So after a torrential downpour of rain you have discovered water stains on your ceiling. A quick examination of your roof shows no obvious faults such as broken tiles or damaged roof pointing. So where did the water come from and why are there roof leaks?
Most people don’t realise that even a correctly constructed tiled roof can leak during heavy rain conditions. Water flowing down the roof tiles is simply pushed up under the tiles by the force of the wind causing internal water leaks. In a recent building inspection I carried out in the Brisbane suburb of Sunnybank there was evidence of substantial water leaks on the ceiling despite the roof tiles being in perfect condition.
Two factors led to the water staining of the ceiling. Whilst the pitch of the roof was compliant it was minimal. A steep roof pitch is less likely to suffer from wind driven water penetration than a low pitched roof. In this instance the main reason the ceiling showed signs of water penetration was due to the fact that the roof was not protected by sarking. Sarking is a laminated foil spread across the surface of the roof before the roof battens and tiles are installed. Whilst it does offer minimal thermal protection is predominantly installed to prevent water leaks dripping down onto your ceiling. With sarking installed, the water is instead diverted back out to the gutter. Sarking is one of those roof components that is often overlooked however is, in my opinion, vitally important. I would recommend installing sarking to every house during the construction process.
If your house has sarking however still shows signs of water leakage, it is usually because the sarking has been damaged during construction or whilst undertaking roof repairs. After a quick inspection within the roof space you will probably discover some torn sections of sarking that simply require taping back up into position to make it watertight.
Now, if you have climbed into your roof and discovered that you do not have sarking it is unfortunately cost prohibitive to have it installed as it would involve the removal of all the roof tiles. In this situation an alternative form of leak protection would be required. This can involve the installation of an insulation that provides thermal protection whilst providing at least some water leak protection eg. Earthwool space blanket.
Should you require any further information on this issue or any other Brisbane building inspection enquiry, contact Action Property Inspections.