10 Common Causes Of Roof Leaks [Important]

causes of roof leak

Whether it’s a big or small roof, over the course of time, roof leaking is probably the most common roof problem that you face at your residential or commercial place. Let’s face it, no one likes putting a bucket under the leaking roof whenever it rains.

So, what causes your roof to leak in the first place? How can you prevent or fix them? In this article, we at Kimball roofing has curated the top common causes of roof leaks and how to possible prevent or fix it.

So without further ado, Here are the top 10 common causes of roof leaks:

1. Damaged Flashing

Roof flashing is a galvanized steel use to divert water away from the critical area on the roof.  Flashing is always installed in valleys where two roof slopes meet, and therefore, is susceptible to getting cracked.

Generally, roofers would use material like tar to seal the flashing together and over time, this can get corroded by the wind, air, moisture, etc. and therefore, damage the flashing.

How To Fix This?

First, you have to locate the exact location at where the flashing is cracked. Once identified, pry up the nails used to secure the old flashing. Lift any shingles out of the way and remove the cracked segment.

Gently put a new run of flashing in its place, fasten the new flashing in the same pattern as your old piece using roofing nails. Then, apply a coat of roofing sealant to the nail heads.

2. Broken Shingles

Roof shingles are roof covering consist of individual overlapping elements used to protect your inner roof. Shingles can easily be damaged by strong wind and harsh weather, and therefore, broken shingles is one of the most common causes of roof leaks.

How To Fix This?

The above video pretty much summarize how to fix broken shingles. But basically, you have two case scenario. First is if part of the shingles is missing and second is if shingle is simply cracked or broken.

If part of a shingle is missing, you’ll have to replace the whole thing. First see if you have any leftover shingles from the last time the roof was worked on (with any luck, the builder or the roofer who handled the job left some behind). Otherwise, buying the new one would probably the best option.

If a shingle is simply cracked or torn, you don’t have to replace it—just repair it. Start by applying a thick bead of roofing sealant under the crack. Press the shingle down and apply a second bead of sealant on top of the crack. Then spread the sealant with a putty knife.

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3. Skylights Problems

Improper fixture of skylights can definitely lead to roof leakage. As you know, skylights act as a direct barrier between the outside and your house and therefore, any problem occurring on your skylights has a direct impact on your living.

The 2 most common cause for skylights leakage is either they were improperly installed (not properly measured) or the decayed insulation along the skylights edges.

How To Fix This?

If the reason for the problem is simply because of the decayed insulation along the edges, then you can simply apply the new insulation glue around the skylights. Otherwise, you might have to consider replacing the skylights if there’s any crack or if it’s improperly measured.

4. Clogged Gutter

A gutter is probably the place where it gets corroded the most. As you know, it is the main component of the water discharge system of the roof. Any clogging in the gutter passage can make the water gets accumulated in one area and hence, the water will have more of an opportunity to seep through cracks.

How To Fix This?

It’s fairly simple and straightforward. To fix clogged gutter, all you have to do is climb up the ladder and investigate what’s blocking the gutter passage.

Leaves are often the main culprit behind this problem. Then you can either clean off the blockage by yourself or hire a roof cleaning company in Portland to get the job done for you.

5. Cracked Chimney

Cracked chimney is a sure fire way for water to get leaked into your house from the roof. Since the chimney is directly connected with the roof, any crack around the area of connection can easily make the water seep through.

Since the area around where the chimney is connected with the roof is being sealed with mortar, tar and sand, this can easily get eroded over time.

How To Fix This?

Since this is mainly due to the material problem, you can either try to replace the sealing material by yourself or we recommend hire roofing professionals like us to get the job done for you.

6. Vent Booting Is Cracked

Roof vents are used for a ventilation process in your house, mostly in the steep-slope roof. The main goal is to expel any extra moisture in the house and to provide a means of allowing outside air to enter and exit attics and ventilation spaces.

One of the main reasons why vent cracks is due to an improper use of nail for flashing of the vent on the roof, which over time, can make the flashing breaks and cracks

How To Fix This?

Cracked vent can only be fixed replacing the vent. First is to remove all the shingles, replace the vent and use the proper nail to fix the vent onto the roof.

7. You Have Ice Dam Buildup

According to the definition here, An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas.

A non-uniform distribution of temperature from outside and inside the house leads to formation of ice dams.

How To Fix And Prevent This?

Consider investing in the roof rake, which is essentially looks like a sideways shovel with a long handle, and use it too reach up onto the roof and remove at least the lower four feet of snow from the roof edge.

If you happen to find the ice dams built up, use ice melting products or ice blower to remove them while they’re at the initial state of forming.

8. Condensation In The Attic

Attic condensation generally happens during winter & spring months when warm, moist air from the main living area rises into the attic space. When that warm, moist air meets the chilly underside of your roof’s deck, condensation occurs.

In winter, the condensation turns into frost, which doesn’t posses any harm, but then when the frost melts, this turns back into condensation again, which makes the insulation and wood wet. Now, your attic is vulnerable to mold and rot, which can ultimately makes the roof leak.

How To Fix This?

First off to treat the mold growth then isolate the attic from temperature fluctuation. If the attic is badly damaged and rot, you might need to consider replacing it.

9. Holes

This is a very obvious roof leak cause and holes form directly on your roof and surrounding materials have the largest impact on your house. This is often cause by animals or heavy storms and hails, which makes it fairly difficult to prevent.

Roof holes can also be more sneaky, living for years until an inspection uncovers them.

How To Fix This?

The best fix is with a small piece of flashing under the shingle and not just a dab of caulk. This is another easy job for the homeowner or can be combined with a thorough inspection from a professional roofer.

10. Age Of Your Roof

Just like anything out there, roofs also have their own lifetime. If after going through the above 9 causes of roof leaks, you still couldn’t figure out the reasons, it could be simply because your roofs have reached it’s time limit.

How To Fix And Prevent This?

Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell or pin point the exact reason to fix this issue. You would have to hire a professional roof inspection company to analyze your roof condition.

The average lifespan of a roof is about 25 years. So if your roof start malfunctioning before that, it might due to the poor quality of work being done.

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