Nerds Fixing Stuff: Roof Leak, Part 1

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Setup

In August of last year I purchased a new house in the ‘burbs to accommodate my ever growing family. We went by the books and got the home inspection done which yielded some pretty low-hanging-fruit issues such as…

  1. Don’t have rain barrels near your foundation
  2. Maybe upgrade that outdoor tap to have a frost nib
  3. Eventually you’ll need to replace your shingles

I prioritized some of the work in the results and carried on with my life. We did a few reno’s including painting, installing new flooring upstairs, when suddenly this spring, a wild wall deformity appeared!

Oh No! A Deformity!


One of my TL’s very politely told me I should give up my tech blogging and write about my home reno’s. I figured it was a great idea so here we are

I’m not a professional handyman, tradesman, or any other sort of non-tech professional. This is what I think was the right move to make first and am totally open to any free advice you smarter folks may have for me in the comments section below. Perform work on your own house at your own peril!

The Repairs

Well now, this is an unfortunate twist of events. I went into immediate nerd sleuth and tried to troubleshoot the issue. Through a process of elimination, I ruled out any of my upstairs bathrooms leaking here as this is located on the outside of my house. What is behind this wall, however, is the ventilation for my furnace. I had no choice but to make my way up to the attic.

After clearing out all the stuff from my son’s closet, I had my access port available. I set up my ladder and climbed up to where I thought the leak was. Lo and behold, the culprit was right in my face present.

The obvious damage

Since it was getting late in the evening and there wasn’t any rain in the forecast. I decided to take the evening off and form a plan of attack. So the rest of my night began with a scene that looked like this:

bbq time

With a little bit of this

beer time

After a bit of reading, I figured that my best course of action was going to be to seal off the damage and attempt to patch the area where the leak was happening. Based on my best guess, the leak is happening from the flashing on my chimney structure that may have shaken loose from the wind. Since I’m… not afraid of heights but would much prefer to not be up high, I decided to tackle the inside for now and then move onto the outside later this week. The rest of this post will be about my inside adventures.

The next morning I went to Home Depot to get some Kilz. They didn’t have what I was looking for so I went and found this product instead.


The idea here is to seal off the area to prevent more water from getting in and letting any mold that is growing in the wood from spreading. At least until I can get someone in to take a look at the damage professionally.

When I got home, I went back up to the attic and started sealing off all the areas that were showing signs of damage. Suddenly I got the idea “I should pull back the insulation and see what’s going on underneath just in case.” This is when I came upon revelation part 2:

inspectors only do visual inspections. who knows what hides just beneath the surface


That little gap there on the right is completely void of vapour barrier. Little known fact for any of the tech nerds that visit my site every so often.. vapour is a natural occurrence in your attic. Warm air meets cool air and creates vapour. In the winter if you go to your attic and if you have any nail punctures (nails coming through your roof) you will notice that they are covered in frost. This is because vapour met steel and formed ice. This will melt in the spring and, more often than not, will just dry out. Anyways, vapour barrier is your last line of defence against unwanted attic water. Unfortunately, I threw away my roll of poly when I moved so it was off to Home Depot once again to get more supplies! I picked up a small roll of vapour barrier and came back home to complete my repairs.

Once I returned home, I measured, cut, and installed the vapour barrier in this spot. I tacked it down gently with some screws and used tuck tape to seal the edges to prevent any water leakage. The end result looked like this


Next, I used some good old FlexSeal to create (at least a temporary) block from water coming in. I gave two coats over the affected area and above along where I suspect the water to be coming through. It’s clear so I don’t have much to show you for images so scroll up and imagine a bit of a sheen to the area as I sprayed it down more. Once the FlexSeal had 2 coats and dried, I replaced the insulation and rewarded myself with a beer.

Part 2 coming when I find a friend to hold my ladder and I can overcome my preference of avoiding heights!

Here is what it looked like when I was all done for those that really need closure. Hopefully this holds up until I can get on my roof again!

Doneish? For now!

Nerds Fixing Stuffhomerenovationsfix-itroofleak

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