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Community and Q&A

Solarium (a.k.a. sunroom) is leaking

Matthew Seabolt | Posted in General Questions on

So I am trying to help a friend of mine who has a solarium aka sunroom which is leaking in a variety of places. The company who made it has gone out of business and the contractor who installed it won’t return his calls. It’s leaking in areas but not horrendously and it’s not readily apparent where the water is entering exactly. My buddy does not have the money to tear it down and have it redone and can’t find a contractor willing to try and repair it properly. I suggested he start with flashing where the solarium meets the house (there is none now) and either try applying some type of rubberized asphalt tape similar to what I used where the storm collar on my chimney meets the metal roof or else some type of caulk between the glass and the metal frame (like a urethane that’s used to install the back windows in vehicles or the metal roofing caulk I used around my plumbing boots). I know this isn’t and ideal solution but it is the only feasible one. Does the peel and stick roofing membrane sound better than the caulk option? and what specific type(s) of membrane or caulk would you all recommend in this situation.

Thanks in advance,

Matt

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Replies

  1. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Matt,
    If you and your friend aren't familiar with flashing this type of joint, I don't recommend that you experiment and learn on the job. Keep looking for an experienced contractor willing to help you.

    Assuming that your guess is correct, and that the water is entering via the unflashed seam between the wall of the house and the top of the solarium roof, here is how you would proceed:

    1. You need to remove the bottom course of siding on the wall, exposing about 6 or 8 inches of wall sheathing or housewrap. If the house has brick cladding or stucco, this can be tricky work.

    2. You need to install wide flashing, made of durable metal (copper is ideal, buy painted galvanized steel can work in a pinch). The flashing needs to be bent in a brake, so that there is a long bend corresponding to the angle of the solarium roof. The flashing should be about 16 inches wide before it is bent in a brake. The vertical edge of the metal flashing should be at least 6 inches high; it goes against the wall sheathing. Then you need to repair the housewrap or asphalt felt (the WRB) so that the housewrap or felt laps over the new flashing. The bottom leg of the flashing overlaps the top of the solarium roof by at least 8 inches, although 12 inches is better.

    3. Depending on the materials you encounter, it might be a good idea to install a strip of peel-and-stick material at this joint before the metal flashing is installed. The metal flashing should entirely cover and protect the peel-and-stick.

    4. Once the metal flashing is installed, it's time to repair the bottom course of siding.

    It's possible, of course, that water is entering the solarium because the gaskets between the glazing and the metal ribs of the solarium are failing. That's harder to fix.

    Good luck.

  2. User avatar
    Peter Engle | | #2

    If the solarium is mostly made up of frames and glazing, a commercial glazing contractor may be able to help. They are probably good with addressing the joint at the house, but also with reglazing and/or wet sealing the glass panels to the frames as necessary.

  3. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Peter,
    That's good advice.

  4. Matthew Seabolt | | #4

    Thanks Martin and Peter. I've already measured the angle between the house and the glass and sent them to a local metal roof company that I'm going to to get to fabricate the flashing pieces. unfortunately my buddy's house is way out in the country and I'm guessing that's one reason nobody wants to fool with it as we have both been looking for over a year and have not found a contractor willing to do anything with it. I have checked with commercial roofers to try to get their advice and get them to come out but in over a year haven't had any luck. Can you guys recommend a specific type of membrane or caulk that you think will perform best Presuming we can't find a commercial glazing contractor?

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