For us Floridians, storms are a part of the metaphorical welcome package when you choose to live here. They happen frequently and are usually nothing to concern ourselves with. However, nothing puts the fear of God into a homeowner faster than discovering a leak during or after one of these rainstorms. Whether the leak is drip, drip, dripping, or gushing into your home, it's safe to say that most people want to know what they should do other than put a bucket and grandma's spaghetti Tupperware under the offending water source or sources.
RoofCrafters has been repairing roof leaks for nearly 30 years, and we know all too well that by the time the homeowner discovers a leak, it has probably been percolating into their home for weeks or months. What’s even more distressing is when a homeowner knows they have a leaky roof but can’t locate the source, which can and will cause more than cosmetic damage to their home.
These pesky leaks can cause everything from water damage and mold to electrical short circuits and fires. If you're ready to get ahead of the roof leak curve and know just what to do if you discover one, it's a good thing you're here. In this article, you'll learn what you need to know about roof leaks, and how you can alleviate your pressing problem quickly. Let's get started!
Why Is My Roof Leaking?
If you visually inspect your roof only to see missing or bent shingles, it isn’t all that difficult to determine where the leak originated. Although, in most cases, determining the source of a roof leak isn’t all that easy. Even in this case, it isn’t necessarily coming from your shingles either. The water could be emanating from the flashing, a leaky skylight, or a corroded vent.
In short, unless you see an obvious source for the leak, sometimes it’s better to start beneath the roof to get a better insight into the origin, which means crawling around in your attic. If you're not up for the job, don't worry; you're local roofing contractor will be happy to oblige. While it won’t necessarily tell them precisely where the leak is, it can definitely help to eliminate where it isn’t. Once they're able to determine the general vicinity of the leak, it will be much easier to track it back to its source from above.
What if I Can't Find the Leak?
Since water always runs downhill, it’s entirely possible that you still may be unable to pinpoint the cause of the leak. If that’s the case, the best thing you can do is to tarp the area where the leak was discovered and call in a professional. Not only will a licensed roofer be able to spot the problem, but he or she will also be able to plug the leak before it does any more damage to your home.
What Could Be Causing the Leak?
One of the most common causes of leaks is clogged gutters. Once gutters get clogged, not only can’t they shed water from your roof when it rains, but they can also cause costly leaks when the water backs up onto the roof. Since shingles are gravity-fed, they will likely back up beneath the gutters when the water can’t run off. When this happens, water will find its way beneath the shingles looking for a way out.
Any crack, crevice, or even the tiniest of holes is all water needs to permeate your home. Since the gutters are located directly above the outer walls, it won’t be long before the water starts to puddle which could cause mold to grow long before the leak is noticed by you. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest leaks to prevent. If you have gutters, make sure you clean them out annually. If you have a lot of leaf litter lying on the roof, this can cause the same problem as clogged gutters. So, make sure you blow twigs and leaf litter off the roof to prevent leaf dams from forming.
Besides clogged gutters, skylights can oftentimes be the culprit, too. A skylight not only lets light into a home, but it can also allow water to penetrate if they are improperly installed or the flashing around them is compromised. If you find your skylight leaks, the simplest way to fix it is to apply a bead of silicone sealer. If that doesn’t do the job, you’ll need to call your roofer to replace the flashing.
When you or your family first detect a leak, most people are only concerned with stopping the immediate source of the problem. This could be a big mistake. Depending on how long the leak went undetected, water could have done serious damage to your home, which could come to haunt the homeowner later. We're talking about some serious paranormal leak-tivity.
What Else Can a Leaky Roof Damage?
Once a leak gets started, it can cause timber to rot or mold to grow between the walls of your home. Left untreated, either of these problems could grow to gargantuan proportions in a few months or years. That’s why every homeowner should take the time to trace a leak from cradle to grave if they don’t want to wind up with a much larger problem down the line. It’s cheaper to fix water damage earlier than later.
What Can I Do to Prevent Leaks?
As Ben Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That goes double when it comes to roof leaks. Instead of waiting for a leak to occur, by performing a little annual maintenance on your roof you can stop leaks from starting. Make sure you clear out your gutters and blow leaf litter off your roof. Climb a ladder every now and then to give your roof the once over. If you don’t want to do it yourself, you can call a local roofer to inspect your roof for free.
They’re better trained than you to spot anything amiss with your roofing system. This will help you keep the rain off your head while helping your roof last longer. If you're concerned about finding the right contractor for the job, we urge you to download the RoofCrafters "Top 10 Most Critical Questions to Ask Your Potential Roofing Contractor". With this checklist, you'll have all of the knowledge of a professional roofer at your fingertips and feel confident when deciding on the company to start your project.
Last but not least, don’t put off replacing a roof that’s long past its prime. Postponing the inevitable will only lead to more damage and a bigger bill in the end. If a roof leak is affecting your home, don't wait a moment longer and schedule an inspection with RoofCrafters today. In the meantime, you can continue learning about roof leak causes and solutions in our learning center, specifically in our article, "What Causes Roof Leaks?"