Was primer applied to my flat modified bitumen roof?


#1

I have a leak below my scupper box [which was just repaired 6 months ago]. A roofer said that the roofers who originally built the roof didn’t use primer, and that’s the cause of my problems, so he would need to go in and prime everything. Does this sound like a good approach?

Here are pics of my roof [mine is at the lower elevation]
picasaweb.google.com/hellochloe5 … 00PM?pli=1

I appreciate your advice.

thank you! :slight_smile:


#2

That is not the best flashing job I’ve ever seen on a scupper, but I wouldn’t exactly go jumping on the idea that missing primer is the cause. First of all, the metal appears to be pre-finished so it really should be scuffed and scarred more so than primed to achieve a good bond between the metal and modified bitumen. It certainly won’t hurt to prime the metal, but before it is primed scratch the surface to be bonded to with coarse sand paper or steel wool. Without scuffing up the surface it would be like trying to bond to glass.

Now lets address the things you did not mention. For example, I notice you had to shovel ice and snow away to take the photos, so I wonder if you were having any ice-damming problems. It is obvious you have ponded water on the roof, and a little snow and ice will only help hinder drainage.

Did the roofer ever say he found the leak? Or is he just guessing the scupper flashing is the problem? And if he adds more flashing membrane in front of the scupper without cutting out all the membrane around the scupper first, he will likely have a build-up of membrane that will impede drainage.

Next question, I see wooden handrails in the photos, so does this mean there are decks on the roof?

Anyway, I can’t say for sure from your photos what the problem is, but here is some more free advice for you. On the next SUNNY day you have free, shovel off the snow and ice, and then sweep all the water off the roof. Now sit back and let the sun evaporate the water from the roof surface (this may take awhile, so go have a beer or something). Just as the roof has begun to dry off there should be several places where there is still moisture. Check these areas and see if you can get water to squirt from them when you step next to them, or look for damage. If you don’t find anything, then check the laps in the roofing membrane to ensure they are all tight and none of them have become disbonded. After you do all that, let me/us know what you find.

Also, it wouldn’t hurt to know where the leak is inside, i.e., is it just the ceiling or is it the wall and ceiling, or maybe it is leaking from a bulkhead. Do you know what kind of roof deck you have? Plywood, tongue & groove, wood plank, concrete, etc.

Just so you know, inside photos wouldn’t hurt either, especially if they show location in relation to a window or something. Of course, you would also have to have an elevation photo to show where the window is in relation to the scupper. And finally, don’t discount the it could be your neighbors roof that leaks, but it drips into your unit (along a common wall).


#3

Thank you, Cerberus, for your comprehensive and thoughtful reply. :slight_smile:

There was no ice today, but there could’ve been previously, as I only noticed the moisture last night and had not gone on the roof previously.

What is the significance of this?

I spoke to him over the phone, and when I described the problem and the age of my townhouse [4 years old], he suggested that it may be missing primer. He said that he could send a man out to take pics for him to diagnose it, but he wanted an awful lot of money just for his employee to take pics, so I asked if I could just email him the pics. I did, and he said, “Yep, no primer,” and went on to give me what I considered to be a too-high estimate for the repair *. I wasn’t sure what to think, which is why I posted here.

Yes, what is the significance of whether or not there is a deck?

What are the laps? Where the pieces of modified bitumen meet?

I don’t know what a bulkhead is. :frowning: It’s leaking at the juncture between the ceiling and the wall. I have uploaded pics at picasa [the same link from above] that show the wet areas of OSB. The scupper box is above the right corner.

I think it’s OSB, but I’m not certain.

I apologize for my ignorance, and I greatly appreciate your time spent helping me.

Thank you :)*


#4

My attempt to post the photos didn’t entirely work…you can view the full size pics at the picasa link:
picasaweb.google.com/hellochloe5 … 00PM?pli=1


#5

hellochloe - price talking here is allowed. Its nice to keep a mental note of what others charge, even if its a differant region.


#6

dont think i need to look at photos.
i know i never tell people that no primer
causes the problem.
so i dont like the sound of that.

a head lap unsealed,
some flashing loose,
an area not heated enough,
an area heated to much,
yes.

it wasnt primed,
no.

but if roofer needs primer to fix it ,
by all means let roofer prime the damn
thing.

for christ sake,
probably track the damn stuff everywhere.

gweedo.


#7

[quote]It is obvious you have ponded water on the roof

What is the significance of this?[/quote]

If your leak source is off the roof, say in the base flashing somewhere, it will leak worse when submerged under water that is not draining from the roof.

[quote]
Did the roofer ever say he found the leak? Or is he just guessing the scupper flashing is the problem?

I spoke to him over the phone, and when I described the problem and the age of my townhouse [4 years old], he suggested that it may be missing primer. He said that he could send a man out to take pics for him to diagnose it, but he wanted an awful lot of money just for his employee to take pics, so I asked if I could just email him the pics. I did, and he said, “Yep, no primer,” and went on to give me what I considered to be a too-high estimate for the repair . I wasn’t sure what to think, which is why I posted here.

You may talk price if you want, but it will vary from region to region. If you feel he is asking too much, he may very well be, but it does cost money to run a company and have employees, vehicles, equipment, insurance, etc. And no, primer will not solve the problem. If the scupper leaks, it will have to be re-flashed, but I’d want to know for sure the contractor has identified the leak in person rather than over the phone.

[quote]
Next question, I see wooden handrails in the photos, so does this mean there are decks on the roof?

Yes, what is the significance of whether or not there is a deck?[/quote]

Now that I’ve seen the photos of the interior damage caused by the leak, the decks are nearly meaningless. You say you have OSB roof deck, so it is unlikely there is a leak around the deck that migrates before manifesting itself along the roof perimeter. If you had a concrete roof deck, the decks would have been more important.

[quote]
Check these areas and see if you can get water to squirt from them when you step next to them, or look for damage. If you don’t find anything, then check the laps in the roofing membrane to ensure they are all tight and none of them have become disbonded.

What are the laps? Where the pieces of modified bitumen meet?[/quote]

Yes, a lap is where the membrane overlaps the underlying piece of membrane. The membrane has side laps and end laps, but that only describes whether the lap was created along the edge of the membrane as it is unrolled or the end of the roll.

Understand, the reason you are looking for moisture once the roof is dry, is because the sun and heat will draw water back out of the roof where it is leaking. Consequently, the leak source will be slower to dry than the rest of the roof. This is especially true if there is insulation board beneath the roof membrane.

[quote]
Also, it wouldn’t hurt to know where the leak is inside, i.e., is it just the ceiling or is it the wall and ceiling, or maybe it is leaking from a bulkhead.

I don’t know what a bulkhead is. Sad It’s leaking at the juncture between the ceiling and the wall. I have uploaded pics at picasa [the same link from above] that show the wet areas of OSB. The scupper box is above the right corner.[/quote]

Don’t worry about it, your posts with the interior photos was help enough.

[quote]
Do you know what kind of roof deck you have? Plywood, tongue & groove, wood plank, concrete, etc.

I think it’s OSB, but I’m not certain.[/quote]

Depending on whether you have a 1-ply or 2-ply mod. bit. roof, your leak with OSB roof deck isn’t likely to have migrated too far. From your photos and guessing where things are, it appeared the lead is beneath the left side of the scupper looking at it from the roof. I also noticed a patch over a lap in the base flashing membrane not too far from the scupper. Check these areas for loose laps, damage, holes, etc. If there is water on the roof, when you step on the areas look from air bubbles. You will naturally have air bubbles trapped beneath you foot, so you will have to make sure the bubbles are from air being released through a hole or open lap. If the roof is relatively dry, then stepping in questionable areas should make water squirt, ooze, seep, etc, out from the damaged area. If the leak source is along the base flashing along parapet or in scupper, you will have to visually inspect these areas for loose and/or disbonded membrane.

Also, don’t rule out unsealed laps in coping, or a problem with the exterior masonry wall. And of course, make sure the scupper was fabricated correctly, and confirm the seam in the scupper is not the leak source.[/quote]


#8

Thank you again, Cerberus, for your detailed and helpful reply! :smiley:

[quote=“Cerberus”]

[quote]It is obvious you have ponded water on the roof

What is the significance of this?[/quote]

If your leak source is off the roof, say in the base flashing somewhere, it will leak worse when submerged under water that is not draining from the roof.[/quote]

I’m afraid that I don’t understand your answer. Can you please explain this in more detail? Is ponded water bad?

I certainly expect to have to pay the roofer who fixes my leak :slight_smile:

So, that’s why I came here…I didn’t feel comfortable with his suggestion.

I’m not certain when I will have this opportunity since there’s quite a bit of new snow on my roof now, and it’s going to be below freezing for several days. ahh…Chicago :slight_smile:

I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “beneath the scupper.” Would the roofer have to access it via a ladder from the ground? A representative of the roofing company that originally “repaired” my scupper box 6 months ago came by when my husband was home I also noticed a patch over a lap in the base flashing membrane not too far from the scupper.
What is the base flashing membrane? Alternatively, since I’m asking you a lot of stupid questions, is there a roofing basics tutorial that you suggest that I read? I’ve got some learning to do! :slight_smile:


#9

Once again, Cerberus shows us why he’s the man when it comes to flat apps.

I would get @ least 2 or 3 other estimates. You’re doing the right thing by asking here & educating yourself; it can’t hurt to continue to see what approaches are out there by other roofing co’s. Honestly, if it takes 5 more estimates to make you comfortable with the info you’re getting & the people you’re talking to, then by all means go this far.

Be sure to ask what kind of warranty or guarantee they are providing. Be sure to look for any exclusions & make sure they don’t list something like “scupper work” but they’d stop the guarantee if it turns out the leak was actually 8 feet away from the scupper.

Ask for references from similar low slope & scuppered jobs that they have done over 5 years ago (it can sometimes take even longer for one to fail, but this is a good start).

I also saw where you stated the town house is 4 years old; that’s pretty new for something like this to happen. I would think this falls under the original warranty, no? Even if it’s just the roof work that is 4 years old on an older building, that should still be under some kind of guarantee. 4 Years is pretty short for a leak like this to happen.

Finally, can you take some photos that are from the outside; as zoomed in as you might be able to get from the ground & maybe a backed off one from the ground. On the roof deck, you have one showing the shovel on the L with scupper R, can you reverse that shot & put the scupper on the L & show us what’s on the R parapet?

PS: I’m a bit more fond of PhotoBucket because they provide links that are able to be directly embedded into a BBS post. But damn… that’s one ugly scupper job.


#10

chloe
p m ne and ill hook you up with a contractor in your area


#11

[quote=“RanchHandRoofing”]
Be sure to ask what kind of warranty or guarantee they are providing.[/quote]

So I just bought this townhouse 7 months ago, and the HOA retained a roofing contractor to do repairs on all the roofs in August. When the roofer was working on my roof, I asked what he would be repairing, and he specifically mentioned that he patched the scupper box. A different representative from the same contractor came out to give us a estimate when I was not home, so my husband spoke to him. My husband recalls that the estimator stated that the repair job on the scupper box was poorly done. When I got the estimate, it said “no warranty,” so I specifically asked why I would want his company to do the job since they “repaired” the scupper box 6 months ago and were offering no warranty on their work. He said that his company did repair the scupper box, but just didn’t “do enough,” and the original scupper job was poor. Can you tell from looking at my photos whether the original scupper job was poor or the repair job? Clearly, I’m going to get more estimates, but my roof is covered in snow right now, so I’ll have to wait. Should I expect a warranty from a roofing contractor?

Well, I’m not the original owner, so I don’t know. :frowning:

I’m actually on the Board of the HOA right now, and the roof and downspouts are one of our discussion topics. I’m not the only one with roof problems, and the HOA has spent thousands on roof maintenance. Is it normal for 4 year old flat modified bitumen roofs to require yearly maintenance? I’m just wondering whether we should go after the builder to fix these problems. If yearly maintenance is normal, then the expense is worthwhile, but if not, maybe our money is better spent on a lawyer who can get the builder to fix these problems.

Here’s a link:
picasaweb.google.com/hellochloe5 … 8452990418
Maybe the pic will come out here:

Can you please clarify whether you mean the patches or the original scupper job?

Thanks for all your help :slight_smile:


#12

im glad i seen that last little outside pic.
makes me think about your collector heads.
i have fixed many leaks do to the collcetor heads
being mounted to high, and filling up, then backing in
the scupper hole.
collector heads must be mounted so that they can, backup, overflow and still be lower than the scupper
hole, as not to leak back in through it.
if the top of the collector head is higher than the bottom of the scupper , the collcetor head must be lowered.

gweedo.