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All About Leaky Roofs

People often forget about the power of water until disaster strikes. A little bit of rain is fine unless there is a hurricane or flood. Water doesn’t seem that powerful until you see the Grand Canyon. And leaky roofs don’t seem like a big deal until your roof collapses.

The Real Impact of Water Damage

If you suspect you roof has a leak, take action now. Delayed repairs can result in serious damage to your home. Leaky roofs can lead to the following problems:

  • Mold growth: Leaking roofs create moist, warm areas that encourage mold growth. Mold is more than an unsightly annoyance as the spores can irritate allergies and some varieties can cause serious health concerns.
  • Fire hazards: Your attic and roof often contain a lot of electrical wiring. Water and electricity don’t mix well together. A small leak could cause an electrical short, which could lead to a fire.
  • Decreased insulation capacity: A leak can soak the cellulose or fiberglass insulation in your roof. These materials take a long time to dry out, and with repeated exposure, the water severely decreases their insulation capacity. With this lowered insulation, your home will require more energy to heat and cool it.
  • Ceiling and wall damage: As the water begins to pool, it will wear on the walls and ceilings of your home. You may have to replace sections of your ceiling or walls.
  • Structural issues: Over time, in extreme causes, leaky roofs can collapse. The water will start to rot the wood and eventually the structural integrity of the roof can become compromised.

Signs You May Have a Leaky Roof

Before you can find a leak, you must first become aware that you have a leak. Watch for the following signs of a leaky roof in your home.

  • The shingles on your roof start to buckle or curl
  • Algae or mold growth
  • The roof starts to rot
  • Discolored spots on the walls and ceilings
  • Bulging bubbles on your ceiling (which may or may not drip)
  • Wet spots on your ceiling or walls
  • Foul odors
  • Peeling paint
  • Pooling water
  • Increased pest activity

How to Find the Leak

Finding the source of the leak might prove more difficult than you first assume. You might find where the water accumulates, but the water could have taken various paths in your home since it first entered. Use the following methods to identify the source of the leak.

  • Check roof penetrations: Chimneys, roofs, ice dams, and skylights commonly develop leaks. Check for any problems in those areas first.
  • Look for debris on the roof: As debris accumulates, water tends to pool in that area and eventually seeps into the roof. You can prevent this by regularly cleaning off the roof.
  • Check the rain gutters: Debris in your gutter can cause the same problems as debris on the roof. Also, check for any clogs in the gutter or the downspout as they can cause water to pool as well.
  • Consider recent events: Did it recently storm? If a large branch fell onto your roof, it could have created a weak point where water sinks into your home.
  • Check for signs of pests: Pests can sometimes settle on your roof and cause severe damage.

If you are unable to find the source of the leak, find a willing helper and use the following method on a sunny day.

  1. First, secure yourself to the roof. Bring a garden hose with you.
  2. Run water from the hose over a small section of your roof. Start on the bottom of the roof to prevent the water from running down and disguising the source.
  3. Your partner should be inside the house watching for any changes as you pour water over the different sections. Allow enough time between each section for your partner to thoroughly examine the area.
  4. Repeat the process for each section until you find the leak.

If you can’t find the leak, call a professional.

When it comes to your home, leaky roofs can lead to severe water damage and structural issues. Call a professional roofing company for high-quality repair work.