As fall now begins to creep in and the weather becomes more unpredictable, you’ll need to start thinking about the health of your roof. It may look ok from the outside, but do you know that if it’s watertight and ready for the rain? Here are the most common places for roof leaks, and what you can do to prevent them.
Common Places Your Roof Can Start Leaking
Now’s the time to start looking over your roof, and seeing what kind of shape it’s in. You’ll need to know before bad weather starts setting in, to keep it from creating bigger problems further down the line. Here’s where you should be looking out for:
- The roof field: This is the expanse of tiling, shingles, or asphalt on top of your roof. With shingles especially, there are a few places where they can start leaking. Missing shingles or granules, cracked shingles, or knocked out nails can all lead to leaks. Be careful as you look, though. Walking on shingles can crack them, and you don’t want to cause further damage.
- Valleys: These are the points where two different roof planes meet. When the roof is constructed, flashing should be installed to make them watertight. Over time, these can become damaged and start letting water in. Take a good look at yours and see if they’re still protecting against water.
- Chimneys: These are often the cause of leaks, as there are so many places that water can get in through them. Look for cracks or holes in the chimney, and have them filled up if you find any.
- Ice dams: If you live in a cold area, you probably know all about these. An ice dam can form on your roof, meaning water gets backed up behind it. When that happens, it can get under the shingles and start leaking through your roof.
- Windblown rain leaks: These can be a troubling, as your roof can be in amazing condition but the rain can get blown under shingles by the wind. If this is happening, you may need to use tar paper or ice dam membranes.
- Plumbing and furnace flashing leaks: These can often be the cause of a leak, thanks to the material used in sealing these vents. The flashing is often made of rubber, and can fail in just 10 years. If this has started to break down, then you’ll need to have it replaced.
- Skylight leaks: Skylights are becoming more popular in many homes, but if they’re not installed properly, they can cause leaks. If you have one, you’ll probably already know about it as you’ll see the water coming in around the skylight. If not, inspect them closely to ensure that they’re sealed tightly.
- Clogged gutters: Another problem that should be easy to spot is clogged gutters. Wind and rain can blow debris into them, especially leaves around this time of year. This stops water from being drained away, and instead it overflows into the roof.
When A Leak Is Not A Leak
Many people inspect their roofs and find there are what appears to be roof leaks coming through from their attics, and start trying to find the source. If you start doing this and find that you can’t see a clear entry point for the water, don’t panic. It could be that the water is coming from condensation in your attic. If this is the case, you’ll need to call in an expert to see how they can improve the airflow in your roof to stop this happening.
How To Prevent Roof Leaks
The best cure for roof leaks is prevention. Now’s the best time to inspect your roof carefully for any damage, and mend it before the bad weather comes. This can stop a lot of leaks right in their tracks.
Firstly, take a look at your gutters. If they’re clogged, remove the debris to allow water to drain through them safely. To prevent them getting clogged again, you can install gutter guards that prevent the debris from getting stuck in there again.
Now, take a look at the shingles and flashing on the roof. If any of it is cracked or missing, then it’s going to need to be replaced.
The next step will be to go into the attic and take a look at the underside of the roof. The first thing you’re looking for is daylight coming in through the roof. If you can see it, that means that water can get through too, and will need to be addressed.
Look for any spots of mold or mildew in the attic. If this is left for too long, it can cause real damage to the timbers. It can also be a good indication that there may be leaks nearby.
Finally, if you do find water, look to see if you can find the source. If you can’t, it may well be condensation and therefore an airflow issue.
DIY Or Hire A Professional?
If you’re handy with a hammer in your home, you may think that you could easily fix small issues with your roof. You may well be able to, but you should still think about hiring a professional in at first to look at what needs to be done.
Professionals are trained to know what they’re looking for on your roof, and may well spot problems that you’ve missed. If you suspect your roof may need work, it’s usually the best idea to call them in and have them assess the problem for you.
You may well find that the problem can be fixed more easily than you’d thought, or that there’s a solution you hadn’t thought of. If you hire the professionals to take care of it, then you’ll have the leaks fixed quickly and efficiently.
As you can see, there’s a few reasons why your roof may be leaking. However, it’s easier than you’d think to care of them. Do it now, and get your home ready for the fall weather!