The roof protects your home from the outside coming in. When it springs a leak, it can be difficult to find, since water often travels away from where the trouble first started. A roof leak can take anywhere from six months to three or more years before being discovered. Preventing leaks means staying vigilant. Inspect your roof every once in a while, focusing on these potential sources of a leaky roof.
Cleaning the Roof
Regularly cleaning your roof is one of the simplest ways to prevent leaks. Removing loose debris like twigs, leaves and pine cones after a storm can reduce the chances of buildup causing standing water, much in the same way a clog does in the gutters. Over time standing water can seep into gaps in the roofing tiles or compromise in other ways the roof’s ability to protect your home.
Your roof typically has more than just roofing tiles on it. If you have chimneys, vents, a satellite dish, a skylight or dormer windows, they need to be properly sealed, flashed or step flashed in order to keep water from getting in. It’s not just a potential flooding or water damage issue: when water gets in behind flashing or underneath a vent or a skylight and remains undetected, mold and mildew can grow.
Worn or Missing Drip Edges
A drip edge is a type of flashing that helps to keep water away from the fascia and ensures that it freely runs off the roof into the gutter or away from the structure. If it is missing, was incorrectly installed or is damaged in some way, it could be the reason for a leaky roof.
Roof to Wall Transitions
Step flashing should be installed where a roof ends and then adjoins a taller wall, such as a dormer, a garage addition or any other kind of architectural feature that creates a multiple roofline. Step flashing that has become worn or the sealant around it has been weakened can be the ideal place for a leak to form.
If shingles become damaged or are missing, they can let water seep in behind roofing tiles or even the roof’s weather barrier. Look for individual tiles that are cracked, curled at the corners or have been stripped of their roofing granules. While damaged roofing tiles might seem the most logical reason for a leaking roof, in actuality it could be the other way around; the tiles could have been damaged by water leaking from somewhere else.