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Roof repaired 3 times and leak is not fixed

I have a sandstone Victorian house with a slate roof with a dormer in it. The roof comes up to the sandstone wall (coping?) and there is a cement? skew on top of the tiles and up the side of the sandstone. We have a chimney with 3 pots in this wall.

We noticed a leak in the bedroom on the slope between the dormer and the sandstone wall and this had damage the plaster.

We called out a builder who decided that it was the flashing at the side of the dormer and he replaced that and fixed a couple of slipped tiles in the area. As we were re-decorating we had the room re plastered as it was dry and sunny the plaster dried out and I painted the walls with matt paint. The next rain we had gave us a damp patch on in the same place and also a random patch in the middle of the external wall and one on the external wall where it meets the back wall of the bedroom. These were probably there already but hidden by the paper.

We called out the same firm (different builder this time as they were no longer using the first one). They decided that the problem was the flashing round the chimney, a few slipped tiles and the skew. The work was completed though the skew was not very neat and in putting the flashing in the tiles around the area now didn't look at flat as they had so I wasn't happy that the best job had been done. This also did not fix the problem, so I got them out for another look and they claimed that everything was fine with the work done and they would quote for anything else they thought may be the problem.

I decided to get another opinion and the roofer who came out was not happy with the slates round the flashing and decided that the ridge flashing should be taken off and these slates removed and put on again straight and the flashing put on with new clips. He also decided that the chimney had a few problems and the post needed re-cemented as did the gaps between he sandstone on the coping. As this roofer seemed to know what he was talking about I agreed for him to do the work. He sent 2 roofers out and they did the work in the rain while I was out one Saturday morning (which surprised me) and I wasn't sure how well it had been done as the slates still didn't look straight, the ridge flashing seemed a bit warped and one of the slates had come loose a few days later. So I think that in this case I may have had a cowboy builder who did no good at all.

In the mean time a quote came in from the original firm to remove all the slates on that third of the roof and re-do them and the skew again as a new job.

At this point I still have a leak and have no faith in either set of builders or any way to decide how to choose a new company, or what to do. I currently despair of getting the leak fixed and am worried about spending more and more money and having more and more work done that doesn’t solve the problem.

Any advice at this point would be welcome.

8 Answers from MyBuilder Roofers

Best Answer

Hello Victorian house,

Leaks can be difficult to diagnose, but none the less you don't want to keep paying out...

Personally I would hire an independent surveyor to check your roof out. It will cost initially, but they will list everything that needs doing and everything that has been done badly. Then get some new roofers either off this site or elsewhere to quote based on the surveyors report. Once the work is finished, you can call the surveyor back, and he will be able to check if they have done it properly to an acceptable standard. If they haven't you have the surveyor on your side and obviously don't pay them until it's rectified.

It might cost you more initially, but at least you will end up with a job properly done. Rather than the usual, this needs doing, that needs doing patter and general upscaling of a job....and then it still leaks

Kind regards



Answered 31st Dec 2011

Well it certainly seems that each firm you have had dont know what they are doing, sounds as if they have made the problems worse.
A good roofer/builder should be able to spot all the problems, advise you what needs doing and give you a price.
I dont know how you found these other guys, but recomendation from other satisfied customers is a good start, and to see some of their works and gaurantees.
Im sure there a lot of good tradesmen on this site you could choose from, list it in the Post a Job section, on this site.


Answered 31st Dec 2011

i am shocked. if it was me i would be chasing the problem. startin at the wet patch, and working my way up.
if you noticed the wet patch in the bedroom then surely there is a loft above that?
if there is a wet patch in the loft then i'd be looking towards the roof, if there is no wet patch then i'd be looking for pipes under the floor boards.
did any of the builder do this before they decided it was your roof?


Answered 23rd Feb 2021

If your unsure with a trader carrieing out work and you would like a second opinion it's so helpful to get a surveyor in to check work over. It's a small cost but may save you money in the long term


Answered 14th Apr 2019

It sounds like every roofer who’s been out hasn’t told you the truth
If your skates etc are slipping and falling out your roof needs replacing
You’ve probably spent about the same patching in instead of just re doing
Old roofs need replacing
Slate roofs normally have no felt and the lathes rott with rain causing the naas to rot and the slates drop in different places
Just replace roof


Answered 28th Aug 2020

You will need to felt and lath the roof and re tile it, old houses don’t normally have felt. You should also re-point all brick or joints around lead trays etc near the areas of damp.


Answered 12th Sep 2020

Have you had anybody check if you have tin soakers up the side of the dormer? Fixed many leaks around dormers and 9 times out of 10 its a soaker issue or no soakers at all. Is it a lead flashing up the side of the dormer? Do you have any photo's


Answered 26th Nov 2020

I would check your chimney pots , if open I would recommend pot cowlings, also assess the flaunching, if cracked it may cause damp issues, mortar is pouras and can cause damp,


Answered 12th Jan 2021

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