I live in a house that was built in 1957. Last summer I had a new roof put on, trying to be proactive before I retire. I received a tax credit for the next 5 years for this project. In the spring I noticed that the walls on one side of my living room had cracking paint that was peeling off. The walls are plaster and were painted 3 years ago. I called the roofer, as I suspected a leak, he came and took a look and also looked in the attic (using a flashlight) and said there was no leak. He attributed the cracking paint to the walls being plaster and not being primed. I am wondering why it is only in one area and not the whole room. This area is directly below where the roof valley is. Later that summer, I had water from the same area and am at a loss as to what to do.
I am sure I will get the same response from the roofer if and when he shows up. Because I was given a tax credit, the city did come out and do an inspection, however it was November and they did not go on the roof.
Replacing worn asphalt roof shingles on an older home is a regular maintenance item that is normally done every 20 – 25 years, under normal conditions. Experiencing leaks before replacement may be cause for upgrades, but this should be corrected after the shingles are replaced. Having a new leak appear after roofing replacement normally is from a defect in installation. Poor or sloppy workmanship by renovation contractors is often found out some time after the work is completed, but may be difficult to pinpoint or prove. Signs of moisture intrusion into a home after roofing upgrades should not occur.
Calling the original roofer for inspection, and allowing him the opportunity to fix the problem was the correct approach. Blaming new wall cracking and signs of leakage on another contractor’s workmanship, is probably a way his not accepting responsibility for the defect and avoiding proper repairs. To say that the painter did not properly prime the living room walls before painting is irresponsible. There is no way that the roofer could have any idea of the painter’s methods and he would not be able to provide an answer for the soundness of the paint on the rest of the walls in the living room. The new leak is likely the result of a defect in the installation of the new roofing and the contractor should complete the necessary repairs without delay.
There may be several reasons for the peeling paint after roof replacement, and we will take a look at a few of these. The most simple explanation would be that the peeling paint and cracks are mechanical damage from the roofers walking on, hammering and loading shingles on the older roof during repairs. This often occurs on older homes and is normally a matter of minor patching and touch-up painting repairs. Since actual moisture intrusion or stains were seen later in the summer, this is unlikely.
Noting that the damage to the wall and paint is occurring below a valley in the roof, there may be a couple of other possibilities. The first possibility is that the roofers did not properly overlap or seal the shingles at the valley. Most asphalt shingles used in our area are self-sealing and required heat from the sun to properly seal the different courses of shingles together. This is necessary to prevent wind-driven rain from backing up under the shingles. This often takes only a few days in the middle of the summer, due to the heat of the sun at this time of year. The valley may require additional asphalt cement to seal the shingles to one another, depending on the design of the roof. If there are small gaps in this area, wind-driven rain may sneak its way under the shingles and cause a small leak, such as that experienced in the home in question.
Another strong possibility is damaged or loose eavestroughs in this area. The eavestroughs can become damaged or loose because of the roofer’s ladders or removal and replacement of the old shingles. If this has happened, rainwater could run behind the eavestroughs and back up into the house. This is a common occurrence and is usually remedied by a minor repair or re-securing of the troughs to the fascia.
Whatever the reason for the leak, it should be investigated and repaired before it does further damage to the walls in the home and requires a major repair, beyond minor patching and painting. I would recommend that you contact a different roofing contractor or roofing consultant to inspect the new roof installation for defects. Once the defect is specifically identified and a report issued, the original roofer should be contacted to complete the repairs, at his cost. Contacting a Professional Association such as the Roofing Contractors Association of Manitoba for names of recommended inspectors would be advised.