How can I repair leaks in an underground home's roof?


My house is about 10 years old, and my husband and I bought it three years ago. Our water bill has been normal, at least I thought it was normal, until this summer when it skyrocketed. I thought it was maybe due to the fact that my husband accidentally left the sprinkler in the backyard on for over 12 hours.

In past summers, our bill would go up to about $150 or so a month, mostly due to watering the lawn. In July this year the bill was $120...and in September it went up to $700! In October the bill was $277. I'm nervous that we've got an underground leak someplace, but I have no idea how to go about finding out. Do I contact the water company to come find it? Do I have to call a contractor? I don't see any standing water anywhere, we don't have a basement, and the garage is bone...

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Great Question Mathew!

Water causes more damage to a home than almost anything.

In your case, the fact that the water comes inside the building when it rains is a strong indicator that the repair will be outside the building, on the roof.

It is good that you've identified the area where the leak is occurring. That is the first step toward repairing the leak.

Inside the house, measure from an exterior wall to the most visible water damage on the ceiling. This will give you an estimate of the location that needs repair on the roof. Then use that measurement up on the roof to help identify the repair area.

This video show how to patch a roof leak. Have a look.

I did notice, in your question, that you were concerned about going on the roof.

There are all levels of DIY projects ... for you this may be a project best left to a contractor.

If you decide to proceed, use the safety harness and proceed with...

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Complex Roof Problem

This roof leaks during the snowy part of winter and during storms in the summer, certainly due to poor flashing. The soffit that meets the roof is one of the toughest areas to waterproof. In the photo, you can still see signs of an ice dam. An ice dam occurs when snow melts and the water freezes when it hits the colder edges of your roof. Eventually, water pools behind the dam and works its way back up under the shingles and under the soffit until it finds an opening through the roof.

The solution begins with good flashing, since this should stop leaks from rainfall and might stop the leaks from ice dams as well. Begin by removing the shingles down to the wood sheathing and slip a strip of adhesive ice-and-water barrier (available where roofing products are sold) under the soffit/main roof joint. Depending on how the roofs join, you may have to cut a slot to work it in far enough. It should overlap another piece of ice-and-water...

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In the home

--as in life--it's often the little things that matter. And it's amazing how many small structural things can go wrong around your house. Whether it's the front-door lock that won't let you into your own home, or the cracked window that won't keep the cold out, small household problems can have a big effect. For most of these, there's no need to call for a repairman-- the solution lies in tapping your ingenuity and using a few common household materials in innovative ways. Even when it seems that the roof is falling in--or the floor is opening up beneath you--there are often simple ways to solve larger problems on your own.



Assessing a roof leak.

Some overhead leaks are due to minor problems--such as a single torn shingle or a small hole in flashing--that you can usually handle with a little DIY experience and some basic tools. But other situations call for a roofer's expertise. If...

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You can perform your own roof repair when the problem is small. Next time it rains, checking for moisture and plugging leaks in the attic can help you avoid expensive damage repairs.

You may be curious to know whether your roof is doing its job of protecting your home from the elements properly. Although a roofing contractor can provide you with the comprehensive inspection you may need to thoroughly assess the integrity of your roofing, every time it rains you have an opportunity to perform your own inspections to see if your home requires roof repair.

It is important to regularly assess your home’s roofing for any compromises that cause leaks. Although a leak can seem no more than annoying, even the smallest leaks can cause major damage. It’s also important to know that when you have a leak it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is entering your home in that same location. Water can travel and come into your home after traveling at length, causing damage along the...

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Repairing your roof starts with finding exactly where it is leaking at. Sometime it can be simple to find, but depending on how much damage it is and where the damage is located determines the difficulty. Normally a leak can go unnoticed until you actually see the water leak coming from the ceiling. That will give you a general idea of where it is leaking at, but you still need to allow yourself a 5 to 8 foot radius from that area. Sometime water can be leaking in through your roof and then can run down the rafter possibly 2 to 3 feet across then can reach the ceiling joist and run down the joist another 2 to 3 feet across before it actually come through the sheetrock (ceiling).

That’s why you should allow at least an 8 foot radius of the area you are thinking that’s leaking when you go unto the roof top to search for it. It is very helpful if you have access to your attic so you can go up and trace the water path to get a good ideal of where it is coming in at to save some...

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Fixing a water main line can be a costly undertaking. Broken water mains have been known to flood homes with mud and cause streets to crumble. Also this type of plumbing repair requires a professional plumber with a very specialized skill set. It's in every homeowner's best interest to keep a close eye on the health and functionality of the home's main water line. Here are a few factors that can affect the price of this costly repair.

What is the water main?

Your water main is the pipe that connects your home plumbing to the public water supply. This main line funnels water from the public main into the various pipes of your home. Monitoring your main water line can seem impossible since it is underground and not easily accessible without digging. So it is important to take some fundamental precautions and spot some signs of possible water main issues.

Is your plumbing old?

If your main water line and the plumbing in your home is old, you will need to have it...
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If you have to call a plumber for every manufactured home plumbing issue you encounter, you could end up spending a lot of money.

Save time, money and frustration by knowing how to repair common manufactured home plumbing issues. We'll start with the basics such as finding the water shut-off valves in a manufactured home, detecting leaks, and solving low water pressure problems.

Plumbing systems in manufactured homes are slightly different from stick-built homes but the concept is exactly the same.

One of the main differences between traditional homes and manufactured homes is where the plumbing pipes are located. Manufactured homes do not usually have plumbing pipes within the walls, instead they are under the home and stubbed up through the floor.

Plumbing System

There are three separate systems that every home must have for proper plumbing; supply lines, drain lines and ventilation.

Supply Lines

Supply lines carry the...

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Easy, DIY Waterproofing Solutions That Will Last

Wet or damp basements are the most frequent complaint of homeowners. Traditional, decades-old basement waterproofing methods have not passed the test of time: "Over 60 per cent of basements have moisture seepage in one form or another, while 38 per cent experience mold and fungus growth due to an elevated moisture level." – The American Society of Home Inspectors. Slab-on-grade buildings suffer similar moisture problems. Now, there is a better solution!

Improving Your Home's Health – For over 15 years our RadonSeal® Permanent Concrete Sealer, DIY Crack Injection Kits, and basement waterproofing and radon mitigating products have proven to be the ideal solution for permanently waterproofing wet foundation walls, concrete floors and improving the overall health of your basement and home. Our unique, high-strength, basement waterproofing materials continue to be trusted by professionals and DIY homeowners...

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Lots of things can go wrong with roofs: bad flashing can cause leaks, a poorly designed valley can turn into a slow-moving glacier, and misplaced gutters can do more harm than good. Experienced roofers see a lot of stupid roofs.

Soon after I dropped out of college in 1974, I got my first construction job. I was hired by Edward J. Thornton Roofing Company in Newtonville, Massachusetts. The company paid me $3.50 an hour. For the next 12 months, I installed countless bundles of asphalt shingles and mopped acres of tar-and-gravel roofs with hot asphalt. Every now and then, I also helped Ed, the company’s sheet-metal worker, to install copper valleys and copper-lined cedar gutters on slate roofs.

Most of the time, I was installing asphalt shingles, back in the days before nail guns and portable compressors. We used heavy wooden extension ladders. My staging consisted of 2x12 planks laid on hardwood shingle brackets; each bracket was secured to the roof with three 16d...

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©Greg McGill /

Take advantage of good weather to handle gutter repairs.

How to repair failing gutters and downspouts to prevent your home’s structure from incurring moisture damage

Four of the most common problems rain gutters incur are leaking, sagging, overflowing, and pooling runoff around the house. If left unattended, any one of these conditions can cause serious water damage to the house and its foundation. Fortunately, the fixes are within the realm of even a modestly skilled do-it-yourselfer.

Leaking Rain Gutters

If your gutters are leaking, the prime suspects are the joints between sections. Standing water in gutters eventually will rust galvanized steel seams or seep through the seams in aluminum gutters.

©Don Vandervort, HomeTips

Caulk leaking gutter seams

First check for signs of standing water and sagging. Adjust or add gutter hangers as needed. Allow the insides of the gutters to dry out, brush leaking...

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