Leaks in patios

We’ve finally seen a break in this terrible weather and I’m sure if you’ve got a leaky patio in Brisbane you’ve certainly had enough with it by now!

Why do patios leak?

Patios can generally be bought down to one of four categories, and not all of them are due to bad tradmanship. The first thing you need to realise is that your new patio was more than likely an afterthought, you’ve decided to take advantage of Brisbane’s beautiful weather or create an entertaining area well after you’ve bought or built the house, a lot of the time it’s because your family is growing and your needs are changing. Due to this it can be very difficult finding a high spot on the house to attach the patio to so it can get a decent amount of fall to get that water away from the house and down in to the gutter.

Secondly, if a great Brisbane patio builder has finished their job and you have other trades come to your house to perform work this can potentially cause you problems. At Additions Building Company we find our leak problems come from clients that have had solar panels installed or electrical work done a few months after we’ve finished our job. You always hear the same story of it was fine for the first few months and then it started leaking and after talking with the client some more you realise they’ve had another trade on our roof. While we’ve only had two leaks in the past year or so they have been directly caused by other trades not sealing up their work after they have finished, it is generally pretty obvious where they’ve gone wrong.

The next problem I generally encounter are patios that have been built by people that just don’t specialise in this type of work and don’t understand how to use the materials properly. The biggest mistakes they make are; not folding the back of the sheet up to stop water running in to the back channel, not installing foam in the back channel to create a seal around the sheet end, not cleaning the fascia down properly before sealing the back channel to it or simply not knowing how to seal a back channel properly in the first place. Most of these things can be fixed after the patio has been built but why would you want to come back and do a job twice when you can do it right the first time! But a lot of the time it really just comes down to poor design by tradesman with a complete lack of understanding of the materials and in these cases my advice is always the same, employ someone who does this for a full time job and has a lot of experience in it, not someone who is a house framer or local handy man that is experiencing a downturn in their usual work and is looking to fill their gaps. You wouldn’t employ a jetski mechanic to fix an aircraft engine just because both jobs require a mechanic! Patio builders need to be specialised, also I would run a licence check on anyone you employ on the BSA website so see if they have any blemishes on their record as this will give you a good indication of if they’ll come back and fix any problems.

The last problem you’ll really experience for a leak in your patio roof in Brisbane is wind. Your patio has been designed to have a really low fall in it and normally has just foam and the sheet turned up against the house, however under certain wind conditions, like the ones we’ve seen recently, the wind can blow and push the water up and over the turn up and come through on to you underneath. When we’ve got really low roofs like this or you’ve got a dominant wind against the house we put a flashing over the back channel and cut it into the same shape as the roof profile to completely seal this off so you don’t get wet.

Building it yourself?

My final piece of advice for this week is, if you’re building your own patio you really need to pay attention to the fall and the joint to the house, if you get these two things wrong your patio is going to cause you all sorts of headaches. I spend and enormous amount of time and effort training all my new staff in these two aspects and because of this we have very very few leaks.