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Town House Flat roof leaking badly (pics)

Discussion in 'Roofing and Guttering' started by np1990, 14 Nov 2016.

  1. np1990

    np1990

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    Evening All,

    Wondering if I could get any advice/pointers/ how much it would cost to sort this problem out.

    Basically live in a town house (ex council), long story short...

    We are the end property where the rain would normally slope downwards to the gutter running through the middle of the third property.

    We had our roof patched 7/8years ago, no issues with leaking,

    about a year ago the neighbour did his roof, since then we have had leaking at the join between the two houses in the bedroom, and only last Friday we now have a leak coming through the roof out of the light fixing which has subsequently shorted out the electrics etc. and is sort of beginning to soften the plaster and bow..

    Directly above is the gutter where the water is getting in, called insurance usual theres no storm damage etc so claim denied, but what I did get is a handful of pictures which saved climbing up there, which shows the neighbor has raised his roof about 2" or so. which is preventing the water from running off and is basically just pooling up.

    Neighbors a full ****** so I dont really think il get far, even the insurance assessor said he should have consulted you first, and If i recall he is actually getting a leak coming through as well.

    Pics below, just wondering what the best course of action is really,

    planning to get the roofer that did the job and getting him to come round/ get his details etc and see what he says,

    Any help much appreciated
     

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  2. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    What is that, a peat bog?

    If its leaking on the joint, then the joint need refelting and lapping over both properties. There must surely be some drainage there else it would be a big pond of water. So best try and find the leak and seal it.

    Legally, you have a right of drainage across the roofs. If the neighbour has stopped this then you could take action via the courts. You would almost certainly win, but unless your insurance covers your claim (or even deals with it- check your policy) then you would have to stump up the money. But it would probably be cheaper and less hassle to raise your roof deck and refelt at a higher level to get better drainage.
     
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  3. catlad

    catlad

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    Very messy to say the least, from the photo's it looks like those roove's
    drain to that gully in the middle is that correct?
     
  4. np1990

    np1990

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    Well the drainage is the third property across so the one next to the guy thats had his roof done, it slopes downwards from mine and technically hes raised it so the water is just pooling up/ sitting in the gully where its working its way in.

    So yeah the water drains to the middle in the gully, where its just sitting, and Its trickling inside
     
  5. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    You would have had swimming pools worth of rain on that roof in the time since the neighbour had his roof done, so it can't have all been going through the roof. It must have been draining over it.

    So if you fix the felt, it must surely drain over the roof somehow..
     
  6. KenGMac

    KenGMac

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    np1990, good evening.

    OK before my rant, I work in the Insurance Industry, at several levels, I work as a "Freelance" " Surveyor" undertaking Investigations on Storm, flood, fire and down to the depths of Subsidence, have done for past 15 / 18 years [just seems longer]

    Now for your roof, bluntly [there is only one way to say this] it is well past its sell by date ! it looks original to the property? All Insurers will not cover "Storm Damage" as you found out, the proscribed standard set of Initial handler questions, asked when you make your initial call to your insurer.

    Along comes the insurers "Loss Adjuster" their function is to REPUDIATE ! ! ? if there is an iota of a possibility of REPUDIATION they will jump on it, It may have been a Contractor who came to see your roof, their prime object is exactly as above.

    I would suggest that you return to the Insurer, and in a very carefully worded e mail explaining in DETAIL so that even the most non building Savvy handler can at last understand your dilemma? You must impress on them that because your neighbour has built up his roof during his maintenance program, the neighbour has in effect created a DAM which is preventing rain water from your roof draining to the Down pipe and it is this that is now causing rain water to enter your property.

    Now, your are facing an uphill struggle, the Insurer has declined your claim based in all probability based on the [very poor] state of your roof [sorry about that BUT?] ask the Insurer to have a Building Surveyor review your claim, not a Contractor, or a generally building Non-Savvy "Adjuster"

    One other line of attack? get on to Environmental Health? why because the actions of the neighbour are causing your problems of rain water ingress?? Just another line of possible progression, if you get them on board the Insurers position is harder to maintain?

    As an aside it appears that your neighbour has added a layer of insulation below his roof felt?

    Hope this gives food for progression? please if you can spare the time let the board know how it goes?

    Ken
     
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  7. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    Irrespective of the above, the OP will have a hard time proving that the neighbour has caused damage to his roof which is an insured risk.

    The OP's roof should be waterproof regardless. Even if the roof is "dammed" it should not leak. The most probable cause of it leaking is that it is old and worn, and so not an insured loss.

    And neither is the neighbour causing the water ingress. The hole in the felt is causing the ingress.
     
  8. np1990

    np1990

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    thanks for that Ken I will give that a go, ive had a word with the neighbor amicably, apparently he paid 3k to have it done... and it is still leaking on both sides, I tried explaining that due to the roof being raised the water doesnt seem to be running away properly, and is sitting at the join and seeping in.

    apparently he is suing the builder or got his lawyer on it, but hes done a runner, he has had two surveyors out who has said nothing is wrong the job is fine and its my property and the neighboring that is the problem,

    However my case is that my one wasn't leaking until he had his one done, it was all sound...

    But its just long/ could get messy by the time were done dicking about the roof will have fallen in!

    Im planning on getting up there to have a look, access is good via the balcony so only 6 metres or so from there, if anything try and see how bad the roof is and DIY it, im essentially a mechanic/ engineer done plastering, leccy work, chippy etc!!

    How hard can a flat roof be! lol, any how to guides around?!

    Ive got access to green mineral and felt for free pretty much! got a scaffold tower so Il put that up as ts probably safer especially in the cold weather, even down to bitumen I can get hold of that,

    Tbh, I dont know if anyone reckons if I can do a patch up repair?

    the water is coming through the walls in one of the rooms as well unfortunately and destroying the plaster!

    looking to get rid of the house probably in the next couple of years so as long as it holds til then!
     
  9. KenGMac

    KenGMac

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    np1990, hi again.

    Several problems as regards your proposals, in no particular order.
    1/. If you just lay felt on to the chips on your roof the felt will fail badly!
    2/. as an aside, where is the outfall, that is do you know where the rain water from all of the roofs get into the drain for the roofs? I have seen historically where three house roofs drain into one centrally positioned down pipe, the down pipe being positioned in the center of three properties?
    3/. The roof drainage on the roof of your property is to drain towards the center of the roof, effectively the rain water drains towards the middle of the roof, into what is best described as a trench, this trench is a sloping trench that runs down through your roof and discharged into your neighbours roof, where the central down pipe is located, likewise the adjacent to your neighbour [on the other side of the Dam] will probably have a trough as above?
    4/. Historically I have seen typically a multitude of failures in the centrally placed "Trough"

    Enough of this?

    If you are considering some sort of a repair, you will have to build up your roof to a level above the adjacent neighbours new roof and that includes the central trough.

    Suggest you have a word with the neighbour on the other side of this botched repair to your immediate neighbours roof and see what problems they are experiencing?

    It will not surprise me if the roof drain outfall is positioned in your direct neighbours roof????

    Have you considered contacting the Local to You Environmental Health?

    As for your Insurance??? How about you consider asking them if you are covered for Legal Costs? after all this is where it will go?

    Ken
     
  10. alan333

    alan333

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    It's been a few years now, but I've worked on a lot of similar roofs in Cumbernauld (a "new town" built for Glasgow overspill around the 1950's). Many of them still have the original coverings, and yours looks like it could be the same. They were originally done with old fashioned British Standard felt (ie non stretchy and brittle) which, in theory, would last about 15 years, maybe 25 at a push. Obviously they've performed quite well, since the original ones are now around pension age.

    Generally they're in rows of maybe half a dozen houses. Like yours, they slope from front to centre, and from rear to centre, and there's a gutter along the centre to collect the water, and it drains down gutter outlets (holes) into internal downpipes - one per house. The gutter outlets are protected by a balloon guard (leaf guard), and one can be seen in your third pic, just to the right of the middle pipe, lying loose on/in the gutter. Obviously it could be from anywhere, but it would add weight to my theory (or previous experience?) that there should be one outlet per house, rather than one per 'block of houses'. Further 'theory weight' would be that all the water from all the roofs would create far too much water for one single outlet to handle.

    The leaf guard in your pic looks like this...
    https://www.drainagesuperstore.co.uk/product/galvanised-wire-balloonschimney-guards-25-60mm.html

    It's difficult to tell by the pic, but just behind the 'old firework carcass?' next to the leaf guard...that just might be your gutter outlet. It's also possible that your gutter outlet could have been felted over in the past to 'cure' a previous leak. They were notoriously problematic due to the small size of the hole, and covering one up would simply force the water to run across to the neighbour's outlet. This wouldn't present any real problems until, say, that neighbour decided to raise their roof level by adding insulation, thus preventing water from 'running through', causing your roof to pond, and subsequently leak at any weak points before it reached the level to run off somewhere.

    The pipes protruding from the roof (in Cumbernauld anyway) could be the toilet vent, the heating system vent, and (I believe) a "baby nappy incinerator" vent. I've never actually seen one of these incinerators, but have seen plenty of their vents. The incinerator was originally fitted inside a large cupboard somewhere (like the hall cupboard), with it's vent going straight up through the roof above it, and you could also see the other pipes beside/near it. If you have a cupboard underneath the location of these roof pipes, check how many pipes you have there and try to figure out where they go, and whether you have an 'extra' one. If you have one which comes from the roof and goes straight down through the floor then it's probably your (blocked off?) internal downpipe.

    Your neighbour's new roof obviously needs joined to your old roof, which requires a 'sound' surface to join on to. However the felt is just so old and brittle it cracks/splits when you try to scrape the chippings off, so it leaves a weak joint. Realistically, your roof is old and knackered, and should be renewed. It would be prudent to add insulation at the same time, since the ones I've worked on had none, merely a concrete type slab. However, if you're trying to cure your leak (temporarily) without huge expense there's a few things you could try.

    First, try to figure out if you have indeed got your own gutter outlet/internal downpipe. If you have then you need it opened back up (or repaired/renewed). This would involve new felt around that area, and would require a sound surface (as above) which might not be achieveable. Alternatively, it looks like although the neighbour has added height to their roof, the gutter is actually still at the original level, except for the extra height of the new felt (or the extra height of the join on top of your old felt). This would cause pooling but only at the gutter. Having that area (or the whole gutter) re-felted might work (but might not, since it still needs a sound joint).

    If your leaks are everywhere that the new roof meets the old, then it needs a better join somehow, which might be possible by extending the distance the new roof aps onto yours. Again, it's down to whether or not you get a good joint.
     
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  11. ^woody^

    ^woody^

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    What has the roofer said? Has the source of the leak even been identified yet?
     
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