What most contractors don’t know about leaks?


You have not paid for a high glossy, pretty booklet. You have paid for invaluable information that has in truth saved good intentioned contractors lawsuits and thousands of $ in ineffective repairs and comments from clients of “it didn’t fix my leak.”

We are talking in the main about rain related and for the most part, above the ground leaks.

I am not going to use long words as they mostly inhibit most readers from understanding the data. I can be elaborate but I will spare them for the sake of my readers being able to understand, with ease, what I am about to tell you.

I talk from many years of hands on experience in the field finding and permanently fixing leaks and also in resolving disputes and misunderstandings through mediations in the field and as an ethics officer.

And I can tell you point blank that this data I am about to tell you has impact on contractors!

I am also writing this to help contractors get the missing data they need. My experience has been that most contractors are basically good intentioned as they try to fix “their leak” but miss this important fact that I will be discussing in this booklet.

Again, I personally have saved contractors thousands. And these are good contractors. therefore I am taking the time out to write and make this data known to my industry and get a missing datum in use that will improve the image and competence of our industry through this.

This missing datum alone can make a contractor look smart or stupid depending on whether he knows and USES it or not!

If you haven’t heard it, I sure have. Almost 1 for 1: “He doesn’t know what he is doing”. “He has been back out 2-5 times and he doesn’t know what he is doing” He has been out many times to fix my leak but he doesn’t know his —- from a hole in the ground. Etc.

Most of these come DIRECTLY from the missing datum about leaks! and is what gives our industry a bad reputation.

The sad thing is that, as you can see, the majority HAVE made attempts to remedy the problem and are NOT flaky contractors! Just lacking the missing data.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some contractors who
misapply waterproofing techniques which cause leaks, but if you are in the leak handling business as far as fixing them so they don’t come back, and if you are making standard repairs where what you do actually will fix a leak if the leak is where you are fixing it, this datum I am about to give you IS significant!

General Leak Facts

Rule: Look

All but a fraction of my findings have been through first hand observation. That is to say confronting what is in front of me, NOT so much listen but LOOK. If there is 1 other thing to remember in all you have read, it is to LOOK at what is in front of you, not what is in your head.

I say this out of a tremendous amount of experience. Example: Mr. client SAYS: “My roof is leaking” If you just listen and don’t look you will say “ok we will replace your roof. As you read earlier, this is what can lead you into wrong solutions! “It’s still leaking”

I have had clients TELL me point blank; It’s the deck!”. I acknowledge that and do MY OWN looking anyway. What do I find? At least 50% of the time, AT LEAST, it is NOT the deck or what they SAY is leaking!! It’s more like 75-85% of the time it’s not what they say!

I have had contractors on the jobsite ready to RE tear out a deck because they ASSUMED it was the deck. What did I find? It was NOT the deck but the door, threshold, window AND a light fixture! I ISOLATED these and could document them as factually leaking. Not my OPINION. I saved that particular Contractor and architect over $10k.

The missing Datum:
This eludes most roofers and contractors and clients alike!

Case in point: There is a roof that has a parapet wall and there is a door that comes onto the roof from the house and a light fixture on the wall by the door.

I have personally found homes to have ALL THE ABOVE LEAKING!! The roofer comes out, redoes the roof,which by the way, may or may not be the cause, and then the next rain his phone rings: “I still have that leak! you need to come out and fix my roof! I PAID YOU GOOD MONEY. And if you don’t my attorney will see that you do!

So you go back out, and you put some more patching on the roof BUT IT STILL LEAKS!!! By now the client is not very happy with you to say the least and you are loosing $ every time you go back out not to mention gaining an ever increasing BAD reputation for yourself and the industry because “ That idiot does not know what he is doing! I will never hire him again, and I certainly will not recommend him!!

And this is important: YOU DON’T EVEN

Rain Leak Facts

There are some words that I will be defining for you in the following text for a better comprehension of what I have to say. They will be numbered and you need to look them up in the back of this booklet as they appear. Not after you read the whole booklet.

In my days and years of leak finding and Terminating several major issue comes to mind when we say: “find my leak”. In general, there is usually more than 1 entrance point causing water to show up as “The Leak”.

In other words, the drip you see can be caused by more than 1 so called Leak: that is a hole or crack or “entrance point” outside which is then showing up where you see it in the place you least want it: yours or the clients living space!

Another major issue that comes up often which is somewhat related to the prior paragraph is that people get the idea that there is “a leak”. This is extremely misleading.

General Leak Facts

Here is another critical Datum to remember especially when you are putting on new roofs:

STUCCO IS A WEEP SYSTEM! WATER GETS INTO AND BEHIND STUCCO! That is why there is felt paper behind it! And don’t try to tell me
Elastomeric Paint will solve it. It won’t under this exact circumstance: ELONGATION AND THE SPANNING OF CRACKS! I have a list of Architects who were an eye witness to this exact datum! This paint fails under cracking conditions in the stucco. It seals the porosity of the stucco but not all cracks. I’ve seen some jobs with as many as 5-8 coats still leak!

When installing roofs, I find many roofers will go up the side of the stucco with the roofing and Mastic. But what about the water that is getting BEHIND THE STUCCO ABOVE YOUR PATCHING? I’ll tell you where: either the existing roof and design at the roof to wall area is still intact or it goes into the house!

I have seen many roof applications of this type not leak and upon further investigation found that the
original paper, flashing etc. kept it out but on roofs where the original is damaged AT THE WALL TO ROOF AREA, water goes IN the house!

I go into flashing technology in on site video consulting so I won’t get into that now.

Without the knowledge and application of A. Isolating “a” leak, and then B. Fixing THAT leak, one gets into all sorts of unworkable “solutions” which are themselves not based on fact and even worse, either is not what needed fixing or the “ solution” is itself a problem.

Example: put an awning over the door onto the roof because the “door is leaking”. Hell; you don’t even know where the door is leaking! and if it’s the threshold which it often is, an awning won’t do no good as rain can come in at an angle and certainly drenches the threshold even with an awning!

But let’s say you figure “ the door is leaking” ok. you put up an awning, but at the top, it is not sealed well. Great. More wasted money, time and an unhappy client. But as I said earlier, if it’s the threshold and you put up an awning just over the door, well, even if the awning is sealed at the top well, you still have the leak!

This is where the datum of ISOLATE & PINPOINT
becomes critical. If you don’t isolate & pinpoint an entrance point one way or the other, you could be doing ineffective repairs and missing the leak or leaks all together! ( That is 1 of the services we offer. )

The list goes on but I think you get the point:
Isolate, Pinpoint then Terminate!

The word “A” is technically defined as 1. I have seen more contractors and homeowners fighting and suing because, 1: the client insists that there is “a” leak giving the impression there is only one. 2. The contractor inadvertently overlooks the fact that there may be more than 1 entrance point, or leak (synonymous). He then proceeds to A. Assume he knows where it is and B.that there is 1 leak or entrance point.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are some instances where A source point is as there is a visible hole or crack. So there is a condition where one can “find and fix a leak”. But that NEVER cancels the datum of the
possibility of more than 1!

This generally involves him in “ The repair didn’t fix my leak”. Many good intentioned contractors lose money or even go out of business due to this 1 fact. Of course there are other factors which put one out of business but this one definitely helps the process along at a quick rate.

I have seen contractors and homeowners alike pulling their hair out trying to find “the leak”. The missing point and the fact that there is, more times than not, Many leaks! (entering the structure).

This especially applies to situations where you have already spotted and fixed an obvious source such as big cracks around the drain or around the scupper and the water is showing up downstairs in that same area.

Glossary of Terms and Words:

1. LEAK: A crack, hole, or other fault that liquid, gas, etc. can pass through. Also an amount of liquid, gas etc. that is escaping from an object by means of a crack, hole or other fault. ( World Book Dictionary)

2. TERMINATING: To bring or come to an end, stop, end. (Webster’s New World Dictionary)

3. ENTRANCE POINT: That place that allows something to enter, such as water.

4. ISOLATE: If you Isolate a substance, chemical element etc., you separate it from other substances so you can deal with it on it’s own; a technical term. ( Collins Cobuild Dictionary)

5. PINPOINT: If you pinpoint something, you discover or explain exactly what is causing or preventing it.
( Collins Cobuild Dictionary)

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