Water dripping from soffits...where to start?

Hello, I’m a new home owner (hope I’m not intruding on your forum) and am looking for professional guidance on troubleshooting what appears to be a water guidance issue with my roof.

We’ve been getting a crap ton of rain here in NJ over the last few months and it was just last night during another heavy rain storm that I actually noticed and paid attention to water dripping out of the vent holes in the plastic soffits under a overhang above my front door and also similarly from a soffit on my 2nd-floor roof. I haven’t inspected the whole house yet, but at the moment, I’ve just noticed these two spots of leakage. On the 2nd-floor soffit the water is actually backtracking from the soffit holes towards the siding and running down the siding.

The previous owner/homebuilder (yep, apparently according to him and the locals, he built the whole addition himself) installed gutter guards, but I pulled them up and cleaned out the gutters and re-installed the guards about 2 months ago. Some of the gutters had a moderate amount of shingle particles and decomposed organic material. I’ve not been able to get up to the 2nd-floor roof since it’s 26’ up and I don’t have a ladder that tall. There are no trees anywhere near or over the 2nd-floor roof. To give you some idea of what the house is, (I’ll get pictures maybe today), it’s basically a 1950’s beach bungalow with a 2-story addition tacked onto one side.

Anyway, I know I need to check and see if a drip edge is even installed (I didn’t know about this roof component until I got to work and started researching the problem). Aside from checking to see if they were installed, my next question will be if they are not, how much of a PITA is it to install them on a finish roof?

Any other advice or things to watch out for would be greatly appreciated!

The first place I would check is along the gutter line.Water is traveling behind the gutter.Could be a couple things.

1.Drip edge is caught behind the gutter.
2.Inadequate shingle overhang
3.Improper offset of the starter strip creating a seam that allows the water to travel behind the drip edge and fascia onto the soffit.
4.The gutter is too low allowing the water access to the back of the gutter.
5.The drip edge is to short not covering the back of the gutter that’s flush with the fascia.

Maybe a few more technical aspects but unfortunately that is all I have time for.Hope it helps. :smiley:

Roofmaster, thanks for the insight!

When I got home from work today I decided I would get up the ladder and pull out the gutter guards that were on the gutters over the front stoop since I have a hunch they are helping water go right back up and under the shingles. The one edge of the guard was tucked under the first course of shingles. So, they’re out.

Next, I noticed one section of the roofing had what appeared to be aluminum drip edge and then the other perpendicular section of roof/gutter had nothing. In fact, I could see the edge of the plywood sheathing between the bottom edge of the 1st course of shingles and the top edge of the gutter.

Lovely. So, I checked around the rest of the lower roof and couldn’t see any drip edge anywhere. The shingles over hang the rakes by about 1" to maybe 1.5" or so. On the second floor roof that I could see and partially touch, I was just so pleased to find that side edge of the wood fascia board was rotten and would crumble away with the slightest touch.

So…it seems to my barely novincial, newbie homeowner eye that:

  1. the gutter guards probably all need to go in the trash
  2. a new fascia board needs to be installed or the existing one needs to be repaired with some of my Smith’s penetrating epoxy and filler or replaced altogether.
  3. a proper drip edge installed
  4. a seamless gutter for the front of the 2nd-floor section to permanently eliminate the seam that is leaking in the pieced together gutter.

While being a pretty capable DIY’er, hey I just rebuilt my condensing boiler, I get the feeling that I might need a Pro to do this? =\

[quote=“dgoldstein”]Roofmaster, thanks for the insight!

When I got home from work today I decided I would get up the ladder and pull out the gutter guards that were on the gutters over the front stoop since I have a hunch they are helping water go right back up and under the shingles. The one edge of the guard was tucked under the first course of shingles. So, they’re out.

Next, I noticed one section of the roofing had what appeared to be aluminum drip edge and then the other perpendicular section of roof/gutter had nothing. In fact, I could see the edge of the plywood sheathing between the bottom edge of the 1st course of shingles and the top edge of the gutter.

Lovely. So, I checked around the rest of the lower roof and couldn’t see any drip edge anywhere. The shingles over hang the rakes by about 1" to maybe 1.5" or so. On the second floor roof that I could see and partially touch, I was just so pleased to find that side edge of the wood fascia board was rotten and would crumble away with the slightest touch.

So…it seems to my barely novincial, newbie homeowner eye that:

  1. the gutter guards probably all need to go in the trash
  2. a new fascia board needs to be installed or the existing one needs to be repaired with some of my Smith’s penetrating epoxy and filler or replaced altogether.
  3. a proper drip edge installed
  4. a seamless gutter for the front of the 2nd-floor section to permanently eliminate the seam that is leaking in the pieced together gutter.

While being a pretty capable DIY’er, hey I just rebuilt my condensing boiler, I get the feeling that I might need a Pro to do this? =[/quote]

I think a diy’r could pull off this repair IF it was on the single story.When dealing with 2 story I feel it starts to lose percentage points for a successful diy project.

I would recommend going with seamless on the second story and for any gutter installation.Those sectioned type gutters picked up at chain home improvement stores are junk.For a diy’r installing those sectioned style gutters are very difficult to keep straight while maintaining the proper degree for flow.

Gutter guards (Screened,mesh,plastic,aluminum,plastic roll) are crap.Regardless if you have gutter guards or not you still have to maintain a strict gutter cleaning schedule.And the gutter guards have to be removed each time to successfully clean the gutter.

When people bolt,glue or fasten these gutter guards it means they have no intentions on cleaning the gutters properly relying solely on the guards to keep everything out.

The only type of gutter guard that is almost maintence free is a helmet or continuous topper style.And even then you have to remove
leaves,twigs,branches along the gutter line and they valleys.

Instead of filling the fascia board I would just replace it and worry about something else in your life,just make sure its primed/treated and painted.You could probably save some money by priming/treating it yourself,maybe provide the fascia board too.If you don’t feel comfortable doing this project you should hire a pro.Just get some estimates.

And you have one up on me,I know nothing about a boiler.

Dgoldstein,

We have come across the issue of water dripping through soffiting before. We thought at first it was that the shingles never sealed to the drip edge, and no ice and water barrier were installed. We figured water was traveling through a shingle seam that lined up with a drip edge nail, as we have seen this before.

The real answer was right infront of our eyes, the roof was a 4:12 Pitch. The shingles on the eave of the roof on the first/second course appeared to be somewhat flat. This should have been corrected during the inital installation. (we didn’t install the roof) The problem was the facia board was hung too high and the decking was lower than the facia board. So when the drip edge was on it made a flat spot. This allowed water to pool in a good rain storm and penetrate through the shingle seams and drip through the soffit.

I would check for flat spots in the shingles on the eave.

Adding dripedge would be a good idea as well.

Our drips were more towards the middle of the soffits.

If the flat area is found, call a local roofer to remove the first few courses have them correct the decking and weave in new shingles to match.

So how does removing and replacing a couple courses and some decking eliminate a fascia board that is too high ? Your problem was the fascia board.

True the drip edge contributed but even without the drip edge it would have pooled.A fascia board that is too high should be removed and dropped.

[quote=“Roofmaster417”]

So how does removing and replacing a couple courses and some decking eliminate a fascia board that is too high ? Your problem was the fascia board.

True the drip edge contributed but even without the drip edge it would have pooled.A fascia board that is too high should be removed and dropped.[/quote]

Yes, the fascia board should be dropped, I agree 100%. We have encountered a few times when it would not be feasible. Such as old homes that have large fascia boards with large dental/crowns attached that are intricate or covered in lead paint. Sometimes the issue can be corrected with adding a coarse of cedar shakes, to even out the decking to the fascia board. Not saying it’s what I would do on a new installation, but on a patch it works well, when a homeowner had an incorrect installation, and they are out of money but left with a leaky roof. Surprisingly we see cedar on the edge of homes built in the 60-70’s around my area often, for this purpose (not being used as drip edge, but to level the eave. I feel it would have been easier to install the fascia board at the correct height personally, but maybe they thought they were going to use a different thickness decking? Maybe it’s just my area and the builders were lazy, or is this a common thing found throughout the county?

[quote=“RPGC”]

So how does removing and replacing a couple courses and some decking eliminate a fascia board that is too high ? Your problem was the fascia board.

True the drip edge contributed but even without the drip edge it would have pooled.A fascia board that is too high should be removed and dropped.

Yes, the fascia board should be dropped, I agree 100%. We have encountered a few times when it would not be feasible. Such as old homes that have large fascia boards with large dental/crowns attached that are intricate or covered in lead paint. Sometimes the issue can be corrected with adding a coarse of cedar shakes, to even out the decking to the fascia board. Not saying it’s what I would do on a new installation, but on a patch it works well, when a homeowner had an incorrect installation, and they are out of money but left with a leaky roof. Surprisingly we see cedar on the edge of homes built in the 60-70’s around my area often, for this purpose (not being used as drip edge, but to level the eave. I feel it would have been easier to install the fascia board at the correct height personally, but maybe they thought they were going to use a different thickness decking? Maybe it’s just my area and the builders were lazy, or is this a common thing found throughout the county?[/quote]

No,unfortunately your area is not the only one plagued with goofball installations.Open a map of the U.S,close your eyes and point and your about 99%.for sure gonna find a hack job within that zip code.

Back to your gutter line shake shim explanation I am puzzled.How do you create a level surface with a positive height degree at the gutter line (Fascia)against the existing pitch (Roof slope) on a 4:12.

[quote=“Roofmaster417”]No,unfortunately your area is not the only one plagued with goofball installations.[glow=red]Open a map of the U.S[/glow],close your eyes and point and your about 99%.for sure gonna find a hack job within that zip code.
.[/quote]

change this to the world…

[quote=“kage”]

[quote=“Roofmaster417”]No,unfortunately your area is not the only one plagued with goofball installations.[glow=red]Open a map of the U.S[/glow],close your eyes and point and your about 99%.for sure gonna find a hack job within that zip code.
.[/quote]

change this to the world…[/quote]

Every re-roof on government installations as well, sometimes i swear NAVFAC was blind in the 90’s

If you are in NJ and looking for gutter guard mesh to make your own - locally your best bet is probably going to be to stop or call here:

BELLEVILLE WIRE CLOTH - CEDAR GROVE, NJ

They can get you the mesh cut to size at a very reasonable price, and with the hurricane bearing down on your area, you may be able to run out really quick while you still have time and pick the stuff up (if they are open).

A sawzall works pretty good on them high fascia boards

[quote=“dgoldstein”]Hello, I’m a new home owner (hope I’m not intruding on your forum) and am looking for professional guidance on troubleshooting what appears to be a water guidance issue with my roof.

We’ve been getting a crap ton of rain here in NJ over the last few months and it was just last night during another heavy rain storm that I actually noticed and paid attention to water dripping out of the vent holes in the plastic soffits under a overhang above my front door and also similarly from a soffit on my 2nd-floor roof. I haven’t inspected the whole house yet, but at the moment, I’ve just noticed these two spots of leakage. On the 2nd-floor soffit the water is actually backtracking from the soffit holes towards the siding and running down the siding.

The previous owner/homebuilder (yep, apparently according to him and the locals, he built the whole addition himself) installed gutter guards, but I pulled them up and cleaned out the gutters and re-installed the guards about 2 months ago. Some of the gutters had a moderate amount of shingle particles and decomposed organic material. I’ve not been able to get up to the 2nd-floor roof since it’s 26’ up and I don’t have a ladder that tall. There are no trees anywhere near or over the 2nd-floor roof. To give you some idea of what the house is, (I’ll get pictures maybe today), it’s basically a 1950’s beach bungalow with a 2-story addition tacked onto one side.

Anyway, I know I need to check and see if a drip edge is even installed (I didn’t know about this roof component until I got to work and started researching the problem). Aside from checking to see if they were installed, my next question will be if they are not, how much of a PITA is it to install them on a finish roof?

Any other advice or things to watch out for would be greatly appreciated![/quote]

How are you accessing the roof? I have used various methods to access my roof over the years from triple ladders to cherry pickers.

[quote=“SoCarSMMech”]

change this to the world…
Every re-roof on government installations as well, sometimes i swear NAVFAC was blind in the 90’s[/quote]

i so hear you there sadly it is true most people just want to get the job slam a roof on and get out with a check it seams now days

[quote=“dgoldstein”]Hello, I’m a new home owner (hope I’m not intruding on your forum) and am looking for professional guidance on troubleshooting what appears to be a water guidance issue with my roof.

We’ve been getting a crap ton of rain here in NJ over the last few months and it was just last night during another heavy rain storm that I actually noticed and paid attention to water dripping out of the vent holes in the plastic soffits under a overhang above my front door and also similarly from a soffit on my 2nd-floor roof. I haven’t inspected the whole house yet, but at the moment, I’ve just noticed these two spots of leakage. On the 2nd-floor soffit the water is actually backtracking from the soffit holes towards the siding and running down the siding.

The previous owner/homebuilder (yep, apparently according to him and the locals, he built the whole addition himself) installed gutter guards, but I pulled them up and cleaned out the gutters and re-installed the guards about 2 months ago. Some of the gutters had a moderate amount of shingle particles and decomposed organic material. I’ve not been able to get up to the 2nd-floor roof since it’s 26’ up and I don’t have a ladder that tall. There are no trees anywhere near or over the 2nd-floor roof. To give you some idea of what the house is, (I’ll get pictures maybe today), it’s basically a 1950’s beach bungalow with a 2-story addition tacked onto one side.

Anyway, I know I need to check and see if a drip edge is even installed (I didn’t know about this roof component until I got to work and started researching the problem). Aside from checking to see if they were installed, my next question will be if they are not, how much of a PITA is it to install them on a finish roof?

Any other advice or things to watch out for would be greatly appreciated![/quote]

Since last commenting I have been looking into the options I have for accessing my roof and I can either use a triple ladder or hire a cherry picker. The ladder option will probably be cheaper but the cherry picker option feels more safe. I am choosing between one of these universalplatforms.co.uk/doc … 202012.pdf