A leaky roof is something that every homeowner dreads. Even the smallest leak can mean big problems with the roof. Finding a leak can be problematic and by the time it is noticed, it has been happening for a while. The best way to avoid leaks and expensive damage requiring roofing repairs from a roof company is to know how they happen and attempt to prevent them.
Leaks are sneaky. They go unnoticed for a while, sometimes even for months, causing damage as time passes. By the time homeowners notice water staining ceilings or walls, the leak requires more than just patching the roof. To reduce the need for roof repair, homeowners must prevent leaks from happening.
Common Causes of Roofing Leaks
Although it is impossible to predict every potential leak, understanding the circumstance most that can result in a leak, homeowners can be prepared and have roof repairs done before a tiny hole or some loose shingles become a bigger concern. Consider some of the more common initial causes of roof leaks might not otherwise go undetected.
Organic Matter On Roof - Any organic matter lying on a roof for extended periods will decay and damage the roofing surface beneath it. Leaves, branches, moss, and other rotting organic material should be cleaned off regularly to avoid any leaks.
Loose or Improperly Applied Flashing - Flashing around exhaust pipes, fans, vents, skylights, and anything else that protrudes from the roof must be installed carefully and properly sealed to prevent leaking. Unfortunately, this is a common area for roof leaks and it is usually caused by sloppy roofing workmanship.
Improperly Replaced Attachments - Whether it was a satellite dish, an antenna, or something else attached to the roof, their removal leaves holes. Most installers do not patch them or tell a homeowner that it needs to be repaired. The result? Holes through the roofing material, all the way down to the wood layers, which allow in water and erode over time.
Wind, Rain and Snow - Yes, the very elements that a roof is there to protect against can cause leaks. High winds and windblown rain can get under shingles, wet the layers underneath, promote decay, and cause leaks after a while. Melting snow can cause ice damming, which loosens shingles on the roof and lets moisture underneath.
Damage to the Ridge Cap - Ironically, when roof companies install a roof or do repairs, they might accidentally damage the roof with ropes used to get supplies onto the roof. Rope scrapes and marks on the ridge that go unnoticed can eventually cause damage and leaking through the top of the roof, weakening the whole roof structure. The ridge should always be protected when roof work is being performed.
Too-short Downspouts - When downspouts to upper gutters are allowed to drain onto lower portions of a roof, that area experiences excess moisture and wear, inviting leakage once those shingles are prematurely worn out.
Nail Holes and Other Penetrations - Unplugged nail holes from old zinc strips, penetrations from branches, and even animal damage are much more common than homeowners may believe. These can all become the start of roof leaks.
The important lesson to be learned here is that roof leaks are caused by many things, some obvious and some not so obvious. To avoid the need for roofing repairs, homeowners must regularly monitor their roofs and actually look for any potential leaks. Catching leaks before they do much damage and having them repaired by an experienced roof company should be the goal!