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The 5 Most Common Causes Of Roof Leaks And How To Avoid Them

by Greg on November 3, 2018

Australian suburbs aerial view

The roof is one of the most important parts of a house. A good roof not only protects your home and everything in it from bad weather, rain, and other external elements but also keeps it comfortable throughout the year. A leaky roof however spells disaster for the house and anything that comes in contact with the water. Unless one is keen enough, most leaks go undetected for days. Detecting a leak can be a daunting task for an untrained eye. Looking for possible signs and causes of roof leaks however helps you discover the leaks much faster and efficiently. Outlined below are some of the most common causes of roof leaks and how to get around them.

1. Broken Shingles

Tiles and shingles form the protective layer/barrier for elements on the roof. These shingles help provide a pathway for water and other elements off the roof, which prevents pooling. Broken shingles however break the path causing some of the water to seep into the house. These are usually the first suspects of a leaky roof and are easy to detect. You can have a layperson diagnose the roof to see if there are broken shingles or tiles on the roof. Most shingles will break due to age, though other factors such as high winds, a major storm, etc. may contribute to the same. Having the roof inspected for cracks after a major storm can help prevent a leaky roof in advance.

If there are visibly broken shingles on your roof, your next course of action should be to have the broken ones replaced. Experts recommend having an expert roofer look into the problem to advocate the best course of action. Getting the broken shingles replaced is one of the best ways to sort this problem.

2. Broken Seals

Although not easily detected, broken seals are a common cause of roof leaks in many homes. The seals are commonly found where two zones of the roof meet, at intersections, and vents. The sealing material used may at times crack or be eroded over time, leaving a part of the roof exposed. Detecting leaks from a broken seal may be almost impossible on a rainy day. Experts however recommend checking for such spots during a sunny day. You may however have to climb to the attic to check for rays of light penetrating the roof. You could also use a flashlight to find deteriorating spots of the seals as well.

Upon identifying leaky spots, you can then determine the next best course of action. Some seals, e.g., rubber seals only need fastening of the used bolts. Broken seals on ventilation holes, chimneys, and electrical wiring can also be fixed using caulk. While some of these issues are easy to fix, there are instances when you need to call a certified roofer to help with the repairs. There are times when a section of the roof will need reinstalling for a tight seal.

3. Condensation in The Attic

Condensation in the attic often happens when moisture finds its way into the attic. The leaks usually start when cold temperatures outside clash with the warm temperatures in the attic and vice versa causing the formation of water droplets. Prolonged exposure to moisture in the attic causes mold and mildew to start growing in the same. This is mainly characterized by a strong musty smell coming from the attic. This can however only be detected if you climb into the attic. There are times when you’ll find a pool of water trapped in the attic as well.

Handling a leak caused by condensation in the attic requires proper planning. You will in most instances have to isolate the attic to prevent temperature fluctuations. It might however be advisable to treat the mold and mildew growth before taking on any measures. Once done treating mold, you can then start diagnosing the primary cause of condensation in the same. This may entail ensuring all roof vents are clear of the interior, applying a seal to the roof, and install a ventilation fan in the same.

4. A Cracked Chimney

A cracked chimney can also be a reason for leaks in the roof. This mostly happens if the mud cap has some wear and tear or holes in the mortared joints. Lose shingles and flashing surrounding the chimney may also be a reason for leaks in the house as well. According to experts, the mortar used build as well as provide a seal between the chimney and the roof shingles erodes quickly leaving parts of the roof exposed.

Repairing a cracked chimney is however relatively easy. All you need is first to identify problem spots and areas, remove the already eroded mortar, then replace it with a fresh one. While it may seem simple, such requires the expertise of a trained and expert roofer. Experienced roofers know how to handle such delicate areas without causing any further damage to your roof. Fixed properly, the crack will be no more hence zero leaks from the spot.

5. Clogged Gutters

Gutters are meant to provide smooth travel for water from the roof to the drainage pipes or a water reservoir if any. Leaves and other foreign objects will once in a while fill up the gutters clogging the entire system, thus breaking the flow. It is after the travel stops that you will start experiencing leaks from spots that shouldn’t leak in the first place. The pool of water collected on the roof and gutters start seeping through the shingles and tiles allowing water inside the house.

Although not a pleasant job, clogged gutters are relatively easy to handle. All you need is clean the gutters using a broom or a long stick. First, you’ll need to get rid of any leaves and twigs on the roof before digging on the hard stuff. Don’t be surprised to find eroded sand or parts of the shingles in the gutters. Water under high pressure may come in handy when attempting to unclog the gutters.

These are just but a few of the common causes of roof leaks in many homes today. Making it a habit of inspecting the roof once in a while can however help prevent a leakage before it happens. Leaks can have a detrimental effect on the roof, the house, and everything inside. Having an expert roofer inspect the roof and repair any leaking spots is the only best way to deal with, as well as prevent future leaks.

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