What is Water Ingress? And what can I do about it?
Water ingress is when water is able to enter the building.
Any water getting into the building and structure is bad news. It can cause a lot of damage and lead to problems such as damp, mould, wet & dry rot and more. This includes damage to ceilings, plasterwork, decoration, fungal decay and adverse impacts on the occupant’s health. It’s important to deal with any water ingress immediately and to prevent further water coming in and to repair the root cause.
Common Causes of Water Ingress from Roofs
The most common cause of water ingress from roofs is a fault or defect. Over time building materials can deteriorate or if not installed correctly can lead to failure. There are number of common causes of water ingress from roofs, such as;
- Blocked gutters, especially in the hidden valleys of the roof or defective rainwater goods.
- Defective surfacing to valley gutters and flat roofs.
- Missing, broken, displaced or loose tiles or slates.
- Faulty flashing around chimneys.
Chimneys can be a real problem. Initially built to perform a function, two as a matter of fact. One to allow the escape of smoke from a traditional fire but also to allow ventilation of the house. As time passed and the use of boilers became more prevalent the old chimneys became redundant. Whereas in winter, the chimney would have been dried out by the fire without that heat, over time these structure draw moisture into the wall. In addition, lead trays and flashings become porous, slip out in bad weather and allow moisture to pass through into the structure.
When this happens it can be quite confusing because the evidence of water penetration is often nowhere near the source. Often you may find a damp patch halfway along a wall in the front or rear room and not directly associate it with a leaking or defective chimney. Also, often the rafter closest to the chimney wall may well be touching the wall and water will track across and then run down the rafter. The water can start to drip off the rafter at any point producing a damp patch on the ceiling and wall.
So, if you are faced with this situation, you will need to go up into the loft space and inspect the chimney from the inside, it will be quite apparent as there will be clear evidence of where the water has been running. If not obvious, carry out your inspection during a downfall.
Other Causes of Water Ingress from Roofs
Another problem that I’ve experienced that is not so obvious is where the roof felt or membrane has rotted and does not extend into the gutter as it should. Believe it or not concrete roof tiles over time become porous so even if you haven’t got a loose or missing tile, rainwater can get under the tiles, this water drops onto the roofing felt and runs down to the gutter. Over time the water can rot the felt and the water can discharge into the wall. Evidence of this can be seen when water literally drips off a window head.
To remedy this it is necessary to strip back 3 or 4 layers of tiles, remove the battens and either install a new section of roof felt or 600mm wide piece of damp proof membrane, tucked under the existing felt and extended into the gutter. Then install new battens before refitting the tiles.
What Can I do if I have Water Ingress?
Investigate immediately to try and find the root cause of the issue. Remember the root cause of the problem may be nowhere near the visible water, stain or damage. Try to trace the path of the water. If this proves difficult, carry out your inspection during a downfall. Being able to identify these issues quickly will save time and money.
If you’re not carrying out the work yourself, make sure you build your relationship with your builder. Their experience of these types of issues will be invaluable. But it’s always recommended to understand and learn as much as you can. It will help you when viewing and assessing properties as well as agreeing works.
Still not sure? Get in touch.
If you have any questions about water ingress or other issues, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
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Thanks for reading.