Tracking down a roof leak can be a real time-consuming investigation, but not just that, a dripping roof is also endlessly frustrating—especially if you don’t know the root of the problem or where to begin searching for it. A roof leak doesn’t mean your roof is doomed; it just means you’ve got a problem to solve.
No matter the size of your roof, any roofing system is vulnerable to debris falling onto its surface from a particularly nasty storm. Within the average 20-or-so lifespan of your roof, you’ll likely be faced with a roof leak at some point or another, so it’s important to brush up on the common reasons why it can leak. It’ll make fixing these roof leaks all the easier.
It’s critical to nip roof leaks in the bud before the water causes further damage. Check out these common reasons behind roof leaks so you can quickly track down the source of the problem.
A roofing leak from broken, cracked, or missing shingles is fortunately easy to spot and easy to fix when you detect it early on. Shingles can succumb to heavy winds and storms, so if you’ve experienced adverse weather, check your roof (safely from the ground) to see if the shingles have suffered any damage. Shingles, being the exterior protection of your roofing system, might make it easy for you to spot their damage if they’re completely torn off of the roof and now strewn across your lawn or in your landscaping.
Water can seep in if shingles aren’t there to protect against rainfall and runoff. You might notice leaking if there has been shingle damage, especially after—or during—a storm.
For shingles that need to be replaced and are still attached to your roof, you’ll need to use a pry bar to remove the damaged shingle, lifting up until the roofing nail pops. Replace the broken shingle with a new one (your roofer should have given you extra or can provide them), securing it with four new nails.
Skipping the chore of cleaning your gutters can actually be a cause of a roof leak. Gutters channel water away from your home, its roof, and the foundation, protecting it from water damage. Obviously, gutters that are clogged with debris, leaves, sticks, and mud can’t do their job, so the runoff won’t have anywhere to go. Rainwater can seep in places it’s not supposed to, finding its way into your home as a leak.
The lesson here is to clean your gutters. Get on your ladder and dig out the debris so the water can travel freely and away from your home. Yes, it’s a tedious chore, but you can rule out clogged gutters as one of the common causes behind a roof leak, perhaps even preventing one.
For those unfamiliar with the anatomy of a roofing system, flashing are thin pieces of metal installed in tricky places on your roof like corners, around chimneys, or dormers, as well as beneath shingles. The flashing creates a water-resistant barrier. Exposed flashing won’t be covered by anything and will look like the metal sheets that they are, but hidden flashing, like the pieces that go beneath your shingles, will be outfitted with a rubberized coating on its surface.
Exposed flashing is at risk during tumultuous storms and severe weather. If the flashing cracks from falling debris or from prolonged exposure to outer elements, you’ll need to replace it right away because it’s likely the reason why your roof is leaking.
You can have your roofing contractor examine and replace broken flashing or you can do the job yourself. Install new flashing with roofing nails and use the appropriate roofing sealant to secure the sheet to the roof. Remember to routinely check the flashing to ensure there are no leaks.
A good reason to have your chimney inspected is that it can be a common cause behind roof leaks if there’s something wrong inside, or even its exterior. Wear and tear can show along the mud cap or appear as holes in the mortared joints where the chimney meets the roof. Problems can also occur when there’s loose flashing around the chimney or damage shingles nearby.
The mortar used to seal chimneys can erode, especially when there’s harsh weather conditions the chimney has been exposed to. Leaking can occur because of eroded mortar, but lucky for you, this problem can be solved by either applying new mortar down yourself or hiring a chimney professional to do the job for you. Interior problems will require a professional inspection, which you should have done anyway.
For roof leaks, the attic should really be the first place to check. The attic takes the pulse of your roofing system, so if there’s an issue, it’s likely going to show directly beneath the roof in the attic area. Condensation can form inside your attic because the space is trapped between differing temperatures, clashing to form moisture. This can also spur mold or mildew growth as well as produce roof leaks, so when you’re investigating your attic for a potential trouble source, be on the lookout for more than a leak.
A roof is more than meets the eye. A roofing system has layers with multiple working components, so if there’s a leak occurring in one spot, it could mean that the problem area is actually on a different side of the roof. If you run into trouble finding the source of the leak, try looking after a rainstorm. A better idea, call in a roofing professional with a trained eye to find the leak and stop it before it causes expensive damage.
Whenever you’re making improvements to your home, you always want to go with professionals. This is essential to quality, safety and security. But as a customer, don’t be afraid to speak up and trust your gut. Enjoy your home for years to come knowing there’s a solid roof over your head.
At Feldco Roofing, we provide breakthrough design and triple layer protection to keep your roof insulated throughout the year. For a roof replacement, our installers are factory trained, experienced and professional to get the job done correctly. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.