There are few things as agitating as scrambling around to find a pail or some other container every time it starts raining. More importantly, even one small drip usually indicates that here is a much greater issue involving your roof. Knowing the root cause is the key to tackling this problem, and there are several possibilities you’ll want to investigate. Here are 5 common issues which will usually explain a leaky roof.
Leaky Roof Check #1: Cracked Flashing
The thin strips of metal installed underneath your shingles and on the joints of your roof are called “flashing.” They are there to provide a water-resistant barrier which may be either concealed or exposed. Broken flashing will usually appear as large cracks, which occur when the tar used to seal the flashing together corrodes over time. In the event that your flashing is exposed, strong winds may also cause the flashing to crack and allow moisture to seep in under your shingles. Cracked flashing should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent further leeks.
Leaky Roof Check #2: Broken Shingles
Being that shingles are the exterior layer of a roof, this issue should be fairly easy to spot. You can identify missing or broken shingles by observing different-colored patches on your roof. You may also notice shingles or their debris littering your yard after a strong wind or rainstorm. These will need to be individually replaced.
Leaky Roof Check #3: Your Valleys Aren’t Sealed Properly
The areas where two plains of a roof join together are called the “valleys.” These areas are usually sloped, so if they are not properly sealed together, rainwater will drain into you’re your home’s interior as water runs down your roof. You can diagnose this problem by searching for wet spots that run along the seams of your roof. Poor valley seals usually occur for one of two reasons; either they were not properly sealed during construction, or rain and ice have caused the seals to erode over time. This issue usually requires that a new leak barrier be installed, and is therefore best dealt with by a professional.
Leaky Roof Check #4: Cracked Vent Booting
All of those small pipes sticking up on top of your roof are vents, which are installed to expel excess moisture from inside the house. Leaks here are usually identifiable by dark patches surrounding the bottom of the vent. This is because the rubber boot covering the vent where it joins with the roof (and usually sealed with flashing) has corroded, and needs to be replaced and resealed.
Leaky Roof Check #5: Ice Dam Buildup
When ice builds up at the edge of a roof and prevents water from running off, it is called an “ice dam.” The combined weight of the ice alone can damage your roof, not to mention the corrosiveness of the excess water just pooling up, with nowhere to drain. This usually happens because the heat from your attic (and the rest of your house) is above freezing. This causes some of the snowfall to melt despite the cold temperatures outside. The water will then run between the roof’s surface and the snow, and will refreeze into ice once it hit’s the roof’s exterior edge. If you notice an ice dam forming, you may treat it with an ice melt product according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
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