Let me give you a clear and easy answer! To fix a roof leak, you need to know what’s causing it. The course of action after that is very obvious and easy. But leak detection is the toughest part.
Common causes of roof leaks
1. Cracked Flashing: Flashing is the substance that’s underneath the shingles and protects your roof against sunlight and moisture. Most of the roofers use tar to put the flashing in place. Tar degrades with time, and once it’s gone, the flashing stays exposed causing it to get cracks. These cracks lead to the leaks.
2. Missing shingles: Unlike flashing, shingles make the exterior of the roof and can be easily spotted. After a massive storm, you must look at your roof, and you will be able to tell if there are any missing shingles. It’s pretty easy to replace them then onwards.
3. Damaged valleys: Valleys are the areas on your roof where two planes connect. It’s obviously a slanted part which is tricky to put in place. It’s crucial to seal the valleys properly else they can cause a leak. Take a look at the seams of your roof. Do they seem wet? If yes, it’s because of damaged valleys. These can be damaged due to improper sealing (quite common in newly built properties prepared in a hurry), heavy ice or rains, or stepping on the valleys causing them damage.
4. Damaged vent boots: A vent boot is a protective cover for the area of the roof where the pipes come out. The only purpose of vent boots is to prevent leaks. Imagine if it’s damaged! It will obviously cause a roof leak. Replacing a damaged vent boot is a relatively easy way to fix roof leaks (if they’re the reason behind it).
5. Ice dams or just lots of ice on the roof: Depending on the age of the roof and the strength of the material used, your roof can withstand a particular amount of pressure of the ice. If the weight goes beyond it, there will be consequences. If you live in an area that receives heavy snowfall, invest in a roof rake so that you can remove as much ice as possible while keeping yourself safe.
To understand why ice dams happen, you need to think about what happens to the snow. The heat from your house’s interior causes the snow just above the roof to melt. But it is possible that before the melted water leaves the roof, it freezes again resulting in ice dams.
Such ice dams are one of the leading causes of roof leaks in winter. They exist at the most vulnerable section of the roof after the valleys and can cause significant damage. The way to prevent it is to use an ice melting chemical to melt the ice dams quickly.
6. Skylights: Some people call these a necessary evil. In some situations, they are necessary and sometimes the homeowner requests for them, but it’s better if they’re avoided altogether. Skylights can cause roof leaks if they’re improperly installed or lose their insulation (which they will over a period). If you see the water dripping just near the skylights, you know what to fix. In rare cases, it may be possible that the leak near the skylights is because of damaged flashing. Keep that in mind.
7. Clogged Gutters: Gutter cleaning is often considered an essential fall activity and it makes sense to invest in gutter cleaning as they may cause major expenditure in winter. Clogged gutters directly induce roof leaks along the sides of your roof. So, if you see the leaves popping out of the gutters, it’s not good for your roof. These also block the water from leaving your roof, making it stay and cause further damage to the roofing materials.
8. Cracked chimney: You must notice the pattern that in the case of skylights, vent boots, and chimney, it’s the wear and tear that causes all the trouble. The sealing agent withers away with time and then it lets the water into your roof. A chimney is put in place and sealed using mortar. It’s most susceptible to wear and tear due to changing weathers, and after a point of time, it will break if you don’t go for timely repair.
9. Mold issues in the attic: It may not always be the roof that’s causing you all that trouble. If there’s foul smell coming from your roof, it’s probably because of the condensation in the attic. The moisture level inside the attic grows due to the pressure of cold temperature from outside and hot from the inside, resulting in mold. You will need to control the mold as a measure to fix the issue.
10. Damage caused to the roof by humans: Do you jump onto your roof every time a Frisbee gets stuck? You know what, your dog can easily do with a new Frisbee. What you do to get the old one back can damage your roof. The roofing material is quite fragile and comes off if someone isn’t careful. Most of the times, it’s the shingles which are also significant contributors to roof leaks around the country. But you never know what damage you do to your roof unknowingly. Moreover, it’s dangerous to venture out on your roof without safety equipment or expertise. Don’t do it.
Locating the source of roof leaks
While talking about all the possible causes of roof leaks, there’s one thing that has been hovering in my mind – the importance of locating the source of the leak. Anyone of these can be the reason why your roof is leaking, or it could be more than one reasons but unless you find the cause of a leak, you shouldn’t think of any roof repair.
A careful analysis is required to locate the cause, and then you should decide the course of action to get it fixed.
I would suggest you hire a professional roof repair service to help you detect the cause of the leak and fix it. Choose the company wisely if you want to avoid unnecessary costs. Do check our tips on how to hire a good roof repair service near you. They’ll help.
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