Why Is the Roof Over Your Bay Window Leaking?

March 19, 2018
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Uh oh…

Are you watching those water stains begin to grow on the ceiling inside your bay window? Maybe you can hear the occasional drip? There are few things homeowners dread more than a leaking roof!

Unfortunately, leaky bay windows are quite common (we’re guessing that hearing “you’re not alone!” isn’t exactly comforting, though). Because of the way a bay window’s roof line runs up to the side of the house, these types of windows require a very special way of connecting the roof to the side of your home. And, each part of the roof requires the appropriate flashing to ensure a tight seam where the materials join.

Ready for some good news?

With the right roofing pro in your corner, your leak can be traced to its source and remediated. Or, better yet, working with the right roofer from the start can help avoid this issue altogether!

Avoiding a Leaky Bay Window When Your Home Has Wood Or Vinyl Siding

When the house is covered in wood or vinyl siding, it’s crucial to have step flashing and apron flashing tucked up behind the siding to create a totally effective seal against moisture intrusion. It’s also important to make sure that the apron flashing overlaps the step flashing and that the corners are sealed. One of the first steps we take whenever we are called to address a leaky bay window is to check for any damage to the step flashing or apron flashing.

And, we also inspect the quality of installation to make sure that everything was done correctly.

Making Sure Your Bay Window Connects Perfectly with Brick Siding

So, what do you do if you have brick siding, since that doesn’t overlap with your flashing as easily?

The concept is much the same, only this time we create custom-bent counter flashing. Here is a quick look at the steps involved:

  • First, we take measurements of every angle we need
  • We then cut and bend the metal for your new flashing
  • Next, we use a grinder to cut a small gap into the mortar which allows us to tuck the counter flashing right inside, joining snugly
  • The counter flashing is then nailed to the mortar
  • Finally, we finish it off with a bead of silicone roofing sealant along the top edge of the counter flashing where it meets the brick

Issues with your counter flashing are normally the number one reason why a bay window can leak. Often due to the age of the house, the original roofing sealant will break down and start to crack and fall apart. In some cases, the sealant will have been installed poorly, leaving gaps for water to get through the flashing. This is again one of the first things we inspect when we arrive on the scene.

Another Common Culprit? The Windows Above Your Bay Window!

After we’ve inspected all of the roofing material and flashing around the bay window, the next step is to look up. An unfortunate domino effect can be created if the window above isn’t functioning as it should.

Here are a few of the common problem areas we’ll check:

  • For homes with siding, we’ll check the flashing behind the siding to make sure it was installed correctly and is functioning as it needs to
  • We’ll check for any missing flashing around the window, or any sections that were not installed well
  • If it is a brick home, we inspect the caulking around the edge of the window (after a few years, depending on the condition of the exterior roofing caulk, there might be racking or age-induced decay)
  • The window itself could also be leaking if the drain holes are clogged
  • Sometimes the window is just old, and no longer able to keep out the weather
  • Cracking bricks above the window can also allow water inside

We Can Perform a Water Test, If Necessary

To help you be certain that the issue was addressed after repairing a particularly problematic window, we can perform a water test. With one of our technicians inside the house looking for signs of water, another technician will spray your bay window, flashing, brick, and the windows above with a hose. Think of it as a controlled rainstorm!

This is very rarely necessary, but it does offer the absolute assurance that we corrected the weak point and that your bay window will no longer leak.

Working with the Right Roofing Company Inspires Confidence

Leaks are stressful, making it essential that you work with a professional roofing company who has the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to pinpoint and correct any weaknesses in your roof system.

Here at RoofPRO, we are confident that we can address even your most elusive leaks, offering the very best solution to provide priceless peace of mind. We roof it right, the first time!