3 Common Causes Of A Leaky Roof & How To Detect Leaks Early

3 Common Causes Of A Leaky Roof & How To Detect Leaks Early

A leaky roof is so much more than a mere nuisance. It can cause severe structural damage, impact your health, and raise the risk of a house fire. But the most challenging part of fixing a leak is finding the problem and its source. Sure, it’s easy to spot actual water drips or brown spots on the ceiling, but once water has penetrated the roof, it can divert and move sideways along the rafters.

As such, it’s essential to do some detective work and find leaks as early as possible. 

3 Common Causes of Roof Leaks

1. Adverse Weather

Adverse weather conditions can bring double doses of damage to a roof. Whether it’s severe heat, freezing temperatures, windstorms, hurricanes, heavy rain, or hail, your roof will suffer weather-related damage.

Consistently high temperatures will cause weak spots, cracks, or curling shingles. Heavy rain and storms can make your roof more susceptible to water damage, especially if it already has weak spots or cracks. High winds can displace your shingles and/or shift them out of place. Leaks happen when there are weak spots on the roof.

2. Age and Lack of Maintenance

In some cases, the primary cause of a leaky roof is simply that the materials have reached the end of their expected lifespan. Over time, your shingles will dry out, break, curl, crack, or lose their granules, making them susceptible to water ingress.

Neglect and poor maintenance can also result in a leaking roof. For example, failing to scrap off heavy snow and ice can crack the roof and cause leakages. Clogged gutters can slow the water flowing off the roof, giving it enough time to enter cracks and weak spots in your roof space. 

Leaving your roof unattended to or putting off repairs for an extended period only allows minor issues to balloon into significant problems that necessitate extensive repairs, a full reroof, or worse, structural work.

3. Incorrect Installation

Roofing leaves very little room for error when it comes to installation. Pop-up roofing companies prevalent after storms or inexperienced installers will perform subpar work, often not apparent until the bill is paid. Improper shingle nailing, using the wrong amount of shingles, choosing the wrong material for your roof’s pitch, or failing to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines will increase the risk of water leaks.

What To Do If Your Roof is Leaking

If not addressed promptly, a leaky roof can lead to expensive repairs or the need for a complete roof replacement. If you find your roof is leaking, minimize any potential water damage by:

  • Containing the water
  • Moving your items out of the way
  • Relieving water pressure
  • Tarping the roof
  • Call a roofing company

A local roofing contractor will thoroughly inspect your roof, identify the source of the leak, and determine if you need a repair or complete roof replacement. Remember, finding a roofing contractor who provides exceptional services and quality repairs is crucial. 

A good roofing contractor is:

  • Licensed in your area
  • Experienced
  • Insured and bonded
  • Willing to write an estimate

You want a roofer who is passionate about their trade, uses quality materials, and focuses on the details. They should have excellent communication and warranties.

How to Spot a Roof Leak

A leaky roof can cause serious damage to your home, so it’s important to detect leaks early and fix them immediately. A simple roof inspection from the ground (never go on the roof or ladder) and from the attic can help you identify signs of a roof leak and its potential causes.

What to Look for From the Inside

  • Actual water dripping: Do you see brown, yellow, or faint stains on your ceiling or walls? A roof leak is likely to blame. Even if that leak seems to go away, you should get it checked to ensure it doesn’t get worse. You may have an ice dam caused by the thawing and freezing of snow and ice.
  • Unexplained spots: If you notice unexplained spots on your ceiling or walls, you definitely have a leaky roof. These spots are usually brown or yellow, with faint rings around the edges. 
  • Mold on your ceiling or walls: A leaky roof provides the ideal environment for growing mold. Mold can infest many parts of the home, causing structural damage and many health problems. Mold can cause a musty smell which intensifies when the weather is damp.
  • Soft drywall or ceiling: A roof leak can often cause ceilings and walls to appear swollen. Softening occurs when the backside of the ceiling or drywall becomes soaked. If areas of your wall buckle or become depressed when pressed against, you have experienced unseen water damage.
  • Your home feels damp: Given enough time, a roof leak could make your home feel damp, especially during rainfall.

What to Look from the Outside

  • Missing or damaged shingles: A roof with missing, cracked, or damaged shingles are more prone to leaking, even though you don’t see actual water dripping inside your home. When water enters through the shingles, it can travel throughout your home before showing any visible leak signs.
  • Exposed flashing: Flashing is a metal strip installed on the corners and joints in your roof to prevent water entry. Cracked, loose, or split pieces of flashing will allow water to get inside your attic.
  • Boots around vent pipes not intact: If your plumbing vent boot is torn, cracked, or rotted, water can travel outside the pipe and work its way into your house. 
  • Gutters pulling away from the house: If pine needles, leaves, debris, and other materials collect within your gutters for an extended period, they can weigh it down and cause it to pull away from the soffit. When gutters become clogged by debris, water will back up into the roof and then trickle into the roof cavity and onto the decking beneath.
  • Moss growing on your roof: Moss can obstruct the natural flow of water down the roof. Moss is also known for sucking up water like a sponge, which can translate to leakage problems. 

If you notice signs of roof leaks, simply get in touch with the roofing experts at Quantum Roofing. We can locate leaks and effectively repair them to ensure your home is protected for the long haul. We offer a great mix of quality, reliability, and customer service to homeowners in North Caroline, South Carolina, and Tennessee. For more information, contact us today!

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