I thought about titling this post “leaks and dirty leakers who leak them” (apologies to Al Franken) but then I realized some might mistake the topic for something which goes on far too often in Washington, DC, and that’s not the case at all. No, today I am covering the neverending story which often accompanies life in the tropics: leaks during the rainy season.
Most people know that a tropical deluge can represent several inches of rain in a single day, followed by more of the same the next day in the rainy season. We’ve had several nights of rain in a row recently. We have a mostly flat roof, with a gently sloping surface that feeds run-off spouts which let the water fall directly next to the house; since we have no basement, there is no need to worry about flooding a lower level. The roof is treated with a water-proofing cover that resembles asphalt paper, and the more decorative sections (like the cupolas) have a painted stucco exterior over a waterproof fiberglass material covering the brickwork.
Over the course of time, that constant flow of water wears down the waterproofing, and cracks form, letting water into the house. This is not the major crisis it would be north of the border. The interior is brick and stucco, the floors tile; there is no wood, baseboard, or wallboard to absorb moisture, be ruined, and require replacing. So the key is to sop up the rain and get the crack sealed; too many leaks in the row are nature’s way of telling you to reseal the whole roof.
So I am sitting at the table, surfing the web one morning, and I hear the pleasant hum of rain outside. But in among the rain-sounds is an occasional “thump.” It sounds closer, and not at all natural. Unless you consider the sound of water dripping from your ceiling onto a custom-made Spanish leather storage chest “natural.” Yes, we had a small leak above the windows in our cupola, which was dripping on the furniture. It was in such an out of the way place, we even developed some mildew,
since we did not discover the leak until several rainy days in a row generated enough moisture for it to leak down into the ceiling and fall. We called Jorgé the repair guy, who dutifully patched the cracks and resealed the cracked areas of the cupola.
Several more days of rain revealed more cracks, and more repairs. Now we have been two rainy days without leaks, so perhaps we are done. We’ll re-evaluate whether to replace the entire sealant on the roof when the rainy season ends.
If you have ever had a serious roof leak, or worse yet water in your basement, you know what a drill it can be. Leaks are a fact of life here, but more of an inconvenience than a major deal.