June 2013 S M T W T F S « Apr 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
… is to tear it down and rebuild it.
Ok, that’s not literally true, but it is close. As you are already aware, we had a summertime nor’easter come through late last week and revealed a serious leak in the roof of our living room extension. Speaking with a sub-contractor we know and in tearing down a portion of the living room ceiling, we discovered that:
This is not a multiple-choice question; all of the above are true. Our issue now is to discover the source of the leak and fix it properly, if at all possible. Of course, this does assume that the source of the leak is the roof of the extension and not a poorly installed bathroom window in the wall above it. It seems oddly convenient that the leak runs roughly from directly under the window, but the source appears to be more from where the extension penetrates the brick outer wall at the northwest corner rather than higher up. Without tearing down almost the entire ceiling in the extension, we may never know.
Aside from this, I now have a 4’x10’ hole in my ceiling along with a smaller hole directly beneath my shower drain–which has demonstrated a propensity to leak itself due to insufficient support beneath the shower floor. As it’s a fiberglass shower that’s supposed to have a slightly raised sub-floor, taking a shower and stepping on the drain itself almost guarantees breaking the drain seal and any fungus or other stoppage in the drain allows the water to back up enough to seep around the plumbing and drip, again, onto the living room ceiling.
So now I have a quandry: Do I get someone to patch the outside and hope it doesn’t leak again, like the first owners did, then replace the ceiling with drywall, or do I try to get the job done right and suffer a big hole in the ceiling showing the I-beams until I know for sure the leak is stopped? So far it’s taken just about a year between visible leaks… already a long time considering we’d only just patched the one hole from trying to find the first leak a few months before cutting the second hole for the shower drain. On the other hand, I now have a reason (and an opportunity) to replace a cramped, poorly installed shower with a bigger one or even have it shut down entirely and move the shower into the bathtub, turning too-narrow linen closet and former shower stall into a larger closet for bathroom supplies. A minor upgrade, but likely to cost a couple thousand extra in overall costs. It would also give my wife and myself an opportunity to learn how to do some of our own repairs, leaving only the plumbing itself to a professional. If that’s true, we could save some of that extra. The end result would be a leak permanently eliminated and a quick bathroom remod before we paint it.