Leaky roof? Here’s what you need to know
Too often, we homeowners tend to ignore the roof that protects us until we suddenly realize that it’s leaking. Small or large, no roof leak should be ignored. Quick action will help you lessen the potential for serious damage (like mold or collapsed ceilings). Of course, the most prudent thing to do when your roof leaks is to call a professional roofer as soon as possible. In the meantime, here’s some information to help you understand the most common causes of roof leaks.
- The ridge vent at the peak of a sloped roof will leak if it has been damaged or incorrectly installed.
- Anything that projects through or penetrates the roof is naturally vulnerable to leaking. The most common penetrations that can leak are plumbing vents, those often unsightly but really important pipes sticking up from your roof that allow sewer gas to escape. The hole where the vent pipe projects from the roof is weatherproofed with a rubber or lead boot and flashing, but the weatherproofing materials can deteriorate over time.
- Skylights leak when the flashing is damaged in any way, or if the roof materials do not extend completely around the flashing. Dormers, chimneys, and valleys may also leak if the flashings are damaged, deteriorated, or incorrectly installed.
- Ice damming happens when melting snow freezes at the colder edges of the roof. Water pools behind the ice and eventually finds a way to leak through the roof where shingles have been blown, lifted, or damaged. Ice dams themselves can even lift the shingles.
- Holes in shingles, especially tiny holes, can leak for years without your seeing any obvious signs of the leak. Holes can be caused by missing nails, places where satellite dishes or antennae were mounted or repositioned, and the long term effects of hail damage.
You may have noticed recurring themes in the bullets above: deteriorated or damaged roofing materials, inferior materials, and incorrect installation. Problems with materials or installation can be avoided through learning the differences between good and not-good roof materials, and choosing credentialed contractors who warranty their work.
Deterioration, on the other hand, is a natural process of aging and weathering. Three important things you can do to help prevent roof leaks due to deterioration are:
- Have your roof and gutters thoroughly inspected at least once a year (twice is better), especially if your roof is no longer young.
- Get your gutters cleaned at least once a year.
- Invest in an annual roof tune-up that includes caulking and sealing the vents, flashings, nail holes, and broken seams; tightening loose shingles; and repairing exposed nail heads and nail pops. Generally, autumn is a great time for an inspection and tune-up.
Your roof will love the attention!
Stay tuned for more Roofing 101.
About this blog series
Quality roofing products and workmanship will enhance your home’s comfort, appearance, and value. The TSW Roofing Solutions team wants you to understand the components of your roof system, because we know that informed homeowners make smart choices about contractors and materials. Remember~~We’re here to solve your roofing problems!
Call us at 410-979-7876 to schedule a thorough roof inspection.