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RE: My First Leaking Skylight
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He could be held responsible because the courts too often side with the homeowners since contractors are seen as the bad guys.

I use verbage in my paperwork that states 'not responsible for consequential damage'. This was a suggestion that my attorney made when I had him review my contract, his point was that we don't always know what was there before we got there. It is hard to get a homeowner to show you the inside of the house to inspect for past leaks and damage. Sadly there are a few oppurtunists out there that are looking for something.

Could a non-pressure wash cause damage...it shouldn't.  It's good to remember that the capillary action of water is 2 to 3 inches. If enough water is able to pound above a skylight it could find it's way back up under the shingles and dependant upon the installation of the flashings you can get a leak. Often a piece of drip edge 'glued' to the roof with a mastic placed at an angle to encourage drainage to one side will correct the problem. Fixed one in the summer that started to leak after 10+ years, the folks were not up for a proper tearout and repair so I tried a diverter, lots of hard rain the last few weeks and still no leaks.

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Donald 'Bud' Fogleman II


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Seems like you know the deal Bud. Bottom line: Hopefully get $500 instead of $700 OR start a peeing contest with the customer and get nothing AND pay to repair the skylight.

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Wish you the best, keep the customer happy and get him to agree to a testimonial, noone is perfect and folks know it. Let him tell his story, how you cleaned his roof, had a 'whoops' and made it right. That's the kind of thing that makes customers feel good, a stand up guy in construction industry.

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Donald 'Bud' Fogleman II


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Roof Cleaning New Jersey wrote:

Ed,

Thank you for the e-mail. My wife did inform me about the damage - I agree that it is strange. A decent amount of plaster fell from the skylight (see attached photo). We will have the handyman repair, he is fairly inexpensive and I cannot imagine that it will take long to fix. I will obtain a receipt from him for the work and submit to you along with our payment, with the repair costs deducted.

Your crew was very professional about the matter.

Thank you,

Jeff


I would love to see that photo of the plaster mess... Gezzz you must sprinkle hundreds of gallons of mix to get plaster to start falling from the ceiling in such a short time span... weird?
 

 



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smile
Awesome thread guys! This is definitely full of great educational info for all of us and stuff to relay to our employees.
Hey Ed make sure you tag this "skylight" or skylight issues or something because it is great learning for roof cleaners and skylights.

And you are totally right, the way some skylight flashing kits are made they only protect from water in one direction and if you spray up or at the wrong angle it will leak, especially if it isn't installed by the right professional, sometimes there are ways to do things better without deviating too far from the manufacturers recommendations.
A lot of people with skylights have occasional leaks, it is due to wind driven rain, seal or condensation issues.

Like Bud was saying some newer skylights are better, this is because the flashing already installed on them and but most of the roofs we are cleaning don't have them yet.

A few other skylight issues could be that some debris or growth was masking a problem like Gris mentioned.
Sometimes there are exposed nails or flashing that is caulked and bacteria can grow in the voids of the caulk and separate the caulk from the surface and fall off. This is why these areas should ALWAYS be free of growth. If you we ever see anything like this we should tell the customer so they can have it fixed.

Also sometimes people caulk over caulk and some caulks cannot adhere to themselves, just like how if you caulk your bathtub twice you still have a leak. It always must be removed first and redone properly.

This is why if you see caulk on a roof inform the customer about these possible scenarios and how it is a great time to replace that caulk now that the surface is clean or put it in your contract. There shouldn't be much caulk on a roof to begin with.

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I will tag this thread. This was a long ranch house with a lot of roof I went through 60 gals. It was a flacid application since my compressor is not working right so my mix was not coming out strong at all.

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Following up on this thread. I finally received a check for the full amount. It was found that there was a problem with the installation of the skylight. My faith in mankind had been restored. I never met the owner, never even talked to him once on the phone. All dialogue was done thru email.

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Glad to hear it worked out...to you and any others. When in doubt get good photos of 'things' that look funky. If I can shed any light on what it is that concerns you by what I can see in the photo I would be happy to do it.

Have a Merry one!

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Donald 'Bud' Fogleman II


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Congrats Ed...........Nice to have that money back I'm sure.

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Roof Cleaning New Jersey wrote:

Following up on this thread. I finally received a check for the full amount. It was found that there was a problem with the installation of the skylight. My faith in mankind had been restored. I never met the owner, never even talked to him once on the phone. All dialogue was done thru email.

 


I bet you get more than the 700.00 in referrals. Those homeowners now look at you as a stand up guy who was willing to make sure they were happy and satisfied even if you had to take a loss. You probably have a lifelong customer that no low baller can take away. Great job.

 



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Pat,

Putting it into the contract sounds like a good idea.  We are also checking into this and also adding clauses that would protect us against leaking gutters or gutters that are not properly installed. 

Mike
Indiana Roof Cleaning LLC

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If sky lights are a common problem, then would it be wise to offer to caulk or black jack around it when the bid is approved and allow it time to set before you come back and wash.

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I would not do anything such as 'caulking or blackjacking' around a skylight or any other roof penetration.

If you do such a thing you now own it. Very often the repairs that I do to roof penetrations involve first removing the 'bear crap' that has be pumped, smeared, and/or built up around it. When you apply such a material you may be creating a 'dam' which can cause a leak to develop that was not there or to become worse than it was. Are you going to warranty your 'improvement' to the roof for the customer?

If a penetration needs attention then take a picture, show it to the folks and explain that it is in their best interest to have a proper repair made either before or after the roof is cleaned. If they choose after then you may need to do something to assure that wash water does not get into the roof.

Here too is where you can be the hero, I am sure that if you are not qualified to make a 'proper' repair you know a ROOFING CONTRACTOR that is. He will be happy to get the lead and you won't loose your work to him because he will not what to loose a source of leads (he will also become a source of leads for you because very few of us care to clean roofs???).

Consider a cursory inspection of the roof and it's penetrations as a complimentary service to your customers, you will probably be the only person that has been up there in a long time and likely there will not be anyone climbing up any time soon after you are there.


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Donald 'Bud' Fogleman II


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Roof Cleaning New Jersey wrote:

Ok I'm no roofer.  But with over 15 years plumbing experience I understand water and leaks better than most.  We've had a ton of rain the last few weeks.  We even had good rain last night.  This is the only thing I can make of it:  In drainage systems, you can have a cracked or penetrated pipe that doesnt leak as long as the water continues to flow in one direction.  When a back up occurs, water can now fill the pipe and flow in an opposite direction.  You can now have a leak where there was never a leak before as a direct result of the water running in an opposite direction.  I can only imagine this is the case with this skylight. I must have somehow hit it with love in a direction that it hasnt yet experienced creating the leak.  I've taken full responsibility and they will have their handyman repair some sheetrock and it will be deducted from the bill.  Who has ever experienced this kind of situation?




 Just now jumping in on this subject. I had a prob with a skylight before.

 Its over now so this is how it went down.  

 We didnt do it. I'll post a pic too of the skylight. The skylight is in the bathroom. owner said Skylight was over 15 years old.In the Bathroom? HMM? On this roof wash we were called back for a couple areas lil more soap, touch up we missed. Those touchups were around the skylights. A lighter selection of spray was used, shouldve used more.

 Remember this! Had to come back for this touch up around the windows. 

 I remembered it. I told him we couldnt have damaged your skylight. Helper said it was already there on the glass. HO said it wasnt. I'm caught in the middle, look at before pic, I cant tell. 

 I get on the roof my self and spray the glass from every angle with the garden hose.... Nothing!  No water gets in? The supposed stain on the glass is NOT on the top. I checked that first.

 Still saying we did it? Well now I'm late for the next job! Had to go. Said we would be back soon?

 I cant get this Chit off my mind. Bathroom-Soap scum I thought! Its on the inside? 15 years old. Looking down Its a 1 story (10 ft) Square shaft! Dificult to clean at best from inside??? I told him my thoughts over the phone

 10 min later, hes found a ladder and somehow set it, needing to extend it, get the ladder in the shaft and up straight working with it in a bathroom that may be 7 at best feet high. Ladders only double almost in size. Do they make 14 ft ladders? Thats the best ladder the , This is getting to long about ladders. It couldnt be done.  

 He called me back 10 mins, said he had checked the window from the inside, set his ladder and all. I said we will be back.

 Somehow we get on the subject, He said he would pay me to come and repair his window. now we are talking its maybe dual pane. could be, but stain aint from us?

 Its $40 round trip to this job, WOM. Well, being there so many times, Its getting close to no profit on this job. I scedule 1 more time. This time HO and me get on roof. He agrees!!!!!!

 He back out, we'll set a day later, ok.

 Couple weeks later he calls and thanks me for my staying with him and his problem? (For not calling him a liar? lol!!!) OOOH but that the stain is dissapearing by itself? Suggesting that there is a leak i didnt find, the water is getting rid of the stain?

 This window is above a small bathroom. 1 story house, like an apartment. Had to respray around this one. We rinsed it too for any over spray.

 Heres a pic of what happens if you dont clean the inside of your sky light, If its in the small bathroom, You take showers and use soap, Dont clean the inside of your skylight for say, over 15 years? Dificult to clean. 

 The Guy is really cool. After a while I think you stop looking up at your skylight. He really didnt know.

 Hijack over.



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Nice story, good work on staying at it and getting it solved.

Here's another thing that 'can' happen; As the sealed glass (dual pane) ages it can loose it pressurization. When this happens it is possible to have the panes actually suck together, where they contact (typically near the center) a mark can develop BETWEEN THE 2 PIECES OF GLASS.

Sooo, if the stains on panes cannot be removed from inside or outside it may be just such an event and time for a new skylight. When the glass looses it's seal it will allow more condensation (especially in bathrooms) which can cause condensation which can look like leaks.

Since you were on the roof spraying liquids they start looking up at the skylight (since they were worried about it leaking) and discover something that they never noticed before, but was there.

I suggest taking the time to inspect the skylights from the inside, photograph and document any concerns that you and the homeowner notice during your visit.

2 cents



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Good point.

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