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Roof Leaks

Why Does My Roof Only Leak Sometimes?

September , 2022 | 11 min. read

By Cassie Findley

RoofCrafters team replacing a roof
Picture this: It's Friday morning, it's been a great week, and the weather has been perfect. Every day, you've been able to enjoy your morning coffee on your lanai and soak up the sunshine. You can see storm clouds starting to form in the distance, but you think nothing of it. After a long day at work, you drive home in the pouring rain only to have the realization that your roof is probably leaking. Again.

Low and behold, you return home to find water flowing in through cracks in the ceiling in the living room, and your furniture and belongings are soaked. After a stressful few days of flood cleanup and temporary roof repairs, it's suddenly Monday again, and it's sunny. You're busy at work, so you put off your roof leak repair yet again, and forget about it until the next rainstorm. Do you see the trend here?

Listen, we get it. When your roof only leaks sometimes, it's easy to forget about repairing it on the days it's not causing problems. Or, maybe a roof repair is simply not in your budget right. Or maybe,  you just don't want roofing contractors in your home. We get it! RoofCrafters has been helping out homeowners like you for nearly 30 years, and we believe that these are all valid reasons.

However, we also believe that a stable roof that provides you, your family, and your belongings optimal shelter and safety is equally important. If you're wondering why your roof is only leaking sometimes, and you're looking for professional help, we've got you covered. In this article, you'll learn about the different components that cause intermittent roof leaks, and how these problems can get fixed. 

Why Does My Roof Only Leak Sometimes?

Inconsistent roof leaks generally occur during severe weather conditions. While your roof might be waterproof against regular rain, roof damage or installation errors oftentimes can affect its ability to keep water out from certain roof areas.

These leaks might be visible several days into a heavy storm or never happen under similar conditions. You should always look out for water entering your home during heavy rain regardless so that you know what's happening. There are a few different instances when you might experience a roof leak, such as:

Horizontal Rain Causes Leaks

During rain and strong winds, you might have experienced rain that flies parallel to the ground. Since asphalt shingles are only designed to repel water falling perpendicularly, horizontal rain, or wind-driven rain can seep between the shingles and or make its way behind the roof-to-wall or roof-to-chimney flashing.

This water will eventually seep through, even well after it has stopped raining. The reason that this happens is that the water takes much longer to travel under the roofing material through your attic, then through your insulation, and finally hitting the sheetrock where you are able to see the water damage.


Man being drenched by roof leak while trying to read newsHeavy Rain Causes Leaks

You might have experienced a roof leak at times of heavy rain if you haven’t conducted proper maintenance. Having leaves and debris build up in your valleys or around chimneys, skylights or any other penetrations can create water dams, allowing water to back up in heavy rains. If your gutters are clogged and can’t drain the water fast enough, water can also back up on the roof and cause it to leak there as well.



You should consider having your roof inspected by a contractor before the rainy season to clean up any leaves, tree debris, and clogged gutters. At that time, they'll also inspect for any damage that might cause the roof to leak in the near future. That way, you can potentially prevent any roof leaks that may occur.

Ridge Vents Cause leaks

If you have ridge vents, they may leak during heavy rain combined with strong winds. While they are designed to prevent water from entering your house, some types are less water-resistant than others. Ensure that you research the types of vents and the waterproofing that suits your needs to prevent any damage to your home.

Leaky ridge vents may also indicate improper installation, and you should address them right away to prevent any serious damage.


Vent Pipes Causes Leaks

Homes equipped with vent pipes can experience leaks during heavy rain. Vent pipes crack over time depending on the quality of the seal boot installed and its age. Always ask for premium vent pipes because cheaper pipe vents break more frequently and can take up more of your time and money in repairs. 

Skylights Causes Leaks

vented skylight from inside a home

Many people dislike skylights because of their high tendency to leak during storms. No matter how tight the seal is, a skylight requires you to cut a hole in the roof.


Despite their water-resistant nature, skylights may start leaking after a few years due to natural wear. They can also gather up condensation and start leaking. To prevent this, you should call a professional roofing contractor to make sure they are sealed properly.


Chimneys Causes Leaks


cracked flashing

One of the most common causes of intermittent roof leaks is chimneys, as they are prone to leaking and should be inspected frequently with the rest of the roof. With constant exposure to natural elements and the heat difference between burning wood in the fireplace and the cooler outdoor temperature, chimneys have a high tendency to crack and cause roof leaks. This is caused by all of the expansion and contracting from going hot and then cold.

Other leaks can result from a poorly designed valley that prevents water from draining around the chimney, or the siding material on the chimney sometimes fails and causes a leak. Worn-out or rusted-out chimney caps and roof flashing are other common causes of chimney leaks and should be addressed by your roofer immediately.



Storm Damage Causes Leaks

Some roofing materials can withstand greater impact than others. A possible cause of intermittent roof leaks is that your roof might be damaged due to hail, wind, or heavy objects falling on it.

Another cause might be an accumulation of debris or even walking on your roof if it isn’t designed for it. If you suspect that your roof is leaking due to damage, get in contact with a reputable roofing company to conduct an inspection as soon as possible. 

Age Causes Leaks

Over the years, your roof is constantly exposed to weather conditions which causes it to wear out faster.  Although some roofing materials can last over a century with proper maintenance, most materials last about 20 years or less.  A good rule to follow is to plan to have roof maintenance at least once a year so that you know the exact condition of your roof and have time to plan before it might start developing serious problems.


is a small roof leak bad


It's Time to Fix Your Intermittent Leaking Roof

The best time to get your roof fixed is now; Rip that bandaid off! Now that you've confirmed you have a leaking roof, reach out to a local roofing contractor. Even if you can’t track exactly where the leak originates from, a roofer can, and they will fix the problem before it causes more serious damage to your home and belongings.

Whatever the reason may be as to why you haven't gotten your leaky roof fixed just yet. RoofCrafters resonates with you. Home improvement projects can be stressful, and asking for help can be hard. When you're ready to take that jump, we've got your back. Drop us a line on our contact page, and one of our friendly representatives will be in touch with you to schedule your inspection.

If you're still feeling a little apprehensive and want to learn more about roof leaks and roof repairs, check out the extensive resources we have listed for you in our learning center. We recommend reading "The Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks", so you can better understand why your roof may be leaking.

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Cassie Findley

My name is Cassie, and I’m the Content Manager here at RoofCrafters. I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, and made my way out to Florida post-college graduation in 2021. I’m incredibly passionate about writing and creating valuable content with the collaboration of my marketing team. When I’m not working, I enjoy shopping (a little too much), spending time at the beach, and reading!