Is a Small Roof Leak Serious?
March , 2023 | 8 min. read
By David Toth
We all can agree that a roof leak is one of the worst things to stumble upon. Maybe not as bad as a raccoon with rabies in your garage, but still bad. A visible leak that’s large enough to allow water to pour into your house and call for all the pots and buckets you own is something that most homeowners immediately address, many people leave the smaller ones as is.
Why? It’s a simple concept. Out of sight, out of mind. That’s all fine and dandy until the small crack you found in your attic above your Christmas decorations that you decided to leave be in January has now flooded your house in March.
Trust me, the experts at RoofCrafters have been repairing roof leaks for nearly 30 years, so we’ve just about seen it all. All of this being said, any sort of roof leak is bad. Even the smallest of leaks are cause for concern, and you’re going to want to have that taken care of as soon as possible.
If you’re reading this article, you’ve probably recently found a small leak, and you’re wondering how bad it is, and what the next steps are. Fear not, you’re in the right place! In this blog post, you’ll learn all about the seriousness of small leaks, how you can spot them, and how you can prevent them.
How Serious is a Small Roof Leak?
Originating from the attic, if left unattended a leak can damage the items you have stored there. So long, dancing Santa figurine. Over time, the leak grows and erodes the wood leading to a more significant leak. Any lights mounted on the roof and any wiring may get affected. The water can damage your paint and cause discoloration, too. More damage happens over time as water continues to seep into your home, wreaking havoc on attic insulation and causing mold growth. Yuck.
Arguably, a small roof leak is worse than a bigger one. A small leak is challenging to identify and can cause a lot of damage if left undiagnosed. By the time you spot a small roof leak, often it has already caused much more wood rot or other structural damage than meets the naked eye.
Roof leaks can also cause electrical fires and encourage pests to enter your home, which can impede your quality of life and damage your property. Here are some of the most common ways you can spot a small roof leak:
- Rusted nails. An obvious sign of a leaky roof is moisture. If the nails in your attic’s ceiling are rusting, water has seeped in due to a roof leak.
- Ceiling spots. If you notice spots or uneven textures on the ceiling, contact a roofer immediately because this shows that water may have seeped in from the roof. In extreme cases, this leads to water bubbles in the ceiling, sagging, or in worst cases eroding it to the point that sunlight shines through.
- Pests. Going up into your attic and finding a horde of insects or a bird’s nest is not normal. Ensure that all your windows’ seals are intact, and then call a roofer for an inspection to find any problems in the roof’s structure.
- Mold. Damp places unexposed to sunlight are perfect for mold growth, making your attic and ceiling the ideal breeding ground. Allergic reactions for many people accompany the musty smell of mold. Not only can mold cause health issues, but it also is detrimental to your home’s structure.
What Happens if You Don’t Fix a Small Roof Leak?
So many people have the thought process that starts with them asking, “Is a small roof leak bad?” And it ends with them saying, “Well, it hasn’t really caused any visible damage, so I’ll get to it later.” A small roof leak becomes a big one if left unrepaired, eventually causing water to flood your house during a rainstorm and potential electric shocks, fires, and serious structural damage.
Furthermore, water damages most furniture, clothing, and electrical appliances. Insurance won’t cover you for any damage caused by a leaky roof if you neglected it when the leak was small. We suppose it’s a matter of opinion, but coming from the experts, we say that a small leak is pretty bad, and it needs to be addressed immediately.
How Do You Prevent Leaks?
Preventing roof leaks is pretty simple and saves you money in the long run. To simplify, we can say that avoiding roof leaks generally comes down to proper roof maintenance. While factors such as heavy storms can damage your roof, the most common roof leaks we repair are preventable.
Invest in a Great Roofing Contractor
It may seem like a bad financial decision to invest in a great roofer when others seemingly get the job done at a lower cost. However, roofers charge according to their experience and skill level. 86% of roof leaks are caused by improper installation, so it’s extremely important that you invest in a professional roofing contractor, and neglect the idea of a DIY project. Even if the job seems like something you can do on your own, it isn’t worth experimenting and racking up more expensive repair costs, for which you’ll have to contact a roofer anyway.
Conduct Proper Maintenance
Always hire a roofer to conduct maintenance bi-annually to prevent the most common problems from occurring and damaging your home. Remember that doing this allows you to remain covered for accidental damages by your insurance company.
Your roof is exposed to the elements, so make sure that you clear up any debris accumulated on it. This additional weight puts excess strain that can damage the roof. Check for any trees or overhanging branches near your roof that can potentially break and damage it. If you find any, prune them.
Frequently inspect for any wear and tear that may damage your roof, such as damaged or missing shingles or cracks in the roof. If you come across any damage, immediately contact a roofer to repair it and prevent further damage. Keep your roof gutters clean, inspect for cracks and rust, and ensure that your vents are in good condition.
Replace Your Roof on Time
Most roofs have an expected life of around 15-20 years, after which you should be planning to have a full roof replacement. While premium roofing materials like metal can last up to a century, they do require a more significant upfront investment. Insurance offers limited or no coverage for roofs older than 15-20 years, so if your roof leaks or collapses beyond that, you might be liable for the damages.
Should I Repair a Leak Even If It’s Small?
Yes, you should absolutely repair a leak even if it’s small. On the surface, the leak only shows you what it wants you to see. Behind the scenes is a whole different story. So, if you want to hold onto that electric dancing Santa for as long as possible, and keep grandmas recliner from water stains, get that roof leak fixed.
That being said, if you thought “hey, that sounds like my home!” to any of the tell-tale signs mentioned above, there’s a pretty good chance that you have a roof leak. If you’re unsure, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Nip this potential problem in the bud and call a professional roofing contractor to come out and have a look at your roof.
Now that you have a pretty good idea of what a roof leak looks like and what some of the warning signs are, you should be feeling confident about your next steps. When you’re ready to schedule your inspection, go ahead and drop RoofCrafters a line on our contact us page. One of our friendly experts will be in touch with you shortly. If you’re not quite ready to schedule an inspection, feel free to browse through the extensive resources available to you in our learning center.
Our professionals here at RoofCrafters can help with a small roof leak or provide options for your yearly maintenance inspections. Go ahead and drop us a line on our contact page, and one of our friendly experts will reach out to you as soon as possible. If you’re not quite there yet, feel free to browse the extensive resources in our learning center and immerse yourself in all things roof leaks. You know, if that’s your thing.
My name is David Toth and I am the lead estimator in North Florida with RoofCrafters Roofing. Originally from New Brunswick, I have called Florida home for the past 47 years. I enjoy cooking along with traveling to different historical areas in Florida when I have free time.