Q. I live in a brownstone southeast of Boston. We have chased water leaks for 15 years. We have repointed the brick exterior, put on a new roof, completely rebuilt our wood bay. We have hired about a half-dozen contractors over the years and spent close to $100,000, but the leaks continue, especially with wind-driven rain.
What’s the next step? Are there “leak experts,” or should an architect schooled in brownstones be found (where?) and how does one trace the origin of wind-driven leaks?
That’s a big order, but one clue gives me hope: You refer to wind-driven rain as a special cause. Although a brownstone has a flat roof, check all flashing, which can be a serious cause for leaks around chimneys, vent pipes, and other areas penetrating the roof.
Pointing the old bricks is a good idea, but old bricks might still leak, so consider a sealer called Chimney Saver. It is usually installed by a chimney sweep.
Check that all gutters are correctly installed. Check chimneys and put on stainless steel caps.
Check the inside of the walls for moisture. Often water vapor will force itself through inner walls and into the cavity, where it condenses into water, undiscovered until it soaks the inside walls.
These are the things a “leak expert” should look for.
As for who is a leak expert, hire a renovation or restoration architect.
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