Leak in bay window with copper roof

I need some help here. I have a friend who asked me to look over this for him. He has a bay window with a copper roof that is leaking. I spoted 2 possible reasons for the problem but wanted to see if I am missing something. The window was installed originally when the house was built 14 years ago. The window has leaked since the house was built, but only in slow steady rains like we get in the fall in our area. It doesn’t leak (or at least not that can be seen) when the rains are quick as with fast moving storms.

The 2 things I saw from looking over it was: 1) the flashing over the window does not appear to be installed properly and 2) the brick veneer does not have any weep holes at all anywhere around the house.

The roof originally had copper valleys which were leaking in the attic, but that has been repaired. He thought that may have been the problem. But I saw no evidence that could be the case. The second floor has no signs of water damage in the wall or aroung the fixed window above the bay window. I told him that in order for the roof to be causing the bay window to leak there should be water damage in and around the second floor window as well. It would take a very large quanity of water coming in to the house to cause that much water in the bay window. Thus it was more likely to be a problem with the copper roof installation or the installation of the brick veneer around the window or both.

The builder completely reworked the copper roof in 2001, but the leak persisted and the builder has refused to fix it.

Is there anything I am missing here?






Where does the leak show up? At the sill, below it, above the window? Sounds to me like it could be a flashing issue, rather than the roof. If the roof was leaking, that would probably be pretty obvious.

In the interior picture their is staining in the sheetrock above the window and in the wall around the window there are several areas wher the paint is peeling away. The harwood floor has curled at the edges from the water leaking from the bay ceiling onto the floor.

OK, I see the stains now. Looks like a roof leak. He’s been living with this for 14 years? Why act now?

Sill of the window above the copper hood!

What is on the house for moisture barrier?

Are the windows nail fin windows? What kind of windows are they?

He is about to put the house on the market to sell and wants to be able to say the problem has been fixed. He has been actively trying to fix the problem. He has had the ledge of the window avobe the bay reworked, he has had the brick sealed, he had the reroofed the house, and he had the builder rework the bay window. He has had 3 contractors look at it, but no one seems to know what the problem is. He is talking about sueing the builder, and maybe the other contractors don’t want the liability issue.

Any pictures of the work when it was taken apart?

Any backer rod and sealant joint between the upper window and the brick?

I don’t know about the moisture barrier as I have not seen it and he doesn’t know either. The top portion of the flashing is silicone caulked, but I pointed out the gaps to him at the bottom of the flashing and mentioned that the water could be seeping backwards up behind the flashing. I explained to him that the whole purpose for a drip edge on the shingles was to prevent water from backing up into the eaves and that the same principle applies here. If the flashing was not done correctly the water could be seeping back behind the flashing into the roof cavity and into the room. The guy that reroofed the house agreed with me, but the builder says that is impossible.

I mentioned that to him as well and again he didn’t know. I showed him how the regular windows had the metal header in the brick that supports the brick but also diverts water behind the brick around the window and down the sides of the window and explained to him that there should a method of diverting the moisture that does get behind the brick around the window and down the sides away from the window.

Past time for an IR scan.

Look at the SILL installation.

Thanks for the diagram/guide. I will forward this to him. I feel the problem is probably a little of both the bay and the brick veneer installation. And I don’t want to pinpoint any one thing to him because it could be both. Is there anything else I could be missing?

Around here the hoods go all the way back to the sheathing and have a return up the wall so the moisture barrier can overlap them.

Most of the time.

Yeah, and I wonder if that was done when the copper roof was redone. I have no way of knowing. He wants me to write up a report. So here is a list of items I am going to note:

flashing installation - recommend step flashing on the angled hip portions
lack of or blocked weep holes in the brick veneer

Questions for builder:

how was the vapor barrier installed?
was flashing installed over or under the vapor barrier?

Any others?

I am afraid that he will have to remove the sheetrock ceiling portion of the bay window and leave it exposed until the next rain comes in to physically see where the water is coming from.

I have chased water leaks up three stories from the source, across the building to the other side (between floors). Anything is possible.

There has been a lot of blind work going on and could make things worse.

I think I would get IR in there after it rains.

This inspection was the wall, not the copper roof.

Ok guys here is what I am going to tell him:

I have a few working theories but I would like to gather some more information and refrain from writing the report until I can get in the home while it is actively raining with an infrared camera. The theories I have thus far are:

  1. The installation of the copper roof flashing. Improperly flashed windows are one of the main sources of leakage. This does not mean it is the source or the only source, just the most likely.

  2. The moisture could be coming in from the exterior caulking around the window frame or a potential crack in the above brick around either the picture window or the oval window, running down the vapor barrier and then entering the bay window ceiling unimpeded. Under this scenrio, the water would free flow down the vapor barrier directly into the bay window without showing any signs of moisture in the attic or second floor because the vapor barrier is working as it is designed to do. Even a hairline crack can allow large quantities of water into the house during sustained rains.

Do you know when the two windows were caulked last? I know the ledge on the picture window was redone recently, was the window caulked at that time? Has the brick work around the oval window ever been evaluated? Has the oval window been caulked recently?

[FONT=Arial][size=2]3) The moisture could be getting behind the brick veneer through the flashing on the shingled corners at the bottom of the gable roof. If you look at the picture and notice the angle, water flows from both ends towards the center of the home and down to the vicinity of the bay window. If the flashing here is not correct, or if there is a space or crack here water could flow directly down the vapor barrier behind the brick veneer to the bay window.

When the new roof was installed, were these two corners looked at by the roofer?

  1. Some other unknown source not detected yet.



Why wait till it rains again take control and use a water hose start at the bottom and ever so slowly work your way up the wall.

Do not stand on the ground shooting the water up fasten the hose and sprayer to an extending pole.

Pictures and all day on site. Maybe

Among other things, the water can get in at both ends of those ‘fake’ seams. The drip edge is probably ‘flat’ on a nailed, instead of the deck, and water will get in.