How much do you know about fixing a leaky roof? It can be difficult to figure it out on your own. So here is a helpful guide to follow.
If you’re finding leaks in your roof or water stains on the ceiling, that’s a sign that the roof isn’t holding the rain out of your home as it should. You should always take leaks seriously, as they are often a sign of a deeper issue. If you’re seeing water dripping in your home, you need to know why it’s happening.
Here are some of the most common reasons your roof is leaking, and how to fix it.
1. Your Shingles Have Broken
This is a very easy issue to spot. If you have any leaks, go outside and take a look at your roof. Are there any shingles that are cracked, broken, cupped, or even missing? If so, that’s where the water is most likely coming in. Those shingles are your first line of defense against the rain, so you need them to all be in place and ready to face the weather.
They can be damaged by various different things. Strong winds can lift them off, falling debris can crack them, and even walking on the roof can knock them out of place.
How to fix the issue: This one’s quite a simple fix. All you have to do is replace the shingles that have been broken with new ones. It’s advised that you keep an extra box of shingles when you replace your roof for this purpose, so the shingles will match. Use a pry bar to pry the row of nails on the damaged shingle up. Pull out that shingle and replace it with a new one, securing it with new nails.
2. You Have An Ice Dam
This is a problem you’re more likely to come across in the winter months. An ice dam forms when snow melts off your roof due to heat coming from the attic. It then refreezes at the edge of your roof, sometimes in the gutters. The temperatures are colder here, so the frozen water sits, blocking more snow run off from making its way off the roof. The water backs up, gets under shingles, and starts leaks.
How to fix the issue: One of the best ways to prevent ice dams is to invest in a roof rake. This gives you the ability to remove snow from your roof without having to get up there, something that’s dangerous at the best of times. You’ll be able to stay on the ground, eliminating the risk of slipping and falling. It’s best to remove at least the lower four feet of snow regularly, to prevent build up. If you do see an ice dam forming, you can use an ice melt product to dissolve it.
3. Your Gutters Are Clogged
Another similar reason for leaks is clogged gutters. Over time, your guttering can easily get clogged up with all kinds of debris, such as leaves from nearby trees. If this is allowed to build up, it will stop water from flowing down into the drains. This will again allow water to back up onto the roof, and cause all kinds of issues including leaks.
How to fix the issue: This one is quite a simple fix. All you need to do is grab a ladder, some gloves, and a trash bag, and start scooping all the debris into the bag to unclog the gutters. Once that’s done, you can take some preventative steps too. For example, you can install gutter guards, and trim branches to ensure they aren’t too close to the roof.
4. Your Flashing Is Cracked
The flashing on your roof is the strips of metal that sit under shingles and protect all the seams around the roof. For example, there’s flashing between the roof and your chimney, and on all joints. They create a water resistant barrier and protect these entry spots.
While the flashing will last for a long time, it will eventually crack and break. This is usually because the tar that had been used to seal them has worn away and left it open to the elements. Over time, that corrodes the flashing and allows it to crack.
How to fix the issue: Once you’ve found the flashing that has broken, you’ll need to replace it. You can call on a roofing company to do this for you if you feel you won’t be able to do it yourself. Replacing it isn’t too difficult if you have the skill, though. You’ll need to remove any shingles that are in the way and remove the cracked section. Place a new section of flashing in its place, and then apply roofing sealant to the nail heads you used.
5. The Skylights Weren’t Installed Properly
With more people extending their homes by finishing their attics, skylights are a great way to add in natural light. These windows need to be fitted properly through as if they aren’t, they leave the roof susceptible to leaking. If there are wet spots or drips along the sides of the skylight, then that’s a sign it was installed incorrectly. If the dripping is coming from the top, that’s a sign the flashing needs to be fixed.
How to fix the issue: Firstly, you’ll want to check for any cracks in the window itself. If there are any, these can be sealed with a layer of silicone to stop the water. You can also check the flashing, to see if that needs to be fixed.
In many cases though, the cause of the leak is improper installation. You’ll need to call on the company who fitted the windows for you, to put it right. Do this as soon as possible, to ensure that your roof won’t sustain more damage than it has to.
Fix Your Leaky Roof
There are several reasons why you have a leaky roof, and these are some of the more common ones. If you are seeing water making its way into your home, check for these issues, and correct them as soon as you can.