Question: Happy New Year, Robert. We’ve started off with a leak from these past rains, and I need to know how to move forward. We found it in a formal living area, where we don’t frequent much. Turns out this leaked pretty severely and now we are faced with getting this repaired prior to more rains, hopefully.
Before I touch anything or call anyone, what should this process look like? Can I do work myself and forego an expensive contractor to get the wet stuff out? What is the process to troubleshoot the leak and how do I properly dry the area so that we are free of any potential mold? Please help!
— Phillip K.
Answer: Phillip, good question. If you are the homeowner, which I’m guessing you are, you may remove any wet materials yourself. I recommend wearing a mask and gloves, and bagging up any wet materials for disposal. Be sure you carefully cut clean lines on the drywall and remove all wet materials, including insulation, and dispose of these.
If you have a box fan or one of the sort, you can set it to this area to help dry any wet timbers. Online, you can purchase a high-speed fan for minimal cost, which would be the better option, drying the area faster.
On a good weather day you can attempt to troubleshoot this leak with the help of another able person. One person needs to be inside at the site, and another outside with the water hose. Beginning low, hit the area with the hose and keep communications open between the two people. Continue slowly, moving up the exterior, until you find the failure.
Windows in the nearby area are often culprits, and if you happen to end up at the roof line, proceed very slowly and carefully, and introduce new areas with water. It could be something on the side elevation or it could be at the roof, possibly a penetration such as a vent pipe. All of this can be done by the homeowner, and this will save you quite a bit of money not having to pay someone their time to find the answers.
Once you locate the failure, the repair will have to be evaluated. If you need further help at that time, feel free to reach out. Best of luck.
Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].