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Question DetailsAsked on 1/20/2017

Should I suggest to roof estimators to inspect attic and do water leak test? Will they charge for these?

Angie's List member LCD wrote a thorough description of good water tests for leaky roofs in the October 28 2014 question "Mysterious roof leak: is a water test a good idea?" With this in mind, we met three different professionals for our water leak; each suggested a different solution that contradicted the others'. None offered to examine the attic or to perform a water test, and I did not suggest these actions (of which we owners are physically incapable). I assumed that if they did not offer, they wouldn't know how to do the jobs thoroughly and correctly. I am surprised the roofing estimators just eyeballed the roof and proposed solutions without doing a thorough investigation per LCD's description. Should I suggest to the next roofing estimators to go into the attic to look for water damage clues and to do a water test? Will they charge for this? If so, what is a reasonable price?

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Certainly, unless they saw obvious damage or missing flashing or such up on the roof, coming in around a roof penetration (pipe or vent), or the source is evident from outside, they should look in the attic for wetness/water staining as a guide to where to start tracking the leak uphill from there. Certainly eyeballing and suggesting if not evident roofing or flashing damage (or missing) sounds like a WAG they would not be held to, so the estimte would not be worth anything in that case.

Common roof inspection fee - $75-150 range - more like $200-350 probably if water test is needed because that is commonly a two-man job (one in attic, one on roof and turning water on and off and moving it around on roof). I would say about 80% or more of jobs do not need a water test - that is more for exotic causes that an on-roof inspection can not find.

However, since it sounds like each gave a different solution, none of them may have done the inspection needed to really tie down the actual cause.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


Thanks LCD for your quick response!

Answered 3 years ago by HyperNap


I failed to respond to part of your question - while unless the leakage point was obvious, like right around a pipe or vent penetration or from missing/damaged roofing or flashing or from obvious eave icing for example, a conscientious roofer would go into the atic (assuming accessible) to look for where the leak appears in the attic, to tie down the downhill most point where the leak could be - then start there on the roof surface (removing it or using infrared scanning, depending if old or new-school) to trace the leak back to its source point. My personal opinion - in these days and times, a roofer without an infrared or near-infrared camera or adaption of a smartphone or tablet or such should not even be out offerring his services to repair roofs - because that non-destructive tracing of water in roofing is priceless - does not unnecessarily damage the roofing, reduces the area to be repaired, and can change the detection/tracing time from an hour to three down to minutes.

As for attic inspection and water testing - if bidding the job I feel the attic and on-roof inspection and detection (assuming readily accessible and not covered in snow or ice, respectively) should be free, but if you are not paying for the detection then the contractor should not be expected to spell out what he found - just tell you what the repair type will be and will cost and promise it will fix the leak. If you pay for the detection/tracing, then he should tell you exactly wht he found and where and mark it on the roof - and since you paid for it, you would then be free to get competing bids from others based on that inspection report. Of course, only fair to give that contractor preference if in the ballpark, or offer him the chance to meet a competing comparable bid.

Water testing - that would definitely be a paid diagnostic scope, not free. And would not normally be done by the contractor voluntarily (unless fuylly paid up front for it) until he had the job, then use it not so much to generally diagnose the problem (which attic inspection should be able to do about 98% of the time), but more to tie down the exact entry point through the roofing by the water.

Note - water testing takes CLOSE attention in the attic/house, preferably someone in the attic looking for the first breakthrough AND someone (like you) in the house walking around every 5 minutes or less looking for any wetness or sound of water, so you don't accidentally get substantial household damage from the testing.

Good Luck

PS - like your site handle - I am feeling the need for a Hypernap right about now.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


Wow...thanks again LCD for taking the time to write another thorough and information-packed response, and will upvote it as well. What you wrote in these two posts should be mandatory reading for any roofing vendor that receives an "Angie's List Super Service Award", as well as any future vendors vying for the award.

Moderators: Can you make that happen?

> I am feeling the need for a Hypernap right about now.

Well deserved; "Warp speed, Mr. Sulu!"

Answered 3 years ago by HyperNap

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