Options for ‘repaired’ roof that still shows signs of leaking

The Philadelphia InquirerSeptember 25, 2013 

Q: I have a roof leak in the front bedroom corner of my house. The house has a flat roof and all seams and skylights were resealed, says my roofer. However, the roof still shows signs of leakage, albeit not all the time. (The bedroom ceiling is open so we can see where the leak is.) Last Saturday, the wood was completely dry; Sunday showed shows of wetness, as well as Monday.

Have you any ideas as to what can be done or can you recommend someone? The roofer stated that he would try running the water hose on the roof, however, we had enough rain, so he can’t seem to get a good day for it.

— Desperately seeking dryness.

A: You may think what you see is the source of the leak, but because water always flows to its lowest point, it may be originating someplace else.

If you cannot get up to the roof to check things out yourself, and this problem persists, you have a couple of options.

One is to hire another roofer to check the first one’s work.

The danger is, of course, that the second roofer might pan the first one’s work and suggest a complete redo, resulting in more money and the possibility that the leak still won’t be fixed.

The second is what former colleague Dawn Fallik did when the source of a leak in a third-floor front wall of her rowhouse eluded everyone, and the cost of repairs and diagnostics reached $5,000, but to no avail.

A mason suggested an inspector who uses infrared and moisture sensors to pinpoint sources of such leaks.

The homeowner uses the information to hire a contractor to make repairs.

SMELLY DISHWASHER SOURCES

This suggestion from reader Joe Lucie: “Everybody knows how the dishwasher works, but no one reads the manual when there is a problem,” he says.

“I have never had problems with any smells; maybe it’s because we rinse off the dishes before putting them in the washer.

“Stress to your readers how important it is to keep the manual and read it.”

Contrary opinions are welcome.

Q: Is it legally OK to keep a snake in a cage in a rental property in Chicago? I have a tenant who wants to keep a corn snake. I am afraid that if it gets loose, it will damage property, or even bite little kids. I made it clear in a lease that if there’s any danger, or if something happens, then it is the tenant’s full responsibility. The tenant argues that she has a kid, and she knows her full responsibility.

What is your suggestion?

A: While the Chicago Herpetological Society website notes that one Illinois municipality prohibits keeping snakes in residential properties, I can find no reference to any law in Chicago or Cook County, Ill., that says your tenant cannot keep one.

My kinfolk in Connecticut have a pet snake (feeds on frozen mice), and two years ago on St. Francis’ Day, one of the choirboys brought a snake to church, wrapped around his neck until the blessing was given.

Pythons and boas are banned in a lot of places because they are dangerous, but this one isn’t, I’m told.

Corn snakes, according to a number of Internet sites that appear reliable, tend to be docile, don’t bite, and don’t get too long. I imagine if it ever got loose in your building, your other tenants might be a bit spooked. If you have spelled out liability and responsibility in the lease, that should be it.

Perhaps you should have asked for a bigger damage deposit.

Questions? Email Alan J. Heavens at aheavens@phillynews.com or write him at The Inquirer, P.O. Box 8263, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101. Volume prohibits individual replies.

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