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Fixing a Roof Leak From Beneath

Updated: Jul 30, 2023

At my Dad's house we had a roof leak. Normally it had been quite easy to fix it because I could just lift tiles off the roof and check it out. It normally turned out to be from an accumulation of leaves in a gully. Not this time. This time, the leak was under our solar panels.


Roof leak under solar panels location
Somewhere here!

I had tried fixing it from within the roof space and even from on top of the roof, by using a dentist's mirror. Neither of them worked, so for years I just gave up. Until recently, an electrician looked at it and said it could be from an old antenna wire anchor. He said if he fixed it, he would have had to remove an entire row of tiles from under the solar panels, which would have been very expensive. We seemed to be at a stalemate. Until I realised - I knew exactly where to look.


Previously, I had removed a vent in the laundry, because all it did was allow air conditioned air to escape into the roof. Our Miele clothes dryer was capable of distilling water out of the clothes instead of venting fog into the laundry, so the vent was no longer required. However, with the roof leak I was unwilling to patch it over permanently, so I just covered with an old lever arch file.


Patching a laundry ceiling vent hole with a lever arch file
Possibly the ugliest roof patch you have ever seen. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the lever arch file and ceiling began to match colour 🤢

I found some silicone in the shed, but there was a problem. It wasn't coming out of the tube, even when I pulled the dry bit out of the nozzle and used a corkscrew. Solution - cut it open with a saw. And, lo and behold, the bottom end was still useable.


Silicone removed from its tube that has nearly gone off but still some useable stuff in it
One of my pet hates is waste. I didn't even want to waste the remaining silicone still wet

All I had to do was stick some wet silicone on the end of my finger, point my finger into the vent hole, climb a ladder and shove the silicone into the offending hole. Here is the end result. On the right of that rusty metal screw poking through the tile is the electrician's attempt, which he admitted may not work. On the left of it is my contribution.


Silicone in hole for an old antenna wire anchor, from beneath
Success! The silicone is in the hole

In the photo, the roof slopes down to the left. Before, I had mis-identified the leak as coming from the upstream end of the tile, because the timber beam was wet all the way to the roof baton on the right. However, I realised that was due to capillary action. During a storm I confirmed it was coming from the nail hole.


Today is quite rainy and so far, so good! Fingers crossed 🤞


What really helped me to look at this problem again was a meditation to discard my negative mind, which I would recommend to anyone.

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