Why Does My Roof Leak?

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the harsh elements and when it springs a leak your family and your belongings are at risk. If you think your roof is leaking, contact a professional right away as most problems only get worse over time. Leaky roofs can be caused by a number of problems; here are some of the most common.

1. Problems with Flashing
Flashing is a thin metal piece that is used to join two parts of the roof or wherever anything sticks out of the roof to direct water away from the opening. You’ll commonly find flashing around the chimney and vent stacks, around dormers, in any valleys, and around skylights.

Flashing can become corroded or otherwise become compromised and start letting water seep in. If the problem is caught early enough, a professional roofer can patch the holes fairly easily. If left to deteriorate, damaged flashing can cause serious damage and extensive repairs.

2. Problems with the Soffit and Fascia
The soffit is usually made from wood, vinyl or metal and is found on the underside of a roof’s overhang. Fascia is the board that sits directly under the roof’s edge and usually has the gutters attached to it. If your roof isn’t draining properly, both pieces can become rotted or deteriorated from the water and holes can form.

A roofer can usually replace either of these pieces fairly easily so it is important to correct problems right away before water reaches any of the interior surfaces of your roof and attic become damaged and further repairs are necessary.

3. Ice Dams
When the temperature inside the attic is too warm, snow near the top of the roof can start to melt. The water runs down the roof and when it reaches the cold edges, it freezes up again and forms an ice dam. Eventually, the water and ice will back up under the shingles and spread into the attic. Proper insulation and ventilation of the attic is the best way to prevent ice dams from forming.

4. Damaged or Missing Shingles
Shingles can become damaged from flying debris, falling tree limbs, or high winds during storms. Shingles can also become damaged when other things like flashing deteriorate or when they have reached the end of their lifespan. Here are common signs of shingle damage and deterioration:

  • Missing or broken shingles. Sometimes the entire shingle is gone, other times pieces of it can break off.
  • Curling Shingles. If the outer corners curl up, it’s a sign that the shingles need to be replaced.
  • Buckling Shingles. When shingles buckle, you’ll notice a wave or line that runs vertically up the roof.

No matter what the cause of shingle damage, once this outer layer of protection is compromised, water can seep in and cause serious damage to the foundation of your roof, to your attic, and to the walls and ceilings in your home. If it’s just in one area, a contractor can replace the damages shingles. If the problem is widespread, it may be time for a new roof.

Stop Leaks Before they Get Worse
The best thing you can do to extend the life of your roof and keep your belongings safe is to take care of small problems before they get worse. If you think you have a leak, call a professional to inspect the area right away. Often, small problems can be corrected quickly and easily so you don’t have to worry about major repairs down the road.