Who am I gonna call? (To find out why it is raining inside my window)
January 22, 2020 11:40 PM   Subscribe

There is water dripping down from the top of a window well (that is, through the wood framing of the window well, not from the joint between the glass and the wood) in our upstairs bedroom. What kind of professional do I need to figure out where the water is coming from? More details and link to a photo inside .

Here is a picture of the leak. The window in question is on the second floor of a two-storey house extension that is of unknown age (probably built sometime between the 70s and the turn of the millenium??) Directly above us is a flat roof which is completely covered by a wood deck which is raised maybe 4 inches off the roof. The exterior wall is vinyl siding. This happened once four years ago right after we moved into this house, and a random handyman sealed some cracks in the vinyl siding of the house, which we thought had fixed the problem until now - we've had lots of big storms and two years of record breaking snow melt since then with no dripping noted until tonight. Clearly a more thorough investigation is warranted (and was probably warranted 4 years ago). What kind of professional do we call to take the lead on finding the source of this leak?
posted by TheLittlestRobot to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You want a plumber who does roofing. What you're probably seeing here is the effect of blocked and/or corroded roof guttering overflowing inwards. Many flat roofs have got brain-dead, totally cosmetics-oriented concealed guttering designs that make this failure mode almost inevitable.
posted by flabdablet at 12:53 AM on January 23 [2 favorites]

When we had a similar problem it was caused by water overflowing a blocked gutter and flowing down through the cavity wall.
posted by night_train at 1:14 AM on January 23

Flat roofs in snow country are a recipe for disaster. Very likely the waterproof seal has failed. Having a deck built over the roof is going to complicate repair.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:18 AM on January 23

When did you last clean your gutters?
posted by DarlingBri at 9:38 AM on January 23

Yup, another vote for the gutters -- I had exactly that problem when the gutters were clogged. Cleaning them out fixed it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:44 PM on January 23

Your roof is leaking at the edge and water is running down inside the wall. Is it still cold? This is what happens when you have ice dams. I'd shovel the roof if its below freezing and clear the gutters if not. If that fixes it for now then great, call a roofer in the spring. If not, call one now.

Most roofing companies will shovel roofs and clean gutters if you dont have the gear or head for heights
posted by fshgrl at 11:35 PM on January 23

I thought ice dam at first, too. Then I saw the bit about a flat roof. Ice dams are typically something that happens with a pitched roof, where snow melts on a warm roof, runs down to where the roof overhangs past the wall and is cold, then freezes. The water backs up behind the ice dam, and can infiltrate under the shingles and enter the house. If a flat roof's drains froze, it could cause water to pool on the roof, but there aren't overlapping shingles; it's a membrane, sealed at joints and around the edges. If the seal leaks, water can enter the building.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:43 AM on January 24

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