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Roof Leak Clues: The Single Nail in the Key Way

Posted April 18, 2008 by Patrick Morin

In 1995, an unknown roofer placed a solitary nail right in the middle of this roof’s drain area. From the ground, it looks like just a bunch of roofing up there, and as long as it’s not leaking you feel pretty good about everything. But that nail was in a key way. That’s the roofing term for the space between the cedar shakes. It’s a very important part of a cedar roof…in getting water off your roof and into the drains. When it rains, your shake roof traffics all the water through these areas. So, when the idiot disguised as a roofer nailed that single nail into a key way 12 years ago, he set a very expensive series of events into motion. It’s almost unbelievable what this nail did.

12 years later, in the middle of an ordinary Portland rainstorm, the roofing around that nail finally gave way and all the water flowing through that key way found its way into the home. The water followed the sheet rock ceiling to the downhill crack. After a brief soak, it busted through the paint and exploded onto the kitchen table right into a pile of the children’s schoolbooks and an open laptop computer.

It would have been an entertaining study diversion, except the owners were not at home. For hours on end the dripping water filled up the laptop, then covered the wooden table with good old Oregon rain. The rain then spilled onto the hardwood floor and all of it sat there for the rest of the day. You can imagine the panic that ensued when the homeowners arrived to their watery kitchen. (Timely reminder: Have you backed up your hard drive lately?)

Here’s the real tragedy: The insurance company denied the claim. It was determined that the problem could have been prevented with simple but careful roof maintenance. The insurance agent recommended Roof Life of Oregon. That’s when I showed up and found the 12-year-old nail that caused $6,500.00 in damage to the inside of the home. We also fixed a few other problems on the roof to the tune of $1,280. The guy that caused all of this damage had a 12-year head start, and the statute of limitations on stupidity is pretty short

Your only defense against a tragedy like this is to have your roof checked and maintained every 5 years. Call us. We’re very good at roof maintenance. If you need to replace your roof, your best defense is to have Roof Life of Oregon install your roof. Why? We have Portland, Oregon’s only Lifetime Roofing Workmanship Warranty.

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