Well, I am glad I waited it out before accepting the last contractor's top plate suggestion, since my suspicions about there being more to it were right.
The saga continues; it looks like I got excited about it just being that excessive rain too soon.
This seems strange:
Last night into this morning it has been rianing.
The short 2 1/2 ' beam in the attic directly adjacent to the chimney on the lower roof side is pretty wet (we have only had about .5 - .6 inches today so far, which is less than the 1.15 inches on Saturday night which resulted in no wetness!?!?!? puzzling). Then again it rained since 6 PM (and I don't have the stats for yesterday).
The chimney itself is still completly dry.
I am not sure what all this means now, since it seems to go from wet to dry to wet again, even though it isn't proportional to the amount of rain.
Here are the threes recent rain cenarios and symptoms:
Occurrence # 1) Rain (some of it storms) for, essentially, 8 straight days - 12 inches of rain, more than half of it feel on 2 of those days)
Symptoms: This was the initial water leaking that led me to call for estimates. This includes the dripping down the sides of the chimney (as if chimney had absorbed a lot of water. The small beam adjacent to chimney had absorbed some water, but I couldn't tell if it was from the flashing directly above that short beam or the chimney absorbing too much water.
# 2) Rain on Saturday ruing the day and then heavy rain on Saturday evening. Total of 1.15 inches on Saturday, a fair amount of it in the evening hours.
Symptoms: No wetness anywhere (neither beam nor chimney concrete).
# 3) Today (raining since last night - some of it heavy) a .5 to .7 inches since midnight (not sure how much we had since 6 PM last night, but it didn't seem that heavy).
Symptoms this time; wooden beam directly under chimey is wetter than I remember it being (I could be wrong) even during that entire week of heavy rain.
At that time (situation #1) it was more localized and ended up transferring to the cross beam, which it is NOT doing (yet) this time, so this seems to
be coming more from the flashing than the chimney.
The flashing seems to have quickly gotten worse.
EDIT: However, while the upper part of this small beam is wet today,m the lower part (which is what allowed the water to be 'transfered' to the adjoining roof beam) hasn't gotten wet yet.
I am a bit confused with these seemingly very conflicting symptoms.
I hope one of the contractors didn't accidentally (stepping on it), or intentionally (they were up there alone for a while), do something to the roofing cement area while they were up there.
However, I don't want to blidnly accuse them; it is just that this is strange.
Then again, we had more rain on Saturday than last night and Saturday it was completely dry. Yet today, with less rian, the beam is the wettest it has been yet, unless the flashing area has started to get worse after all the recent moisture (and or damage / sabotage that is letting water get absorbed).
Oh well, I'll hopefully find out on Thursday when this guy comes to check it out.
I'll take some photos now and post them shortly.
I just want to get this taken care of once and for all, so it can be off my, and your, mind(s).
If I had a better size ladder for the deck, I would go up myself and check it out, but the main one is too tall and the small wooden one is too small by several feet.
Depending on what the contractor finds and says of course, some of it based on your kind feedback, I am thinking of:
1) Getting the flashing area fixed wih something that will hold up a lot longer than 6 months (maybe with some luck he can ge this neoprene stuff).
If it lasts till the new shingles (i.e. reroof) - within two years from now (4 years seems to be pushing it based on what I saw the other day when I was on the deck cleaning a small part of the gutter out since I was there anyway), I will be happy.
2) Getting the chimney itself waterproofed.