Even minor roof leaks can lead to serious damage requiring thousands of dollars in repairs. The faster you find a leak, the better your chances of avoiding costly rot or mold damage. Here’s the best way to find a roof leak before it’s too late.
What Causes Roof Leaks?
While general aging is one of the biggest causes of roof leaks, there are a variety of other factors which can lead to problems. Among the most common include:
- Improperly sealed roof vents
- Shallow roof slopes, which allow wind to lift shingles and force rain underneath
- Improper maintenance that leads to debris buildup in gutters
- Failing to protect the ridge cap, while using rope and harness systems
- Poor design allowing upper roof gutters to drain directly onto lower roof sections
Why it’s a Problem
Even a slow leak can promote wood rot and mold infestation. Over time, these issues may result in serious damage that can prove surprisingly costly. Many homeowners are shocked to learn that mold remediation costs can easily soar into the thousands depending on the severity of the problem. At bare minimum, your life will be seriously disrupted while crews clean out the mold. You are also likely to endure a major hit to your bank account especially if the leak has gone unnoticed for some time.
Locating a Leak
Roof leaks can be tricky to locate since water doesn’t always express itself at the original point of entry. Once water enters roofing, it may flow along roof rafters, sheeting, or the top side of ceilings until it finally reaches a point where gravity causes it to drop down over carpet or furniture. Unfortunately, without shrinking yourself small enough to track down a leak in reverse, you’ll have to do a little guesswork.
To find the source of a leak, it helps to know where they are most likely to start. Water often enters through broken, worn or missing shingles, where nails have come loose or corroded. More often than not, however, roof leaks happen at flashings, which are often installed incorrectly. They can also result from using inappropriate sealants that may break down in UV light or because of harsh weather. Leaks can also occur around skylights, vents, chimneys or at the intersections of roof planes.
A thorough visual inspection is often enough to expose the source of a roof leak. In other instances, you may need to trace wet spots or water stains up the rafters, roof decking or attic until you reach their highest points. If you are able to see the source of the leak, it shouldn’t take long to repair the problem. If the source remains hidden, however, your best bet is to track it to a general area and perform a little trial and error.
Repairing a Roof Leak
Once you find the source of a roof leak, repairs could be relatively easy. It might take little more than a new piece of metal flashing to cover a hole. If shingles are missing, cracked or rotten, you should replace them. You can also re-secure curled-back shingles using asphalt roofing cement.
Whatever the repair solution, it’s important to determine if a design or structural element will continue to cause problems in the future. If so, you can usually remedy the problem by adjusting your gutters and downspouts. That said, if your roof has sprung a leak, it’s best to schedule a thorough inspection with a reputable roofing contractor to make sure there are no other lingering problems you may not have noticed.
Other Roof Issues
These days, builders commonly design new homes to concentrate rainwater from several roof surfaces to a single small area. Unfortunately, this can significantly increase the chances of foundation and basement water issues. You can mitigate this risk by strategically installing gutters and downspouts.
Getting Expert Help
Anytime you suspect a roof leak, it’s best to get help from a reputable contractor such as A to Z Roofing. For decades, A to Z has been Colorado’s most trusted name in residential roofing, restoration and repair. Locally owned and operated, we’ve worked continuously throughout the Denver metro area and the Front Range for more than 20 years, serving the needs of homeowners and local commercial businesses. Contact our attentive team of expert professionals to learn how we can repair, restore or replace your damaged or aging roof, and get a free estimate on your next roofing project.
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