A leaky roof can range in severity and inconvenience to the homeowners.  While the cause of some leaks is obvious (missing shingles, storm damage or fallen debris), it is not always easy to find the exact location of the problem.  Here are a few ways to find the source of the leak and ways to repair the leaks.

Finding the source of the leak—follow the water stains, discoloration or drips.  The first place to look is right above the damage to see if the leak is there.  Keep in mind though it is common for water to travel on horizontal ceilings before being absorbed and leak through ceiling panels.  Check around chimneys as water can seep through the flashing where the chimney connects to the roof.

Stop the water damage from spreading—once the location of the leak has been found, you need to stop the water from causing more damage as quickly as possible.  Water leaks that are left unattended can cause water damage to personal belongings, floor coverings and walls and could result in mold growth.

Repairing the roof—safety first.  While some ways of fixing roofs may appear to be easy, you are still dealing with slopes, ladders, pitch and height of roofs, so be ready to consult a professional if the task looks extensive or too dangerous.  Here are some common ways to repair some sources of roof leaks:

  • air vents—caulk to reseal
  • uprooted nails—hammer back down or replace nails with new ones
  • corroded metals—patch with sealants
  • loose or leaky shingles—secure with roofing tar
  • damaged flashing—use adhesives to close

Now that we’ve talked about how to locate the source of a leaky roof and some ways to fix the problem, let’s look at three of the most common reasons behind why a roof starts to leak.

Poor construction/design–Shingles wrongly placed, insulation installed improperly and flashing installed incorrectly can all contribute to your roof not keeping the water out.  Flat roofs are often less expensive to build and look nice, but tend to allow water to collect and therefore leak into the house.

Exposure to the elements—Roofs that aren’t maintained regularly are at risk to the elements.  Constant exposure to sun can cause the roofing material to become brittle, wind can blow off loose tiles and shingles, and rain can turn roofing mats and paper soggy and at risk for mold.

Additional equipment—We tend to have more things placed on our roof tops these days.  From satellite cable dishes to exhaust pipes, the added weight of the equipment can put a strain on the roof as can the repairmen who service the equipment, so again, it is important to make sure you regularly maintain your roof.

It is a good idea to walk around your home and take a look at the condition of the roof maybe 3-4 times a year and again after a big storm.  Look for any missing shingles and have the area repaired or patched as quickly as possible.

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