10 Most Common Causes Of Roof Leaks And How To Identify Them
Let's face the facts. One of the biggest headaches any homeowner can face is a leaky roof. Nobody wants to run for a bucket every time it rains and replacing your whole roof is not always the best option. Our trained staff at Sawyer Construction & Roofing is specially equipped to evaluate any potential issues you may be having with your roof. One small drip can be an indicator of a larger roofing problem - and every homeowner knows that means time and money.
Not every leak requires a whole roof replacement to fix either. In an effort to save your investment we have compiled a list of the 10 most common causes of roof leaks and how to identify them. When leaks such as the ones listed occur they can often be fixed without having to replace your whole roof.
Whether your roof is brand new or 15 years old, you should keep this list at hand. Identifying these problems early can mean the difference between a small repair and a large remodel.
1. The Flashing Is Cracked
Identifying the issue: Flashing are thin layers of metal that are installed under the shingles and joints of your roof. These can either be concealed or exposed. Broken flashing usually features large cracks
Identifying the cause: Often times tar is used to seal the flashing on your roof. Over time this tar breaks down exposing portions of your flashing. Weather and exposure to the sun causes the metal to dry out and crack.
2. The Attic Vent Booting Is Cracked
Identifying the issue: Roof vents look like small domes or pipes sticking out of your roof. They are used primarily to expel moisture from your attic. You can identify if there is a leak by checking for dark spots or musty odors in your roof or attic.
Identifying the cause: These are often sealed with flashing around the opening and covered by a tight rubber boot around where the pipe sticks out of the roof. Over time this rubber sealing can crack and decay causing small or even large leaks.
3. The Valleys Aren't Properly Sealed
Identifying the issue: A Valley is any point in which two different planes of your roof meet. Since these areas are usually sloped, if they are not sealed properly rainwater can get inside as it runs down the roof. Search for wet spots along the seams of your roof to identify leaks.
Identifying the cause: There are many reasons that can cause this area to leak. Not having been sealed properly when your roof was installed is one of the more common occurrences. Though weather and exposure to the sun can cause the sealing to deteriorate over time.
4. The Skylights Aren't Properly Installed
Identifying the issue: Leaks such as this should be super easy to spot. If there is consistently a pool of water or small drips coming from the area surrounding the skylight, there may be a leak. However, leaks occurring near the highest point can be a flashing issue rather than a sealing issue.
Identifying the cause: There are two main causes for this. Improper measurement when cutting the holes for the skylight, and the deterioration of the flashing and sealant around the window.
5. The Gutters Are Clogged
Identifying the issue: Usually you can identify this when water pours over the side of your gutters rather than following its intended path. Another way to identify this is to check your downspouts when it is raining. If there is little to no water being expelled the downspout may be clogged.
Identifying the cause: Living in an area with large trees is usually the main culprit. You may need to regularly check and clean your gutters if this is the case.
6. The Chimney Is Cracked
Identifying the issue: Most of the time you can look for signs of wear and tear along the mortar or flashing where the chimney meets the roof. Damaged shingles and dark spots can occur where the chimney is leaking.
Identifying the cause: Weather is the main culprit here. When the mortar, which is just a mixture of mud and water, deteriorates due to overexposure to the sun and elements leaks and cracks can occur.
7. There Are Broken Or Deteriorating Shingles
Identifying the issue: By regularly looking at your roof for large changes in color and missing shingles you can identify this easily. Often times a broken shingle will appear as a slightly off color or lighter spot on your roof.
Identifying the cause: Weather is one of the leading causes of this. Strong storms and winds can crack and break shingles off of your roof.
8. There Is Buildup On The Roof
Identifying the issue: If there are leaves or other materials blocking valleys and joints in your roof water can pool causing the sealant to deteriorate and cause leaks.
Identifying the cause: Weather and clogged gutters can be a cause for this.
9. There's Condensation In The Attic
Identifying the issue:The space will most likely show signs of mold and mildew. A strong, musty odor coming from the attic is also an indicator that water has made its way inside.
Identifying the cause: Your attic is the highest point in your home and often the warmest during the summer months. Warm and damp conditions can cause mold and mildew to grow if there is a leak. This is a serious problem and should be fixed by a professional team.
10. You're Using It Too Much
Identifying the issue: Weak or spongey points in your roof can occur if you use your roof too often. Walking on and doing maintenance while standing on your roof can cause cracks to occur.
Identifying the cause: Usually it is best to stay off of your roof as often as possible. Not only can you fall but small cracks and damage can occur while you are up there. You often won't notice the damage until it starts to cause other leaks and issues.