Our roof is leaking. The sheetrock seams have been swelling and we’ve been ignoring them for months, chalking them up to the temperature fluctuations or poor craftsmanship by the contractors. But now they’re yellowing and peeling and there is no more denying that we have water damage.
The spots follow the roofline through the kitchen and into the detached laundry shed. A leak on a shingled roof is near impossible to find without removing the insulation and sheetrock in the whole area, so we’ve resorted to guessing.
First, we got up on the roof to see if there were any missing or damaged shingles. Then we slapped some additional pitch onto the flashing, even though nothing was cracked. Now, we’re waiting until it rains to see if it happens again.
I’ve noticed this about a lot of house projects -- how unscientific problems solving is. How troubleshooting mostly consists of fixing it the easiest way first, then if it doesn’t work moving on to the next easiest. It’s the homeowners equivalent to Occam’s Razor.
We’re applying this “wait and see if it works” principle to the roof because replacing the roof is a lot more expensive than another tube of Henry and a caulking gun. But it’s scary to wait, because moisture left unattended to can ruin ceilings and walls. It can damage infrastructure. It can cause rust. It can grow mold.
Monsoon season in Arizona is no joke. We get storms that put the movies to shame; hellion microbursts that tear through the neighborhood. They lend little warning. We lay in bed listening to the rain and wind slap the windows and crash against the skylight.
“This is crazy!” I’ll say even when it’s the fourth or fifth of the season and really not uncommon or crazy at all. We have been through this before.
“I’m worried about the house,” Tyler will say.
“It’s made it for 55 years. It’ll be ok.” I’ll reply.
But ultimately, one of these times it won’t be. A branch will break, the roof will leak, a tree will fall on a powerline. We’re at the mercy of the rain. All we can do is brace ourselves inside until morning when it’s over and we can assess the damage.