Dangers of a Leaky Roof
Identify the causes and problems that can occur over time if a roof isn’t properly sealed, when it's time for roof repairs and how a roofing contractor can help.
A durable roof is one of the most important infrastructures of a house, right after a strong, sturdy foundation. Just like it’s necessary to fix cracks in a foundation to ensure the rest of a house isn’t affected from the ground up, it’s important to fix leaks in a roof to protect a home from the top down, too. If you suspect you have a leaky roof, a roofing contractor can determine the cause and perform roof repairs, if necessary. To avoid any leaks or other issues from happening in the future, make sure to schedule regular inspections, perform general maintenance and upkeep, and have repairs completed as quickly as possible, since acting quickly could help you save time and money.
Causes and Sources of Leaks
There are a number of reasons why a roof may develop leaks, from both natural and manmade causes. No matter the cause, it's imperative to seek the services of a reliable roofing contractor to get your roof back in its best shape so that your home is protected from the elements.
SHINGLES AND FLASHING
Something as small and simple as a broken shingle could be the culprit of a leak. Severe weather, hail and high winds can cause shingles to become loose, crack and break off, leaving your roof exposed. If the nails used to secure shingles aren't properly sealed with a durable coating like roofing cement, it can leave exposed holes which can allow water and moisture to get into the attic. Broken or cracked flashing—the pieces of material installed under shingles, on joints and around chimneys—can also cause leaks. Both damaged flashing and missing shingles can be easily identified, usually as different, discolored patches or exposed areas on a roof. You may even find pieces of them in your yard after a bad storm.
If you've had previous roof repairs done but if a leak keeps coming back, you've either got a problem with the workmanship of the roofing contractor who did the work or the materials they used (or both). Improperly installing elements such as skylights and chimneys can also cause roof leaks - this can happen from incorrectly measuring and fitting fixtures and/or insulation that's started to decay or disintegrate. Leaks from this kind of problem are generally easy to spot. Just look for wet spots or small streams of water coming out of skylights or running down walls/chimneys when it rains.
PLUMBING AND PIPE PROBLEMS
Pipes run throughout the home including the roof, which means there are a number of areas that are common leak sources related to your home's plumbing and ventilation system. These include plumbing vent pipes, ventilation fan ducts, attic vents and exhaust pipes/flues (for appliances). Anytime there are worn or cracked rubber boots and/or broken flashing around the vent pipes that come out of the roof, it's likely you're in need of repairs.
CONDENSATION AND MOISTURE
Since the attic is usually the least insulated—and the highest elevated—place in your home, it is more prone to mold and mildew growth from excessive moisture that can accumulate when condensation becomes trapped. The cause of the moisture is from wet weather such as rain, sleet, and hail, but also ice dams melting and the fluctuation in temperatures when seasons change. You'll most likely notice a smell—before you see the mold—as a sign of a leak in your roof.
What Can Happen if You Don't Get Roof Repairs
Whether you’re dealing with issues associated with weather and moisture or improperly installed parts, it’s essential to perform any necessary roof leak repairs as soon as possible – not only to fix the problem, but also to prevent any future damage. For example, if you have a moisture issue causing a leak that goes untreated, it could result in mold and mildew growth, which could not only destroy the wood in the attic, but also negatively affect your health.
Every roof experiences some level of wear and tear from all types of weather (sun, rain, hail, extreme heat, wind, etc.). As a home's first line of defense from these elements, it's important to make sure you have a durable, weatherproof roof that's properly sealed and maintained in order to increase the lifecycle of the roof and decrease the risk of damage to it.
The Importance of Roof Repairs
If you have a roof leak, repair it as soon as possible to avoid further damage and to help protect your home from bigger problems such as flooding. Contact a roofing contractor to have a thorough assessment of the roof completed and get advice on what steps you need to take to repair the damage. It’s best to work with a roofing contractor because their expertise is in roofing and they will be able to pinpoint and address your specific needs. Depending on the cause of the damage, your home insurance company may cover the costs of the roof repair, so make sure to contact your insurance company, too.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.