How to Prevent and Repair Roof Leaks
That old saying, “prepare and prevent, don’t repair and repent” can apply to a lot of things in life, including—and especially—your roof. Your roof keeps you dry and safe, but even small spots of roof damage can allow water to seep in and create a leak that can lead to costly water damage in other areas of your home. So follow these tips for what kinds of roof damage to look for so you can get these areas fixed before you’re running for buckets during the next downpour.
The Anatomy of a Roof Leak
First, understand that the location of the roof damage where the water comes in isn’t always directly over the spot where the water is coming out inside your house. Often, water will seep in and then travel some distance to other areas and then start causing water damage in a spot somewhat removed from the initial entry site. But while on its way, the water is also affecting any other area it has touched. So you really have to be very proactive in preventing leaks in your roof in the first place. We recommend inspecting your roof after every major storm and at least once a season to make sure you catch and fix any suspicious spots before it’s too late.
Examine your roof from outside—carefully.
You can get on a ladder and look for yourself, but we recommend using binoculars from the ground for safety purposes; or call us at (703) 794-8513 to schedule a professional on-the-roof inspection. As an experienced roof repair team, we are able to detect small spots of damage that you might miss, saving you thousands of dollars in more serious water damage problems down the line.
If you spot any of the following signs of damage, call us immediately:
- Shingle loss, cracking, buckling, warping, etc.
- If you have wooden shingles, pay attention to mold, mildew, discoloration, splitting and curling.
- Flashing integrity: these strips of material should provide a watertight seal around chimneys, roof valleys, peaks and vents. If the flashing is broken, cracked, or damaged, water can get inside.
- Gutters with a heavy amount of shingle granules (shows shingles are aging and losing their ability to keep water outside where it belongs). Also note: if gutters are rusty, detaching from the house, leaking, cracking or clogged, they are not efficiently directing water away from your home, which means it could be getting inside somewhere. Clogged gutters are a major source of water leaks into homes, so have them cleaned regularly! (Yes, we clean gutters too.)
- Check the chimneys and vents. Any loose mortar or brick or damaged flashings should be addressed immediately.
Prevent leaks in your roof from the inside out.
If your roof looks fine from the outside, double check from the inside as well. The ability of your roof to repel leaks also has some indoor components aside from those we discussed on the outside. Check all of these items and if you notice any problems, contact us:
- Examine the attic for any moisture marks or water stains on the ceiling, walls and rafters.
- Check for signs of paint or wallpaper peeling or bubbling.
- Is there any mold or mildew forming? This is a sign of moisture getting in, and can also be a health hazard that needs prompt attention.
- Check that your roof ventilation system is not blocked, even in the winter. If the attic is not ventilated either via ridge vents, louvers or soffit vents, moisture and heat buildup will overwhelm the materials under your roof, such as the rafters and sheathing, causing them to rot. Too much heat can also buckle the shingles and damage the insulation.
- Also check your utility bill—an unexpected increase in energy usage can indicate roof ventilation problems.
By being aware of these points of roof damage (both indoors and outdoors), preventing leaks in your roof from developing and damaging your home is much easier. Remember to inspect these items after any severe weather and at least once a season. If you see any of these problems or suspect others, Affordable Quality Roofing today at (703) 794-8513.
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