Answers from Glen: leaks, leaks and more leaks

Here's the next article in the Ask Glen! column, where readers can submit questions to local Petworth contractor Glen Sperling of Harmony Remodeling and get answers.

Today we look at a leaks, leaks and more leaks!

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Gentle reminder: Glen is offering advice, but always hire a qualified professional. This column isn't an opportunity to hire Glen. He's really busy, because he's really awesome. But he does have time to answer your questions...

Is that a leak in my ceiling? 

Yep, you got a leak... (photo: Les Chatfield)

Anonymous in Brightwood Park writes:
My wife and I bought a single-family row house this spring. The seller had made some recent improvements, although it had not been overly renovated. Generally we've found it to be in good condition, all things considered.
Just yesterday, however, my wife noticed a water spot on the ceiling beneath the bathroom shortly after taking a bath. Clearly, there's some kind of leak, but we're not sure if it's with the water coming in to the tub or with the tub's drainage. I removed the access panel to the pipes and looked in with a flashlight; although it was a bit musty smelling there was no visible water and the pipes I could see were dry.
Short of opening the wall further and calling a plumber, is there any good way to identify the source of the water? We don't want to just ignore the leak, obviously, but are there steps we could take to fix it ourselves, before we bring in the professionals?"

Glen Says...

The only sure way to tell is to open the ceiling below and observe while the water is running!!  I know that isn’t what you want to hear, but it is the correct answer. ;-)


Window cries every time it rains...

Sad window tears, also known as a leak (photo: Bob Peters)

Jo in Brightwood writes:

I have a water leak, inside my breakfast room, at the top of the window. The window outside was caulked and, depending on how heavy it is raining, I still have water dripping inside at the top of the window.  Without replacing the window, is there something else that can be done.  Also, is there someone you can refer me to?

Glen Says... 

You need a good handyman type guy (try yelp), to properly caulk/seal the window!  Without knowing the type of siding (or brick), hard for me to give a better answer  


Mai non! A French drain for sludge?

A sump pump for sludge? (photo: State Farm)

Anonymous in Crestwood writes:
A basement waterproofing company wants to install a flushing system attached to the sump pump to clean out the perimeter interior wall drains of sludge once a month.  Its part of an expensive new system to end flooding and adds to the cost. Is it worthwhile or a gimmick?

Glen Says...

Honestly, this is new to me ;-)  On an interior French drain that has been properly installed with a cloth cover, you shouldn’t have the problem or a need for this.  An exterior French drain system might, but not interior!!

Have a question about home renovation or fix-it projects? Ask Glen! >