Having to run after a bucket to catch dripping water from your ceiling is probably not very high on your list of things to do. It is also a sign that you have some serious issues with your roof that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Knowing what can cause leaks is your first step to preventing that search for a bucket.
Here are five common causes of a leaky roof:
Flashing is pieces of metal, usually aluminum. These are installed under shingles on the edge of your roof or at the joints of your roof. They are often also installed around chimneys. Their purpose is to create a water-tight seal where these joints occur. Flashing is also sometimes exposed in areas where there are valleys between two sections of roofing and will appear as long stretches of sheet metal. Sometimes roofers will overcoat the flashing with tar. Over time, that coating can crack, causing water to lay on the sheet metal and corrode it, eventually causing the sheet metal to become damaged and leak.
Hand in hand with cracked flashing, you may experience a bad seal job by a contractor. If you see wet spots in your home that run in a similar location to where two roof planes meet, you could have a bad seal job on your hands. Be sure to work with a reputable local roofing contractor to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
Shingles are the exterior, protective layer of your roof, and your last defense against snow and rain. When shingles break off, you are prone to leaks. This could happen as your shingles near the end of their life or due to a storm such as a hailstorm. You should be able to see missing shingles from the ground. Additionally, after a storm you can easily spot broken shingles that have fallen into your yard.
A common cause of leaky roofs in winter is ice dams. These occur when ice forms at the edge of the roof and causes melting water to back up under your shingles. When this happens, water now has a path to enter your home interior. Proper insulation can help prevent this. Find a local roofing contractor to help you determine what insulation needs you may have.
If you can see debris such as leaves sticking out of your gutters, you are looking to have future problems. When your gutters become clogged, water has nowhere to flow. Rainwater or snowmelt will pool in one section of the gutter system, and in turn, have an opportunity to flow behind the gutters and under your shingles.
Each of these five issues can cause a ceiling to leak. Keeping an eye on these five potential causes can also help prevent leaks from occurring.