The two most dreaded words to a homeowner is a leaky roof. Water can be insidious and can penetrate your home’s most vulnerable defenses. A roof leak can damage your attic insulation, roof deck and can lead to mold and mildew growth. The best defense is awareness and fast action. Even a small drip in a house that is more of an inconvenience can be a major repair bill waiting to happen.
Let’s take a look at the most common villains causing your roof to leak:
- Age: Roofing materials can get old and tired. Temperature change can cause a roof to turn brittle and crack. Years of sun can melt the tar that holds composition shingles. So when the roofing materials exceed their life expectancy, it will be time to budget for a new roof when you spot a leak.
- Loose, Cracked or Rotting Shingles: If your roof is 20 to 30 years old, you may see signs of cracking or rotting. In extreme cases, the shingles may even come loose and fall to the ground. This loss of shingles can wear the layers away and can cause leaks to form.
- Compromised Flashing: This is a common problem on a roof. Flashing needs to be properly sealed and nailed into place to protect against water intrusion.
- Roofing Nails Backing Out: Apart from roofing shingles being compromised, roofing nails can sometimes back out leaving small holes that water can easily penetrate. These holes usually go unnoticed by the untrained eye, but not when you have your roof inspected by a trained professional.
- Cracked Rubber Boots: The vent boot is a close relative of flashing. Fabricated from rubber, it slides over the plastic vent pipes that protrude from a roof to work with flashing to waterproof the junction of roof and pipe. Continued exposure to the outside elements will crack the boot, which then needs to be replaced.
- Roof Holes: A hole in your roof can result from storm damage or destruction from animals. Small holes can also be the result of misplaced roofing nails or left over from an antenna-mounting bracket.
- Clogged Gutters: If your gutters are to impacted with leaves and dirt to let the water travel away from your roof and foundation you are inviting trouble. Grab a ladder and some gloves and clean those clogged gutters.
- Ill fitting Skylights: Leaks can grow down the sides of poorly fitting skylights. The seal around the glass can also dry out and ruin the water barrier. Most skylight leaks occur due to flashing issues or improper installation.