Monday, January 9, 2012

On Christmas Lights and Roof Leaks

We’re pragmatists in our house, for better or worse. More times than not its for the better, as this tends to lead to a lot less bickering than I have engaged in in my day, but I saw the other side of the coin the other day when I was ordered, and I use that word specifically, to take down our Christmas lights. I can only be thankful that this weekend saw an unseasonable warm streak for January, which didn’t much help for all the struggling and pulling I did on a silver ladder older than my grandmother. The next day, I could have very well appeared in an Advil television advertisement.

Our roof is an old pitched roof that has seen many a repair and more than one replacement, both which usually were spurred by a leak – our house used to be the property of a family friend and I have assisted in finding a good roofer for the home on more than one occasion. NYC handymen, roofers and the like have yet to deal with a big snowstorm quite yet but as soon as the first one hits, calls about leaks will likely being coming in double-time.

With a roof like ours, the leaks generally come from overlapping areas where flashing is needed, leaving an open area for the water to get into. Flashing is also needed whenever a skylight, chimney, air stack or hatch is put in, and these are also areas where leaks are common. There are similar problems with both flat roofs and tiled roofs: wherever flashing or two intersecting areas are joined is where water can get in and cause a leak over time. Gutters are also places to check, which will usually be noticeable if the leak is coming in near a corner.

The most important things to mark down in this situation is how long it has been since your roof was last serviced, where the leak is coming from, and the frequency of the leak; does it happen every time it rains or is it more sporadic? Roofing, perhaps more than any other home improvement venture, is one where professional help is required and a professional, licensed roofer will need to know these things before coming over. It is my sad duty to say, however, that most fixes are just stop-gaps before a new roof installation is needed. Much like the putting up of Christmas lights leads to the tiresome chore of taking them down, it’s a loathsome inevitability.