop in open areas of uninterrupted shingles, even on older roofs. Penetrations can include plumbing and roof vents, chimneys, dormers or anything else that projects through the roof. They can be several feet above the leak or to the right or left of it.
If you have attic access, the easiest way to track down a leak is to go up there with a flashlight and look for the evidence. There will be water stains, black marks or mould. But if access is a problem or you have a vaulted ceiling, you’ll have to go up onto the roof and examine the suspect(s).
A Trick for Finding Difficult Leaks
If a leak is difficult to find, enlist a helper and go up on the roof with a garden hose. Start low, soaking the area just above where the leak appears in the house. Isolate areas when you run the hose. For example, soak the downhill side of a chimney first, then each side, then the top on both sides. Have your helper stay inside the house waiting for the drip to appear. Let the hose run for several minutes in one area before moving it up the roof a little farther. Tell your helper to yell when a drip becomes visible. You’ll be in the neighbourhood of the leak. This process can take well over an hour, so be patient and don’t move the hose too soon. Buy your helper dinner. If running water doesn’t reveal the exact location of the leak, don’t be timid. Start removing shingles in the suspect area. With them removed, there’ll be evidence of the leak, and you’ll be able to track it down right to the source. You’ll see the discoloured felt paper or water-stained or even rotted wood directly below and around a leaky roof.
Solution for a Small Leak
Some roof leaks are tough to locate. Sometimes the water shows up at a ceiling spot distant from the leak. If your ceiling has a plastic vapour barrier between the drywall and the attic insulation, push the insulation aside and look for flow stains on the plastic. Often water runs to openings in the vapour barrier, such as at ceiling light fixtures.
If you can’t see any telltale flow marks, and since the stain is fairly small, look at the underside of the roof for ‘shiners.’ A shiner is a nail that missed the framing member, in this case when the carpenter nailed the roof sheathing to the rafters. Moisture that escapes into the cold attic from the rooms below often condenses on cold nails. Sometimes you can spot this if you climb up into your attic on a cold night. The nails will look white because they’re frosted. When the attic heats up a bit during the day, the frost melts and drips, then the nails frost up at night again and so on. The solution is to clip the nail with side-cutting pliers.
Fix Plumbing Vent Boots
Plumbing vent boots can be all plastic, plastic and metal, or even two-piece metal units. Check plastic bases for cracks and metal bases for broken seams. Then examine the rubber boot surrounding the pipe. That can be rotted away or torn, allowing water to work its way into the house along the pipe. With any of these problems, you should buy a new vent boot to replace the old one. But if the nails at the base are missing or pulled free and the boot is in good shape, replace them with the rubber-washer screws used for metal roofing systems. You’ll find them at any home centre with the rest of the screws. You’ll have to work neighbouring shingles free on both sides. If you don’t have extra shingles, be careful when you remove shingles so they can be reused. Use a flat bar to separate the sealant between the layers. Then you’ll be able to drive the flat bar under the nail heads to pop out the nails.
How to Fix Roof Vents
Check for cracked housings on plastic roof vents and broken seams on metal ones. You might be tempted to throw caulk at the problem, but that solution won’t last long. There’s no fix other than replacing the damaged vents. Also, look for pulled or missing nails at the base’s bottom edge. Replace them with rubber-washer screws. In most cases, you can remove nails under the shingles on both sides of the vent to pull it free. There will be nails across the top of the vent too. Usually, you can also work those loose without removing shingles. Screw the bottom in place with rubber-washer screws. Squeeze out a bead of caulk beneath the shingles on both sides of the vent to hold the shingles down and to add a water barrier. That’s much easier than renailing the shingles.
Fix Walls and Dormers
Water doesn’t always come in at the shingled surface. Often, wind-driven rain comes in from above the roof, especially around windows, between corner boards and siding, and through cracks and knotholes in siding. Dormer walls provide lots of spots where water can dribble down and enter the roof. Caulk can be old, cracked or even missing between the corner boards and between window edges and siding. Water penetrates these cracks and works its way behind the flashing and into the house. Even caulk that looks intact may not be sealing against the adjoining surfaces. Dig around with a putty knife to see if the area is sealed. Dig out any suspect caulk and replace it with a high-quality caulk. Also, check the siding above the step flashing. Replace any cracked, rotted or missing siding, making sure the new piece overlaps the step flashing by at least 2 in. If you still have a leak, pull the corner boards free and check the overlapping flashing at the corner. Often, there’s an old, hardened caulk where the two pieces overlap at the inside corner.
Looking for the best waterproofing company? Look no further! Hitch Property Constructions has you covered.
Complex Roof Problem
This roof leaks during the snowy part of winter and storms in the summer, certainly due to poor flashing. The soffit that meets the roof is one of the toughest areas to waterproof. In the photo, you can still see signs of an ice dam. An ice dam occurs when snow melts and the water freezes when it hits the colder edges of your roof. Eventually, water pools behind the dam and works its way back up under the shingles and the soffit until it finds an opening through the roof. The solution begins with good flashing since this should stop leaks from rainfall and might stop the leaks from ice dams as well. Begin by removing the shingles down to the wood sheathing and slip a strip of adhesive ice-and-water barrier (available where roofing repair products are sold) under the soffit/main roof joint. Depending on how the roofs join, you may have to cut a slot to work it in far enough. It should overlap another piece of ice-and-water barrier laid below, all the way down to the roof edge. This should cover the most leak-prone areas. Then reshingle, sliding metal step flashing behind the fascia board (the trim behind the gutter). The valley flashing, laid over the joint where the two roofs meet, should overlap the step flashing at least 2 in. If leaks continue to occur from ice dams, consider installing roof edge heating cables. (Find them locally at hardware stores or home centres.) Improved attic insulation and ventilation are usually the best ways to prevent ice dams, but they might not be effective in this complicated leaky roof situation.
Fix Step Flashing
Step flashing is used along walls that intersect the roof—each short section of flashing channels water over the shingle downhill from it. But if the flashing rusts through, or a piece comes loose, water will run right behind it, and into the house, it goes. Rusted flashing needs to be replaced. That means removing shingles, prying siding loose, and then removing and replacing the step flashing. It’s that simple. But occasionally a roofer forgets to nail one in place, and it eventually slips down to expose the wall. Check out this article for more on installing your step flashing.
Don’t Count on Caulk!
Rarely will caulk or roof cement cures a leaky roof —at least for very long. You should always attempt a “mechanical” leaky roof fix whenever possible. That means replacing or repairing existing flashing instead of using any sealant as a leak stopper. Only use caulk for very small holes and when flashing isn’t an option as a leak stopper.
Fix Small Holes
Tiny holes in shingles are sneaky because they can cause rot, a leaky roof and other damage for years before you notice the obvious signs of a leak. You might find holes left over from a satellite dish or antenna mounting brackets or just about anything. And exposed, misplaced roofing repair nails should be pulled and the holes patched. Small holes are simple to fix, but the fix isn’t to inject caulk in the hole. You’ll fix this leaky roof problem with flashing.
Leaks Around Brick Chimneys
All kinds of bad things can happen around brick chimneys. There are far too many to cover in this story. Flashing around chimneys can rust through if it’s galvanized steel, especially at the 90-degree bend at the bottom. A quick but fairly long-term fix is to slip new flashing under the old rusted stuff. That way, any water that seeps through will be diverted. The best fix, though, is to cut a saw kerf into the mortar and install new flashing.
Tips on How to Manage Leaking Concrete Roof
Find the Leakage Source
The first step on how to stop water leakage from a concrete roof is to find the source. Check the entire roof surface, look out for ponding water, and inspect the plumbing lines. You may also visit the sides of your building, drainage pipes, etc. These are the most common sources of leakage.
Important safety reminder: Roof inspection is a process performed by professional roofing contractors. Personally accessing your commercial roof is a risky task. If you want to perform an inspection, you can start with a visual inspection first. However, if there is a need to reach for high areas, do not immediately climb up the roof. To avoid possible accidents and more damage to property, always consult concrete roofing experts. They have the right training and appropriate tools to discover and solve problems.
Due to everyday wear and tear situation, concrete becomes prone to cracks and holes. Water can penetrate these spaces, which could result in further leakage. In some less complicated cases, you can perform minor roof repairs.
For this, you will need mortar or roof cement, roof primer, and an elastomeric sealant. Before you proceed, make sure to clean the entire roof surface. You can use a pressure washer to remove all kinds of debris and dirt lying around, such as dust, mud, twigs, leaves, etc. The next step is to fill the cracks or holes with mortar or roof cement. Follow through by applying a roof primer. Then, wait for it to dry out completely. Afterwards, spread an elastomeric sealant over the cracks, holes, corners, and other damaged areas. You can apply the second coating the following day to reinforce the sealant.
If you intend to follow these instructions, you have to do some more research beforehand. These materials have chemical ingredients; thus, proper handling is a must. For your safety and peace of mind, consult your local roofing contractor to get accurate recommendations. While these simple procedures can help stop water leakage, it is not a long-term solution.
Regular Professional Maintenance
Time and again, we would like to emphasize the need to conduct maintenance regularly. You should schedule this at least twice a year. Apart from the usual inspections and cleaning, there are far more extensive maintenance procedures. Buildings are usually high and large, which make them difficult to access, especially if you are not trained to do so. Because of these reasons, you should have a commercial roofing partner to monitor and study your concrete roofing structure. You have to report all roofing-related concerns that you may have so that they can address it properly.
There is nothing wrong in involving yourself in roof repair projects. However, it should always be under the supervision of a roofing specialist. Always prioritize your safety. Besides, professional roofers are always ready to assist you provided that they have the licenses to operate, tools, equipment, and appropriate skills.
We have a huge range of waterproofing services Melbourne at Hitch Property Constructions that offers stress-free services for any water problem you got!
What Happens if You Ignore a Roof Leak?
Knowing how to temporarily repair roof leaks and manage water damage until help arrives is important. But even more crucial is getting the damaged roof fixed by a professional as soon as possible. Here is what can happen if you choose to ignore a roof leak—even a relatively minor one—instead.
More expensive repairs.
Ignoring a leak won’t make it go away. On the contrary: ignoring a roof leak will inevitably mean more expensive repair bills later on, once the damage has become more severe.
Adding onto those repair bills, ignoring a roof leak can lead to a costly and unpleasant mould remediation process. Mould is not only a hazard to your home, but if ignored, mould exposure can also lead to allergic reactions and illness in both people and pets.
Decreased roof lifespan.
Roof replacements are a taxing process and not one that anyone wants to experience too often. While all roofs will have to be replaced at some point, a consistently leaking roof will have to be replaced sooner.
The best way to manage leaks is with the help of professional roofers. While you can mitigate the damage from a roof leak in the short term, the only way to truly repair a leak is with professional materials and application.