What will a roofer typically look at when inspecting a leak?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ December 9, 2013 ~ No Comments

I have a flat roof with a leak. Additionally, some stucco on the roof that has cracks. One person is telling me the leak is caused by the cracks and another is saying it's caused by a flat scupper. Will a roofer take care of both problems to insure the roof stops leaking?


Jeffrey Anderson

Marlis, when you write that you have some cracked stucco on your roof, do you mean on a vertical wall adjacent to the roof surface? I have never heard of stucco being used on a roof surface. That's not to say it couldn't happen, I've just never heard of it being used for that purpose. My guess is that the stucco is on a vertical wall.

Stucco is a material that should be applied by an experienced contractor for it to match the existing surface and drain water properly. Regardless of whether the stucco is on a wall or the roof's surface, few if any roofing contractors are going to have the expertise to repair it correctly. Even if you happen to live in an area where stucco is commonly used as a roofing material, I would check with the roofing contractor you call to ensure they have done stucco repairs in the past. And even then, I would check their references.

The scupper repair is also going to require a roofing contractor with specific skills. Roofing is a trade that has more and more specializing in particular materials. There are many roofers who do nothing but asphalt shingles and have never done slate, tile, or wood shake roofs. Your scupper issue is going to require a contractor who has experience with flat roof applications. Don't allow a roofing contractor who has never installed a membrane or scupper do the repair on your roof or you might be having to do it a second time.

My advice would be to do the stucco repair first. If there are cracks, even if they're not leaking now, they may eventually. And when water gets behind stucco, it can cause even more cracks - especially if you live in an area where the temperatures drop below freezing. After the stucco has been repaired, use a water hose to determine if you still have a leak or watch to see if there's any water intrusion after a few rains. If there is, the scupper may be the culprit.

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