Water is a must-have. But water coming from a leak in your home? It’s definitely a must-have-not. If you are experiencing this right now in your home, particularly a roof leak, know that you are not alone. You’re not the only one with buckets on standby to replace the nearly full one currently catching all that water dripping down. You’re not the only one being kept awake because of all that dripping sounds that feel like cymbals crashing at the dead of night.
On this page:
- Dangers of a Roof Leak
- Common Causes of Roof Leaks
- How to Find Roof Leaks
- How to Find a Roof Leak with No Attic Access
- Should You Do DIY Repairs?
- Cost of Roof Repairs
- Getting No-Obligation Quotes from Contractors
Dangers of a Roof LeakPeople will have varying emotions whenever they see a roof leak in their home. But more often than not, it’s going to be a mix of annoyance and anxiousness. We get annoyed at the idea of having a problem with our home, finding a container to catch the water and change it once it gets full, and the prospect of cleaning up the puddles. We also get anxious at the possibility of having water marks and visible damage inside the house, getting our furniture and other stuff ruined, and if the roof will fall down. Not to mention how much getting it fixed is probably going to cost – we already assume it is going to be expensive. Homeowners tend to dwell on these thoughts, and as a result, procrastinate on getting a leaking roof repaired. We have this belief that leaks are generally an inconvenience that we can learn to live it; we’re willing to put up with constant mopping and changing buckets if it means having to save thousands of dollars on repair. However, we also forget the fact that roof leaks are dangerous. Everyone needs to be aware of the possible consequences of delaying getting them addressed.
It Can Cause Accidents, Sometimes Even Proving to be FatalReports show that the most common cause of accidents at home has something to do with water, and a significant percentage of that involves leaks. Left alone, leaks will settle and form puddles on the floor that are difficult to see. In effect, anyone can easily slip and fall on the floor. This may result in broken limbs, cuts and wounds, bruises, trauma, or worse, death.
Fires Can Start Because of ItWe believe that fires can be extinguished by water, but the truth is, water can both stop and start a fire. And if you are dealing with a roof leak, it’s more of the latter. How is this so? Water leaks from the roof can travel in the most random places. Because of this, they may end up dripping over your home’s electrical connections and wirings. When this happens, the chance of an electrical short circuit is magnified. Once a circuit is shorted, this may trigger a fire. And if you’re not aware, electrical fires should never be put out by water.
Possible Growth of Mold and Mildew Due to Damaged InsulationA recent study concluded that mold is present in all homes, yes, even yours, often in small amounts that will not trigger allergic reactions. It’s when they form colonies that you should be wary about. Once they do, anyone may experience allergic reactions, respiratory issues, and other health issues, especially those with compromised immune systems. Roof leaks will promote the growth and reproduction of mold, because it provides its ideal environment – a food source, moist environment, and minimal light. Mold come in many different colors, and not just the dreaded black color but also purple and red.
It Can Weaken Various Components and Vital Structures of Your HomeWater doesn’t really play nice with a lot of the important components of your home. If your roof leaks, it can cause your wooden rafters to rot, steel trusses to corrode and rust, and foundations to get cracks – these will compromise its structural integrity. The drywall ceilings and walls can also get saturated with water, resulting in deformations and will also weaken it. All these might cause your home to collapse at any moment.
The Amount You Need to Pay for Your Bills SkyrocketsIf there’s a roof leak present, it will affect the ability of your HVAC system to heat or cool your home. Because of an opening somewhere on your roof, cold air can enter at all times, requiring you to increase the heating, and vice versa. Say hello to increased household bills. It pays to be aware of the risks and possible dangers of not immediately getting a roof leak fixed. This will give you a sense of urgency, which is a must when leaks are involved. After reading all that, doesn’t it make you want to dash out and get your roof fixed asap?
Common Causes of Roof LeaksRoof leaks happen for a myriad of reasons; it’s not just because there’s a hole somewhere. It is also because of these numerous possibilities that makes it hard to locate a leak and pinpoint exactly what caused it. Even the best roofing contractors in town will have to investigate and eliminate the possible causes before concluding what caused the leak on your roof. To give you an idea, here are the most common causes of a leaking roof:
- Neglect or poor maintenance
- Old age or wear and tear
- Extreme weather conditions, especially hail
- Missing or loose shingles, including their granules
- Cracks on the flashing
- Snow and ice buildup, especially the formation of ice dams
- Poor installation of skylights and other roof accessories
- Gutters with blockages
- Roof flashing and vent booting has cracks or in poor shape
- Cracks or holes
- Shallow slope of the roof
- Presence of debris
- Poor sealing on the valleys and between seams and other joints
- Chimney cracks
- Excessive condensation
- Mishandling when working on the roof
How to Find Roof LeaksIt’s a given that in order to find a leak or two in your home, water must flow over the spot where it can enter. Leaks involving your plumbing are easier to detect than roof leaks, since water continuously flows. Roof leaks, on the other hand, will only make their presence known when it rains or when snow on the roof begins to melt. And if you recall, we mentioned that the locations of where water drips down if usually different from where water enters the roof. This fact adds to the challenge of finding it. If you want to find where the roof leak is coming from and you have access to your attic, here’s how to do it:
- Go to the attic while it is raining or immediately after, bringing along with you a flashlight. But if you prefer working on it on a clear day, have someone climb up to your roof and bring a water hose to spray water all over the roof.
- If insulation is present, remove it and see if any obvious entry points of water are present.
- Look for any signs of water in the attic. See if the rafters, trusses, and other roof components have dripping water, watermarks, or even signs of mold growth. Also inspect the attic floors for puddles.
- Use the flashlight and point it towards the underside of the roof. The light will be reflected when it hits water, making it easier for you to see if water is present anywhere. It will also allow you to see any holes or punctures on the roof.
- Inspect other sections of the roof, roof decking, and the walls connected to it. Pay closer attention to joints and all possible entry points of water.
- If there are pipes present in the attic, check if the leak is actually coming from your plumbing system and not the roof. Exposed nails may also be the cause of water leaking down, since it can promote the formation of condensation that you may mistake for a roof leak.
- Look for marks and discolorations present under the roof and its supports.
- Up on the roof, check the condition of not just the roof itself but also of the accessories installed and the joints.
How to Find a Roof Leak with No Attic AccessAttics are helpful in locating a roof leak. It allows you to take a closer look at what’s going on under your roof, letting you check for possible leak sources without having to first go out and get to the roof itself. But, how are you going to find the source of a leak if you don’t have any access to your attic?
Check on the RoofIn cases like this, the best way to see if you have a leaky roof is by heading up to your roof and searching every nook and cranny of your roof for signs of damage or components that have lifted up. Aside from the surface of the roof, focus on these parts:
- Shingles that show signs of lifting or are damaged or missing
- Vent booting and other seals present
- Ridge caps
- Downspouts, including connected gutters
- Gaskets that surround the pipes
- Stains that are black in color