If it was not for roof penetrations of all sorts, roofs would not leak very often. But roofs are full of plumbing pipe penetrations, exhaust vent terminations, Furnace and water heater vent penetrations, electrical mast penetrations and chimney penetrations. Then there are skylights and dormers and other roof structures.
At a recent inspection there was a low voltage utility mast running through the roof.
These can be very difficult to seal around, and usually end up being maintained with tar. From the outside, this one actually looked pretty good. Sooner or later however, they will leak. You might ask, well how much water could possibly actually leak? The answer would be that over time quite a bit, and it doesn’t take very much of a leak to ruin a ceiling below.
On the attic side of the roof, this is what the pipe coming through the roof looked like.
The dark staining around the pipe was wet to the touch and my moisture meter agreed. So what is the solution?
Obviously the best solution is to install a plastic storage container under the pipe to collect the leak. There was water in the container as well as higher water lines.
Apparently when you have a very tiny leak, evaporation can be a homeowner/s friend!
Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle
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WA State, Home Inspector Advisory Licensing Board