One thing’s certain when the roof leaks when it rains hard. There’s something wrong with it. Our roof is supposed to protect us from the elements and that includes rain. So when it’s not able to do that, then you have to do something about it.
Here’s the thing with leaking roof. You have to do something about it as soon as possible. Consider it an emergency especially if there are a lot of leaks. It’s not going to get any better. In fact, it’s going to get worse. Don’t wait for that to happen and do something about it.
This article will help you do just that. In addition to knowing what you can do, you’ll also know the causes. You’ll also know how to find where the leaks are coming from. You’ll also know why you should trust the professionals for this job. Best of all, you’ll learn of the best way to find the right company with the best quote for the job.
Slow Roof Leaks Leads to Worse Water Damage
A lot of homeowners think that slow leaks are not a cause of concern. They’re thinking that the damage is not that bad yet or else, the leaking would be worse. This only happens when it’s raining hard so people tend to forget about it since it doesn’t happen all the time.
This is a very dangerous misconception. This is because this can lead to worse water damage. Your drywall and its paint will get water damage. You’d also have to worry about rotting and mold which will eventually happen and it will be too late before you find out about them.
There’s also the possibility of the leaks creeping to electrical outlets. This is a possibility if you see paint bubbling around them. The leaks could also extend to lighting fixtures. There’s a good chance that this is happening if the drywall around them is damp. We don’t need to tell you why these are potentially dangerous. It could also creep down to your flooring structure and floor joists which could lead to damages that will affect its integrity.
Here are other signs that it’s currently wreaking havoc on your home:
- You see leaking behind the gutters.
- The paint bubbles around the outlets.
- The rafters or roof sheeting inside the attic has wet spots on the wood.
- You see moisture below or above the windows.
- There’s a barely noticeable dripping sound in your chimney or the vent in the bathroom.
These can devastate your home.
Where the Leaks Usually Happen
If your roof leaks when it rains hard, there’s a good chance that there’s a problem in one or more of these following areas in your home:
Here are the possible causes:
- The cover has damages or is defective.
- The crown, mortar or veneer has cracks.
- The sealant or flashing is worn out.
- There’s a valley above your chimney where ice and snow along with debris build up.
Here are some things that can be done to solve the problem:
- Place a chimney cover to block water from entering.
- Replace the shingles and flashing for a better water barrier.
- Use a flexible roof sealant to fix loose shingles and fill in gaps and holes.
- Install a cricket to redirect the water away from the chimney’s valley.
This is a very common source of leaks during a heavy rain. It’s understandable, really, considering that installers basically create holes in your roof for the skylights. Over the years, the seals around them get damaged together with the roof flashing. This leads to the problem.
In a lot of cases, all it takes is a flexible roof sealant applied to loose shingles and in gaps and holes. You can also apply a 100% solution of silicone caulk if the leaks are coming from the areas in between the frame and the window. You can also reinforce the barrier by installing new shingles and flashing.
- Roof vent
If you have a comfortable attic, you probably have the vents to thank. Their main purpose is to circulate the air underneath the roof and encourage air circulation between inside and outside your attic. In addition to providing comfort especially during the summer months, they can also help prolong the roof’s life.
On the other hand, they can also damage your home when they start leaking. While most roof vents are designed to prevent this from happening, old age and the direction of the hard rain can still cause it. In addition, there are still designs out there that can lead to leaking.
Here are some steps to help solve these issues:
- Install a screen wire made of metal to stop hard driving rain from entering from under the vent’s hood.
- Use a flexible roof sealant applied to loose shingles and in gaps and holes.
- Install new shingles and flashing around the vents to replace old and damaged ones.
- Vent pipe
These pipes go through your roof. Installed well, they shouldn’t cause leaking. This is thanks to the flexible boot that serves as a seal. However, there may come a time when it will leak when it’s raining hard. This is especially true if you haven’t been maintaining it. The boot can crack.
Here’s what you can do:
- Apply a flexible roof sealant. This is to fill the gaps and holes around the pipes.
- Cover the old flexible boot with a new one. Apply new caulking and seal.
- Replace worn out components.
- Roof valley
These valleys hold a lot of water during heavy rain. They can also form ice dams. If they’re not installed well, meaning they’re too shallow or roofing nails were positioned incorrectly, there can be blockage. This is especially true if there’s debris that makes them shallower.
You can clear the valleys of debris to remove blockage. You can also apply new shingles. If the valleys weren’t installed with a separate shield for water and ice, have it installed as well.
This issue is very easy to spot. Your shingles could be damaged if you see water spots in your ceiling right after it rains. Shingles can be easily damaged because they’re exposed to the sun, hail, debris, ice and wind. They can also get damaged as years pass.
Your roof could have shingles that have been blown off. There could also be holes in them especially if you have a tree overhead. Water pooling could also be an issue. Check for issues by removing the debris.
Here are the possible solutions:
- Use a flexible roof sealant to fill holes and gaps.
- Replace the damaged and missing shingles if it makes sense.
- If it doesn’t make sense like if there are too many damaged or missing shingles, consider a total roof replacement if advised by a competent roofer.
It can be pretty hard to determine the leak is coming from a window or from the siding/veneer. It could also come from the roof itself. The best way to determine for sure is with the help of a professional roofer that will perform any of these possible solutions:
- Use a flexible roof sealant to fill holes and gaps.
- Replace the damaged and missing shingles if it’s caused by the roof itself leaking.
- Fix flashing and vents if they’re causing the issue.
Most leaking gutters are caused by clogs. The water will accumulate and can find its way into your walls. This is why it’s recommended that you regularly inspect and clear the clogging. You should also install a gutter shield.
Common Causes of Roof Leaks
Now that you know where the leaking usually happens, it’s time for you to know the common causes of roof leaks:
- Cracked flashing
A flashing is a thin metal piece installed under the joints and shingles. It’s installed to serve as a water barrier so expect leaks to happen if there are cracks. Sometimes, the tar that was used as a seal gets corroded and that can lead to the cracks.
This can be more problematic if the damaged flashing is at a junction of the roofing. Even if it’s just a small crack, it can lead to leaking.
Here’s how to fix a cracked flashing:
- Find the source.
- Remove the nails securing the cracked flashing.
- Move shingles that are in the way.
- Take out the damaged flashing.
- Use roofing nails to put the replacement in place.
- Use a roofing sealant to seal the nails.
- Improperly sealed valleys
This can be because you had it installed by an incompetent contractor. In addition, valleys can lose their seal over time. It’s recommended that you hire a professional to solve this issue as it involves the addition of a new barrier against leaks.
- Ice dams
Ice dams can be very heavy so they can cause damage. You can buy a roof rake so you can regularly remove the snow that’s building up along the edge of your roof. There are also products that you can buy to melt the ice dams.
- Clogged gutters
The issue is clogged gutters. In order to solve the issue, you need to unclog the gutters. Makes sense, right? Use a ladder and use your hands to clear them of debris. Once that’s done, water will be able to flow freely.
- Underlay issue
Strong winds can help rain find its way through gaps. A good roofer will install an underlay so the water will be driven away. Rotting can affect the underlay and will diminish its effectiveness. Have a good roofer repair or replace it.
- Slipped slates or tiles
This can cause water to build up on the underlay and add pressure to it. This can lead to leaks. For best results, have a roofer fix the slipped slates or tiles.
- Damaged shingles
Strong winds and rain can cause this. You can easily see if you have damaged shingles just by looking up. They’ll be pretty easy to spot especially if you’ll use a pair of binoculars.
You can replace them if you’re an experienced DIYer. Remove the nails keeping the damaged shingles in place. Replace the damaged ones with new ones and secure in place with nails.
- Vent boot cracks
The vent pipes play an important role of removing excess moisture from your home. They’re inserted through the roof and are sealed in place with flashing and a rubber boot. Both can experience issues like decay and damages over time.
Use a knife to remove the damaged or decaying boot. If there are shingles that connect to the vent pipes, use a pry bar to break their seal. Place the new boot underneath the shingles
- Improperly installed skylight
Skylight installers will obviously create holes in your roof for the skylights. This part can be tricky and can lead to leaks if they’re improperly installed. Call the installers back to fix it if it’s still under warranty. If not, contact a more competent installer to fix the installation.
You can also try to solve the problem by using clear silicone to seal the cracks if you find them. You should also check the flashing. Replace them if needed.
- Cracked chimney
There’s a mortared part on the top of the chimney. Strong winds and rain can wreak havoc on this part. You also have to worry about shingles and flashing becoming loose.
Fixing a cracked chimney can be a complicated process so it’s better to just hire a professional.
The Importance of Fixing a Roof Leak
The problem with leaking roofs is you only see and feel the problem if it’s raining hard. So once the rain has passed and the leaking stops and the pails that they used to catch the leaks have been set aside, a lot of homeowners suddenly forget about the problem.
You have to understand that the leaking is not the problem itself. It’s a result of the main problem which is damages to the roof and its surrounding structures.
The mere fact that your roofing is damaged should be reason enough for you to fix it. It’s your first line of defense against the harsh elements including rain. If you’re stressed with a few leaks here and there, can you imagine how stressed you’re going to be as the leaks become worse? Yes, they’re going to get worse because the damages will get worse instead of better if you leave them be.
It’s not just the stress. It’s the threat to you, your family and your home. A home with a damaged roofing structure is a potentially unsafe one.
Speaking of unsafe, mold and mildew can also thrive in a structure that has a leaking roof. They can cause a myriad of health issues.
Let’s say that you put off repairs because you don’t want to spend money. As mentioned, the damages will just get worse which means the cost to repair them will get higher. Add that to the fact that your carpet, hardwood, furniture and appliances may get water damage and that adds to the expenses that you have to pay.
As far as expenses are concerned, the worst that can happen is there’ll be a need for a total roof replacement. Now, that’s going to be expensive. When that happens, you’ll be regretting that you put off spending a bit of money for the repair.
Finding Roof Leaks
Here’s the thing about finding roof leaks. It’s quite a challenge to find exactly where the leak is coming from. The water can enter one spot and leak at another spot. It can be easy to spot where it’s leaking but finding where it’s actually entering is more challenging.
The best time to find roof leaks is during a heavy rain. You obviously have to be very careful. The next best time is shortly after a heavy rain while it’s still leaking. Here’s what you need to do:
- Armed with a flashlight, go up your attic.
- Search for wet spots in the attic.
- Inspect the areas right above the wet spots.
- Trace the wet spots until you find their highest points. There should be a water trail for you to follow.
- Take measurements from the peak of the roof to the leak’s highest point over the gable end to the location of the leak.
- Once it’s safe to go on the roof (when it’s already dry), go up and find the exact spot using the measurements you’ve taken. You should be able to spot the exact spot that’s causing the leak.
- If you can’t find the spot, look a little bit higher.
Here are some important tips when you’re doing this:
- If you can’t do it while it’s still raining or shortly after it, have someone spray your room using a hose with a spray nozzle to mimic heavy rain. You can also do this while it’s raining to magnify the leaks.
- Be careful when you’re up in the attic especially if there’s already water damage in the ceiling. When in doubt, ask a roofing contractor to do it for you.
- Be careful when positioning and using the ladder to go up the roof.
- Be careful walking on the roof. If it’s a flat roof, it’s easier to do than a steep one, and it’s always a safer option to ask a roofing contractor to do it for you.
Importance of Hiring a Licensed Roofing Company
You might be tempted to save a few bucks by trying to DIY this project. While an experienced DIYer should be able to spot and fix leaks, it’s in your best interest to hire a licensed roofing company.
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t hire any roofer. You should hire a licensed contractor. This is so you can protect yourself from potential frauds and scams. This can also help you expect and get the best results.
Licensed roofing contractors have the skills, experience and expertise needed to do an effective and efficient job. With their help, you can actually save money down the line because mistakes will be minimized. They will also get the job done right the first time and if for some reason they’re unable to do so, they offer a guarantee and warranty to make sure that they do it right. This is because as a licensed contractor, they have a reputation to protect. They stand by their work.
Besides, the state has your back. You can file a dispute and complaint and the state will work with you to ensure that your expectations are met.
Here are more specific reasons why you should hire a professional:
- They’re updated.
These professionals know the roofing industry. They’ve been in the business for years and they regularly update their knowledge to make sure that they’re offering updated services. They know the latest when it comes to the best materials and practices.
They’re also updated with the ever-changing laws and guidelines. Do you really want to concern yourself with these changes? Who has the time?
- You’re protected from liabilities.
What happens if you or an unlicensed handyman you hired gets into an accident? You’d be liable for it. On the other hand, a licensed professional is covered by insurance to free you from responsibilities in case something bad happens.
A licensed professional also has bond which will provide you with additional protection.
- You don’t have to worry about pulling permits.
Do you really want to get stopped in the middle of the project simply because you didn’t get the right permits for it? A licensed contractor knows the licensure requirements and they will comply. This is because they want to be able to focus on the job without worrying about the government knocking. They don’t want to get in trouble as should you.
- You’re protected by a contract.
A lot of disputes are because of a lack of contract. Not having one leads to misunderstandings and unmet expectations. On the other hand, a contract makes everything clear.
A licensed roofing contractor actually prefers having a contract. They know that this will protect you and it will protect them as well. It’s actually a win-win situation.
A good contract will also have a “mechanic’s lien”. Basically, this clause protects you just in case the roofer runs off with your money.
- You will get quality materials.
The best licensed roofers are partnered with the best suppliers. You will get the best materials for your money. This is very important because you wouldn’t want to experience the same problems later on simply because poor quality materials are used.
- It’s more cost-effective.
It’s true that you can save money upfront by not hiring a professional. However, you have to look at the cost-effectiveness. At the end of the day, are you really saving money?
You’d have to buy materials. You probably won’t be buying in bulk so you won’t get bulk discounts. You have no established relationship with suppliers so they won’t be inclined to give you discounts. You also have to spend money driving around looking for the materials that you need.
On the other hand, an experienced professional has established relationships with the best suppliers in the area that offers the best deal. This is why they get discounts and they can pass on the discount to you.
In addition, you don’t have to buy tools and equipment that you need for this project. Sure, you can buy them, but they’re an unnecessary expense considering that you probably won’t need them ever again. It’s not cost-effective to invest in these tools and equipment unless you do this for a living.
Get Free Quotes from Competing Contractors
It’s very important that you hire a professional for most of these roofing jobs. If your roof leaks when it rains hard, then there is most probably a major issue that’s best resolved by a professional. Besides, you can make matters worse if you try and do it yourself. You can easily cause more damages as you walk on your roof.
This is not to say that you should hire the first roofer that you find. It’s in your best interest to find the best deal so you have to get in touch with around 4 of the best local contractors and ask them for their best quotes. It’s a good idea to let them know that you’re shopping around for the best quote. This is to subtly let them know that they’re competing with other contractors so they have to send in their best quote to be considered.
The easiest way to do this is to use the form that you see on this site. Complete the form with the basic details asked and your details will be sent to the best local roofing contractors near you. They know that they’re competing with equally-competent contractors so they know that they have to send the best quote if they want your business.
Once you’ve sent the form, all you need to do is to wait for them to get in touch with you. You should receive itemized quotes that you can compare and choose from.