Roof Repaired... Now what?

Winger79November 8, 2012

During Superstorm Sandy our house received a new complimentary shower in the bathroom - that is, a leak. It was along the edge of the bathroom, in a 3 sided rectangular pattern including the window frame, inward about 12 inches and across about 12 inches - a slow drip along this area. We immediately called and had a roofer come out, who replaced some lost shingles, hammered down roof nail pops, repaired flashing, etc. We've now had our first rain after that, and it seems that worked fine.

So now we have the internal damage to deal with (I wanted to wait until I was certain the outer damage was fixed first). The roofer believes that the external leak was right above the internal leak. I have had a dehumidifier running in the bathroom to try to make sure the area is dry and to prevent mold.

Can I just sand down and retouch the area with paint? Or should I pull off that part of the ceiling drywall to open up the otherwise inaccessible area over it to allow that to better dry and then repair it with new drywall? As I have never done any drywall work, should I get a contractor who does internal stuff (the one I had come out before only did exterior roofing) come and take care of it? I prefer to do easy things around the house, but also want to make sure things are done right and am not sure what "right" is in this case...

Thanks in advance for all your advice!

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Sophie Wheeler

You should have already pulled off the drywall and taken out the wet insulation. The insulation might have been saved had it been allowed to dry out. It's probably now molded. And it possibly extends down into the wall as well courtesy of gravity.

Anyone can remove drywall with a keyhole saw. If you don't own one, they are cheap and you should own one. Only after you remove the drywall and wet insulation can you asses the actual water damage to the ceiling and wall. Get busy on that NOW, and study up on drywall repair if you want to get this done in a timely manner and save some money. It IS within the realm of a DIYer. However, contractors in your area are so busy that I'd expect this small (hopefully) job would not be able to be gotten to until well after the new year.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 9:40AM
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I don't think I'd be tearing out my walls and ceilings "just in case" it got wet enough to start growing mold. You're costing yourself a lot more money and a lot more headache than is needed. Even if it does mold - so what - it's enclosed in the walls. Could this really be a health risk by just leaving it alone? I don't think the next buyers will be looking inside your walls to see if there is any mold.

If there was an endless supply of money and time, maybe I'd fix it. Otherwise, I'd just leave it alone. Just my 2 cents.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 4:28PM
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I was going to agree with cas66ragtop until I read the whole thing. If the trouble spot is attic-accessible, I'd go up there and have a look. Remove the insulation if you can, and let it dry. You can look at the back of the ceiling drywall for damage or mould. If it's mouldy, replace it.

If there's mould inside the walls or attic, of course it's a health risk.

Since you're acting quickly, chances are you'll be ok. Minor mould can be treated with bleach or special sprays.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 5:55PM
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I'd definitely follow cas66ragtop's advice. What's wrong with a little mold compared to money, especially if it's hidden behind the wall? Of course there are no health risks with anything you can't see. And never mind potential future buyers, they'll be easy enough to deceive. And if the weakened area should become vulnerable enough to allow squirrels to enter your house, you can just trap them.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 5:18AM
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Feels good to be an aye whole, doesn't it akamaingrower?

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 8:11AM
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Wet drywall becomes weak and crumbly. In a ceiling area, the only thing giving it structural integrity is the coating of paint applied to paper. If you have a lot of heavy wet insulation on top of that area, the whole thing can just collapse on you at some point. Even if it dries out and looks fine, it's NOT. It needs to be opened up, dried out, and replaced. The insulation probably will also need to be replaced at this point.

Doing it right is a one time job and you're done. Doing half measures, or especially ignoring water damage to the largest purchase that you will ever make in your life is nothing but foolish.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:56AM
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Thank you, everyone, for your advice.

Hollysprings (or anyone else), any place that you would recommend I go to get drywall advice? There's a lot of places on the internet, and some are better than others... I don't want to waste my time picking one that isn't very good or user-friendly.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:43PM
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if you poke the ceiling(drywall) does it fall apart..crumble?
if so replace it..if not..treat it..and leave it..are you ceilings smooth or textured with popcorn(how old, might contain asbestos)..and you thought the water damage was a can of worms..if it contains now have to follow EPA cleanup does any contractor working on the problem.the contractor must be certified for asbestos clean up..think $$$...and $$$$$$.

if you can pull back the ceiling insulation..replacement might be a good choice if its still damp..its kinda like sponge..holds water..this is bad..since its 2 days since you posted..a minor leak would have dried by now


    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 9:21PM
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