Why do Sunrooms Leak?

Talk to just about anyone who owns a sunroom or has owned one in the past and they will have a leak story to tell you.  The sad truth is that 99.99% of all sunroom contractors have battled with leaky sunroom installations despite their best intentions.  The other .01% either haven’t been in the business for more than a month, are terrific liars, or may just be that awesome.

The simple reality is that sunroom leaks are fairly common.  However, a seasoned sunroom contractor like Titan Sunrooms can help identify likely leak sources prior to installation so repairs can be made before the build.  In other instances, leaks can be due to faulty installation or even flawed materials.  Whatever the case may be, its important that you choose a contractor who will assist you in times of need.

We get numerous calls from customers with leaks who have used other contractors for their build.  The common complaint: They won’t come out and they won’t answer my repeated calls for help.   Can you help me? Unfortunately, we seldom if ever can help these folks as we are obligated to serve our own customers first.

If you want to get a sense of what kind of contractor you will be dealing with simply ask them “Do you have roof leaks?” See if you get an honest answer.

The reasons can be many but we have learned that there are 3 primary causes that will result in a roof leak.

  1. A defective house roof: Things like poor chimney flashing, old shingles and defective ridge vents can cause water to get into a new enclosure. A house roof in poor condition is a challenge and should be repaired appropriately prior to work commencing.  A seasoned pro should be able to point this out to you.
  2. Poor installation: Flashing a new sunroom roof should not be an afterthought. It is the most important element of a good installation. Flashing a roof properly is even more important. Getting underneath the shingles to the decking of the house roof with metal flashing is essential. It takes time to do this right and is typically one of the last things done which is why it gets overlooked so often. Many roof leaks can be attributed to this.
  3. Flawed materials: Causes 1 and 2 are in your control however reason 3 is not. Most panels today use a mating system that effectively locks one roof section to the next. Metal panels need to expand and contract freely as they heat up in the daytime and cool down at night. Panels can expand as much as ½” or more causing the exposed seam to fail. The pictures below show seams that have lost their seal due to this process.
The Bottom Line
Choose a contractor that specializes in Sunrooms.  It takes years of experience to be able to recognize and troubleshoot all of the potential pitfalls in a sunroom installation.  Contractors that do siding one day and cabinets the next do not have the everyday experience needed to be the best at what they do.  This is a simple fact.
Choose materials that are made to resist leaking and not just be easy for someone to install.  Locking roof panel systems were a great invention because they saved the contractor on labor while reducing material costs.  However,  the benefit to the homeowner was just the opposite. Abandoned by their contractor, many are left to suffer with leaks that never get fixed and nobody to fix them.
Be an educated consumer.  Don’t assume that all materials are the same and all contractors are as well.  This is a recipe for disaster.  A little research can go a long way to insure that you have a good sunroom project experience.