Top 10 Causes Of Roof Leaks

A roof repairman doing maintenacne.

Whether you have a small or large house, the last thing you want is to have a leaking roof.

No one wants to run around searching for a bucket each time it starts to rain. It is not only impractical and annoying having to constantly stay up to date on the latest weather forecast, but even one small drop is a sign of a much bigger roofing problem – and we all understand that roofing problems can mean having to make significant investments in terms of both money and time.

To help save you from making those major investments, we have put together a list of the top 10 things that cause roof leaks. In this article, we will be discussing why they occur, what they look like, and how to solve them. Keep the list on hand, whether your roof is twenty or two years old. It could make the difference between having to do a major remodel or a quick repair.

If you have a roof leak, call Anderson Metals Roofing and Shingles at (864) 712-4088 for your Free Quote.

You Have Cracked Flashing

What It Looks Like: Flashing is the thin pieces of metal installed on the joints of the roof and under the shingles to provide a water-resistant barrier. It can be exposed or concealed. If it is exposed, the flashing will look like long sheet metal runs. If it is concealed, there will be a rubberized coating on top of the flashing. There will be large cracks when the flashing is broken.

Why It Happens: Tar is often used by roofers to seal the flashing. Over time, it can corrode. If your flashing is exposed, then weather elements such as rain and wind can cause it to crack.

A roof technician working on a roof.

Top 10 Causes Of Roof LeaksYour Roof Has Broken Shingles

What It Looks Like: You should be able to easily spot this problem. Just look up! Since the outer layer of your roof is made up of shingles, you should be able to spot missing shingles by the different-colored patches that appear on your roof. Or you might find your yard littered with shingles following a strong storm in the area.

Why It Happens: Bad weather. Heavy rains and high winds.

The Valleys Are Not Sealed Properly

What It Looks Like: The valley is the place where two roof planes are joined. Since those parts of the roof are normally sloped, rainwater can make its ways inside and then run down the roof if the valleys are not properly sealed together. You can detect this problem by looking for wet spots running along the roof seams.

Why It Happens: For various reasons – over time, an excessive amount of ice and rain might have caused it to erode, it might have cracked when it was stepped on, or the sealing might not have been done correctly, to begin with.

You Have Cracked Vent Booting

What It Looks Like: The vents on your roof resemble small pipes that stick out of the top part of your roof. The roof vents expel the excess moisture coming from inside of your house. If there are leaks in the area, it can leave dark spots, along with mustiness.

Why It Happens: Quite often roof vents are seals by putting some flashing around the vent’s opening and then placing a rubber boot tightly around the pace where the pipe sticks out on the roof. The roof may decay or the flashing may break over time.

There Is An Ice Dam Buildup On Your Roof

What It Looks Like: Ice dams refer to pieces of ice that buildup on the edge of the roof. This prevents the water from melting snow to drain off the roof. The combined weight of the water sitting on the surface of the roof and the ice can damage your roof.

Why It Happens: When the heat in the attic (along with the rest of your home) is above freezing it will cause some of the snow to melt, in spite of the cold outside temperatures. Then the water will in between the surface of the roof and after the snow hits the exterior edge of the roof it will refreeze.

Your Skylights Were Installed Improperly

What It Looks Like: It should be very easy to spot leaks coming from this type of problem. If you notice wet spots or have to put down buckets to catch drips coming from the sides of the skylights constantly, then that is the cause. However, wet spots or leaks close to the top of the skylight might be a problem with the flashing.

Why It Happens: This kind of leak has two main causes: decayed insulation along the edges of the skylights and improperly fitting and measuring the skylights during the installation process.

You Have Clogged Gutters

What It Looks Like: When you look up at your roof you might see leaves sticking out of your gutters. However, either way, you should see a lack of water coming out of the downspout when it rains.

Why It Happens: The gutters are intended to guide water away from your roof. When they become clogged due to a blockage, the water stops moving. That will cause the rainwater to pool in an area on your roof and potentially seek through cracks into your home.

Your Chimney Is Cracked

What It Looks Like: You can look for any signs of wear or damage along the mortared part of the top of your chimney or around its mud cap. Also, look to see if the mortared joints have any holes at the points where the chimney connects to the roof. Check for loose shingles and flashing around the chimney.

Why It Happens: Basically mortar is a thick mixture of cement, sand, and water. During harsh weather conditions, it erodes quite easily.

Your Attic Contains Condensation

What It Looks Like: Most likely a leak is coming from the attic when there are signs of mildew or mold growth. A musty, strong odor that is coming from the attic also is a sign that water has made its way inside.

Why It Happens: The attic is in the uppermost area of your house, so it is trapped between outdoor and indoor temperatures. When those two things clash – such as during cold winters and hot summers – condensation will form and be followed by moisture.

You Are Using Your Roof Too Much

What It Looks Like: There is no good way to distinguish whether this is causing a leak or not. However, homeowners do need to be careful to not go out onto their roofs too much.

Why It Happens: Many roofing materials are quite fragile. You could accidentally step on a critical element or cause a precarious seal to crack.

Whether you have a fancy green rooftop, new roof, or old roof, you cannot avoid wear and tear. There are going to be heavy winds, long winters, and rainstorms. However, when it comes to roof leaks that is an entirely different story. With the proper care and maintenance, all roofs should be able to keep your family dry and warm for many decades.

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