Image of repaired roof leak on Philadelphia rowhome

Leak Hard 2: Leak Harder

Elizabeth, the owner of a South Philly rowhome, came to us with a problem: during severe rainstorms, water stains would show up around the top corner of the ceiling and wall of their bedroom. Slowly, over time, the paint around the bump out started to peel, and the stains got worse, even though she had only seen the actual leak a few times. So, we headed out to her home to inspect the area in question.

The initial investigation

We could clearly see visible water damage around the ceiling, bump out, and wall corner. Above it was the edge of the roof deck with a gutter and drain box. The membrane was in good shape, but there was a large, visible opening between the gutter and the metal flashing of the deck. There were also two vents on the rear stucco façade that had visible gaps around them. Suspecting that these gaps may be the issue, we went back inside to investigate further.

To inspect the leak and determine the root cause, we opened up some areas in the bump out and ceiling to look inside and assess the extent of the damage. We then went back outside to replicate the leak and upon targeting an area of concern water started to drip in immediately.


Because being thorough is the name of the game with leaks, we then explored the rest of the area to see if water was coming in from any other sources. We tested several areas around the membrane and under the support joists at the corner of the deck extensively, but didn’t see any leaks. We then tested the corner, where the metal capping was slightly bent and not making proper contact with the stucco. After about 10 minutes testing, water slowly started to come in through the top and bottom of the joist inside.

Suggesting a plan of attack

Upon leaving, we drafted our comprehensive Leak Report outlining all our findings, and provided a suggested plan of repairs. We take the time to craft the Leak Report for every customer so they feel knowledgeable and empowered to make smart decisions about their home in order to stay true to our ethos of putting the customer back in control of their leak problem. We know leaks, especially mystery leaks, are frustrating business, and to the homeowner it can often feel like an exercise in futility, calling multiple contractors to fix the different aspects of the leak — from detection, to repair, to cosmetic restoration.

At Dr. Leaks, we take a comprehensive approach to leak detection and repair with the ultimate goal of making the homeowner feel like they are in control again. Once the homeowner receives the Leak Report, they have a few options: they can attempt the repair themselves, they can hire us to fix their leak and restore their home to its original condition, or they can take the suggested plan of repairs to another contractor (or contractors, as it often is), to solve the problem. Ultimately, Elizabeth decided to have another contractor fix this leak.

Leak number 2: the leakquel

But then! A couple months later, Elizabeth came back to us, this time with a plumbing leak in her bathroom. She had a leak about a year prior, and had someone out who recommended re-caulking the bathtub. The issues went away for a while, so she held off, until one day Elizabeth turned on the shower and water started leaking into the kitchen at a much higher rate than ever before. So, we got ready to head back out to her house and inspect the leak.

For straightforward, easy-to-fix leaks like this, we often adjust our proven 4 Phase Process to save the homeowner some time and money. We combine phases 2 and 3, sending out the detection and the repair crews at the same time. They diagnose the leak on the spot, draft up the Leak Report at the location, get approval from the customer, and begin immediately fixing the leak upon approval.

One-day inspection and repair

When our crew arrived, they had a brief conversation with Elizabeth. She explained that water was coming from a light fixture on the second floor kitchen. We inspected both bathrooms on the third floor and noticed that there were significant cracks in the grout and caulk of both showers.

We began running water tests to investigate the path of the leak, and saw water in the bump out in the kitchen. We also removed the access panel from the bath in the master bathroom and saw a bit of water trickling down below the tub, while testing the caulk line between the tub and the tile. 


Voila: a fully restored home

We presented our findings to Elizabeth and got approval to repair the leaks. We headed to get materials, and performed spot grout repairs and caulk sealing to all the areas in both bathrooms, to ensure a leak free home for Elizabeth. Once we repaired the leaks, we set out to clean up the mess, and completely restore her home back to its original condition. The result? Happy client, happy leak doctors.

Have a pesky leak you haven’t been able to fix? Schedule a free consultation today and get the Philadelphia leak experts on the job. 


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