You don’t always have to face inclement weather for your roof to spring a leak. There are several common causes of a leaky roof that have nothing to do with mother nature. A leak can damage the interior part of your home and your belongings. Knowing the common causes of a roof leak can help you avoid one in the future.
Your home experiences shifts in temperature all day, every day. With these fluctuations, construction materials will expand and contract. This causes roofs and other areas to become weaker as time goes on. UV light can also age and weaken materials, especially roofing tar. As cracks form, water will seep through and cause even more problems.
The purpose of flashing is to keep water out of vulnerable places on the roof. You add flashing in places where an object goes through the roof itself, to help avoid getting moisture in the small gap between the object and the roof. You’ll most commonly find it around your chimney.
There are several reasons why flashing might not work perfectly, including the last factor we mentioned: age. Improper installation can also lead to issues and end up causing a leak. When assessing a leak, you may be able to determine if flashing is the cause due to the location of the leak. If it’s close to your fireplace, or near an exhaust vent.
Gutters can make or break a roof. They can be extremely helpful to avoid water damage, given that they are properly maintained. Without maintenance, they can actually cause damage instead of helping avoid it. Make sure to check your gutters for clogs that can cause standing water.
There are many gutter cleaning devices and services available on the market to assist you with keeping your gutters clean and functional. Next time you speak with a roofing specialist, make sure to ask for their professional recommendation for your gutter system. Checking your gutters before winter is an especially good idea, to help make sure any leaves that have fallen are not blocking drainage.
Skylights can add a lot of natural light and resale value to a home. They’re a great architectural piece, but not always the best way to avoid a roof leak. If the skylight is not installed properly it can cause leaking. Your installation expert should be able to avoid leaks by making sure the fit is proper and snug.
If you have an older skylight that hasn’t had issues in the past you should still remain vigilant. Skylights are installed with a rubber seal to prevent moisture from seeping in. UV light and temperature fluctuations can cause this seal to crack and dry out, just like any other construction material.
The Bottom Line
If you have a leak, go through this list of common causes to see a possible cause. If you happen to have gutters or a skylight don’t overlook the potential issues they can cause. When you speak to a roofing expert make sure to mention the presence of any gutters or skylights as the age of the roof and flashing. This will help them make a quick assessment and may help them spot a leak quicker.