Serious water damage - looking for source

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Hi all,

We're battling serious water damage on the second-floor front wall of our Victorian semi (pic 1).

There are no visible issues on the exterior. The previous owners advised that it was caused by an unresolved roof leak. They finally got the front re-roofed but didn't repair the damage. Our roof survey gave it the all clear prior to purchase, as did the structural surveyor who inspected the damage. All of this took place last summer when the affected area was dry.

However, now we’re in the house and it’s winter, the affected area is damp, including a drip running through the top of the reveal to the sill. We released the drip when we pulled off the plaster.

As the drip only occurs when the temperature fluctuates, rather than during rainfall, I finally got into the very inaccessible loft to look for condensation. I found heavy condensation above the damaged area (pic 2) on a white material. It could be dripping down from there into the wall, though I can’t get close enough to be sure of this (the loft is a crawl space). The roof has no ventilation.

The situation is complicated by the presence of two defunct and ancient solar panels, which once absorbed air to provide the previous owners with hot water and positive ventilation. The two panels are directly above the damaged wall. The water tank is at the other end of the loft, connected to the panels by ducting. The area around the tank is bone dry, as is the rest of the loft.

Has anyone seen anything like this? One roofer insisted it’s the solar panels and they need to be removed, but he couldn’t explain why. Any thoughts or ideas would be much appreciated.

Cheers,
Chris
 

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The water damage in pic 1. would have been visible last year, and the year before.
An exterior pic of the roof and solar panels would help?
Does the roof have a parapet at the eaves?

If the solar panels are truly redundant then have them removed, with all their equipment, tanks and pipework - then have the roof cover made good.
Afterwards, as above, insulate and ventilate the loft.
 
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One fast way to ventilate would be to open up the felt laps use [say] polystyrene blocks of suitable size, insert the Poly in as many felt laps as you can get close to.

Ken.
 
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