The 10 Most Common Causes Of Roof Leaks
Whether your home is big or small, the last thing anyone wants is a roof leak. Image Via: Prentiss ArchitectsLets face it: No one wants to have to go running for a drip bucket every time it rains. Not only is having to stay on top of the weather forecast annoying and impractical, but that one small drip symbolizes a larger roofing issue and we all know that roofing issues mean an investment of time and money.
In an effort to save you that investment, weve compiled a list of The 10 Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks. Well tell you what they look like, why they happen, and how to fix them.
Whether your roof is two years old or twenty keep this list handy. You never know when it could mean the difference between doing a quick repair or a major remodel.
Call A Professional Roofer For More Complex Leaks
If the problem is beyond a simple DIY fix or involves extensive structural damage to your roof, call a professional as soon as possible. They will be able to identify the extent of your roof leak and provide repair estimates. Solutions to more complex problems may include:
- Replacing roof flashing
- Installing heat cables
- Total roof replacements
If you do need to replace your roof, an easy disposal solution for all those shingles is a dumpster rental. Youll be able to keep your yard clear of roofing materials and have it all removed in a matter of minutes. After all the hard work is done, take a few minutes to enjoy your cozy, dry home.
Now that youve tackled that leak, why not take care of a few other projects around the house? Check out our Home Improvement & DIY section for how-tos, guides and inspiration for all your home improvement projects.
Top 7 Hacks For Finding Roof Leaks
Its important to locate a roof leak early to avoid more costly repairs in the long run.
But how can you efficiently locate a leak every time?
Finding the source can be challenging because the roof is such a large surface and leaks come in through very small openings.
In this guide Im going to lay out a foolproof plan to locate the source of your leaky roof.
Chapter 1: Where to find the majority of roof leaksChapter 2: How to get to the source of the damaging leakChapter 3: How to search for the source from the insideChapter 4: How to search for the source from the outsideChapter 5: How to isolate the leak for certainChapter 6: How to find the leak in your roof safelyChapter 7: Ways to fix your leaky roof
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How Can I Find A Leak In My Own Roof When Should I Hire A Contractor And When Can I Do It Myself
How do I find a leak in a shingle roof? This post is dedicated to shingles and roofs with a pitch. You can read more about finding leaks in a flat roof on my other post on roof leaks. I never recommend that a homeowner get on their roof, you can cause more damage than you resolve, but you should know what the process is so if your roofer asks to get into your attic you understand why.
Roof leaks can be difficult to trace. If the source of the problem isnt immediately apparent then when possible I would start in the attic. Find where the water is coming into the building. This wont always tell you the source of the problem but it is a start. Rain can get under shingles at a chimney or other flashing and run until it can find a way into the attic and then it might follow a roof truss for a while before it drips down and shows up as a water mark on your ceiling. Rarely are roof leaks directly over the visible damage. If you hire a roofer to fix a leak and he is working at the peak of your roof, when you know the damage inside is many feet away from that spot, dont worry he should know what he is doing.
Water can also enter at the eave edge when gutters are clogged or due to ice damming in the winter. Improper ventilation can create moisture in the attic which, when it meets the cold roof deck might freeze and then rain down when it warms and look like a leak.
Debris In Gutters That Stop Above A Roof
A valley is when two roof slopes meet in a V shape that allows water to flow down a roof freely. When a valley stops in the middle of a roof, it will have a gutter that runs into it so the water can continue flowing down.
The problem is with the fascia, which is the board that runs along the lower edge of the roof that carries all the gutters. When theres no flashing applied to the fascia board, a leak will happen.
This leak wont happen under normal circumstances. It might be under extreme rain, but when that gutter in the valley gets filled with leaves and other debris, itll send water through the path of least resistance.
Once that water gets underneath the soffit , behind the gutter, it can go anywhere it wants, causing all kinds of damage.
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How To Patch A Roof Leak
The hard part about patching a leak in your roof is finding the leak itself. Once youve accomplished that, repairs are often relatively simple.
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to the steady of water, and you discover that the water is coming from a spot on the ceiling and not from any faucet? Chances are you have a leak in your roof. Find a bucket, place it under the drip, and try to go back to sleep. Tomorrow you can investigate.
Checking Ice Dam Leaks
Ice dams form when melting snow from the upper sections of the roof is cooled to ice at the edge of the roof. As more water flows from the upper sections of the roof, the ice dam grows larger with time. Besides exerting unnecessary weight on the roof, the ice dam holds water on the shingles for long periods of time. The water can easily find its way into the roof leading to leaks and eventual rots.
While you can climb into the attic to check the leak from an ice dam, there isnât anything you can do from that angle. The best way is to remove the ice and snow from the roof then check for the area affected by the ice dam and what led to the leak.
In some cases, you might not even find the leak after the ice dam is removed. This is because the leak could be due to the pressure exerted on the roof and not necessarily a broken part of the roof. The weight of the ice may warp some areas or undo a seal letting water into the roof. When the ice is removed, the part may recover its original shape and level of sealing.
In our view, the best way is to remove ice dams as soon as possible since they may lead to the formation of ice on the whole roof. This puts a lot of pressure on the roof with the likelihood that the whole roof could come down.
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How To Fix A Roof Leak From The Inside
If youre asking yourself how to repair a roof leak from inside your home, its probably raining heavily, and youve got an active drip going on right now! Theres no need to fear however, as its often quite simple to temporarily repair a roof leak whilst indoors, to give yourself time to carry out a more permanent repair when the weather is dry. Often, youll need to locate the roof leak, find a way to divert the water, and seal any gaps inside.
Learn More: How to Fix a Leaking Roof From the Inside
The Dangers Of Roof Leaks
If youre dealing with a roof leak, its essential to get it sorted as soon as possible. Otherwise, that little drip, drip, drip, or a shadow on the ceiling could quickly become major issues. These can rapidly deteriorate and become not only difficult but expensive to repair.
If left unchecked, structural timbers, insulation, and floorboards can become damp, followed by mould growth and rotting timbers. A leaky roof can also become a fire hazard if the water gets near any sources of electricity. Not only could this cause a short-circuit and potential house-fire, but it will also drastically reduce the effectiveness of any fire-resistant insulation you have installed.
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Ways To Prevent A Leaking Roof
- Written by Samuel Muriithi on Jul 15, 2009To ensure our content is always up-to-date with current information, best practices, and professional advice, articles are routinely reviewed by industry experts with years of hands-on experience.Reviewed by
A leaking roof is the last thing that you need especially on a rainy night. Fortunately, you can prevent a leaky roof by following these simple steps, all aimed at taking care of the situation beforehand.
1. Check out the Most Likely Roof Leak Spots
The most likely places where you will get a roof leak are the chimney, plumbing vent flashing, ice dams, skylights, wall step flashings, furnace shingles, fields of shingles and missing shingles. It may be difficult for you to identify the problematic area in the absence of rain or snow and therefore you may have to do the identification during wet weather.
Apart from these leak hot spots, your roof may leak because it simply because it is worn out and needs a complete overhaul.
Most leak spots are never directly above the location where the dripping occurs on the ceiling. For this reason, locating the exact spot may require you to start in the attic. Here, you can locate a spot that lets in the suns rays or alternatively you can have someone water the roof so that you can identify where the dripping goes through. Following leak stains is another way to find leak spots. Leak stains will normally be observed around skylights, chimneys, and vents.
How To Repair A Leak In The Membrane
To repair a big leak in the membrane, youll need EPDM or a similar material that matches the membrane on your roof, some rubber-to-rubber contact cement, acetone, a paint roller, a utility knife, a paintbrush, roof sealant, and a caulk gun.
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When Should You Call A Roofing Contractor To Repair Your Roof
As soon as you notice the leak. The quicker you get the leak looked at the better.
You have no idea what hidden damage is being done. If you have one leak, then chances are another potential problem is about to show up somewhere else.
The entire roof should be inspected when a roofer comes to take a look at the leak.
Before You Look For The Roof Leak
When you have a roof leak, your first priority should be to limit the flow of the water. Place a bucket beneath the water to catch it and prevent further damage.
If the constant drip-drop of water is annoying, you can place a small board of wood in the bucket and position it so the water hits the wood and then rolls off into the bucket. Water hitting wood makes less noise.
Then, move anything that could be damaged by water or by a possible ceiling collapse out of the room. Consider moving rugs, furniture, personal items and other objects. Keep them out until youve had a roofer fix the leak.
You may read guides that suggest you should now puncture the ceiling where the drip is coming from to allow the water buildup there to leak out. You should not do this without professional guidance. You have no way of knowing how much water is up there, what you might damage by puncturing the ceiling or how much of the ceiling may come down if you damage it, particularly if the leak is severe. Instead, call a professional roofer. He or she will let you know if its wise to relieve the water pressure. Please also bear in mind that the ceiling may collapse spontaneously if the water damage is pronounced.
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Water Leaks From Ceiling
Replacing Asphalt Shingles: A Few Vs Many
When there are more than a few damaged shingles in a roof section for example, if a hailstorm devastates the west side of your roof or a large tree limb crashes down on it you might be better off replacing the entire section, and this calculator will help you determine how much material youll need.
And here is how to measure the roof, in case you have multiple sections requiring a complete replacement:
Here are a couple guidelines:
- If the shingles are more than 15 years old, theyll need replacing in the next five years anyway.
- If more than 25% to 40% of the shingles are damaged, depending on how they are grouped, replacing an entire section or getting a complete replacement will probably take less time and cost less than replacing individual shingles.
Lets talk about hiring a roofing contractor for the repairs. There is a tipping point when replacing an entire section is the cost-effective choice over replacing just the damaged shingles.
The cost of asphalt shingle repair is $10.00 to $15.00 per square foot when just damaged shingles are replaced. Plus, the roofing contractor will have a minimum service fee of at least $250, and a fee of $400 isnt out of the question.
The exact cost of asphalt shingle replacement depends on the pattern of the damage:
via Pioneer Roofers
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You Have Broken Shingles
What Does It Look Like: Look up! This one is easy to spot. Since shingles are the exterior layer of a roof, you should be able to identify missing shingles by seeing different-colored patches on your roof. Alternatively, you may find the shingles themselves littering your yard after a heavy storm.
Why It Happens: Again, weather. High winds and heavy rains.
How To Fix It: : Slide a pry bar underneath the row of nails that connects the damage shingle to the one below it. Lift up until the nail pops and then press down on the shingle while you remove the nail. Repeat for the remaining nails. Pull out the damaged shingle, replace it with a new one, and secure it with four new nails.
Roof Leak Warning Signs Outside
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