Small roof leaks might not seem like a big deal, but it can lead to bigger (and more expensive) problems like mold, roof and ceiling damage, and even rotted framing. Finding the exact cause of a roof leak isn’t always easy, especially for an untrained eye. Keep this list of the 8 most common causes of roof leaks handy so that you can narrow down the culprits and patch up the problem before it gets out of hand.
One of the most common causes of roof leaks is broken or missing shingles. You might find shingles in your yard after a heavy storm or notice patches of discoloration on your roof where they’ve fallen off. Cracked shingles are trickier to spot, and may require a professional roof inspection.
How to Prevent This: Stay on top of roof maintenance. Replace any shingles that are missing or cracked before they can cause a leak.
Poor Attic Ventilation
If you notice that your ceiling starts to drip when the temperature changes, not when it rains, then your roof may not be damaged at all — the problem might be coming from your attic. Nestled right between the warm outside air and cool indoor temperatures, condensation can build up quickly in a poorly ventilated attic.
How to Prevent This: Make sure your attic is well-ventilated so that moist air can escape. It should also be well-insulated to prevent cool air from leaking in.
Walking On Your Roof Incorrectly
Your roof is more fragile than it looks. Stepping in the wrong place can break a brittle seal or damage asphalt shingles, both of which can leave your roof vulnerable to leaks.
How to Prevent This: If you can help it, don’t walk on your roof at all. If your son’s rocket toy gets stuck up there, try knocking it down with a long pole or stick before you try to walk over to it. If you need something fixed, call a professional roofer to come do it for you.
You really can’t miss a giant tree limb or patio chair on your roof, but debris damage isn’t always that obvious. Leaves, twigs, and pine needles that fall from nearby trees can also cause roof leaks by clogging your gutters and causing water to build up on your roof.
How to Prevent This: If you have tree branches hanging over your house, have them trimmed by a professional arborist. If you know that a major storm is on the way, move your outdoor furniture into the garage so that it can’t do any damage to your property.
This is one of the hardest causes to spot, so if none of the other items on this list match your situation, you might be looking at damaged flashing.
Flashing, typically made from sheet metal, is used to create a watertight seal between your roof and your chimney, skylights, or any other fixtures. But if your flashing wasn’t properly installed or damaged by severe weather, that seal can break. Even the smallest opening can let in a great deal of water over time.
How to Prevent This: Have your roof inspected annually. If you replace your shingles, it’s a good idea to have your flashing replaced at the same time.
Improperly Installed Skylights
If the leak is coming from your skylight, there’s a good chance that it wasn’t properly installed. Especially if the leaking skylight is brand new, chances are it wasn’t fitted correctly or poor flashing techniques were used.
But before you climb up on the roof to look for damage, make sure that the problem isn’t actually condensation. If you have a skylight in your bathroom or kitchen, the steam from a hot shower or a boiling stove pot will condense and form water droplets when it reaches the cool glass of the skylight.
How to Prevent This: Make sure your skylights are installed by a professional roofing contractor. If condensation is the problem, make sure the room is well-ventilated and consider using a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air.
When strong winds and heavy rain roll in, it can take a serious toll on your home. Not only can severe weather lead to many of the problems listed above (missing shingles, debris, and damaged flashing), but the storm itself can be a direct cause of roof leaks. The wind can lift your shingles just enough so that the rain can slip underneath and into your home.
How to Prevent This: You can’t stop mother nature, but you can prepare for her. Before storm season starts, have your roof inspected and repair any problems so that they aren’t made worse by bad weather.
No roof lasts forever. Eventually, your roof will become old and worn. Most shingles will start to crack and curl at the edges after a few decades. If your old roof is leaking, it’s time to invest in a replacement.
How to Prevent This: There’s not much you can do to prolong the life of your roof aside from staying up to date on repairs. However, if you’re building a new home or replacing your current roof, you have the opportunity to significantly increase its lifespan by picking a durable roofing material from the start.
Long-Lasting Asphalt Shingle Roofs in Tampa, FL
By keeping up with maintenance tasks and being able to spot the source of roof leaks, you can extend the life of your roof and save money on major home repairs. But when it is time to say goodbye to your old roof, investing in a new asphalt shingle roof will provide your home with the protection it needs for many years to come.
The experienced technicians at Westchase Roofing in Tampa, FL, install your roof right the first time so that you don’t have to worry about fixing leaks and other problems. We install the best asphalt shingle roofing systems available and customize it to complement your home. Call us today to request a quote!