9 Most Common Causes Of Roof Leaks And How To Identify Them

Common Roofing Problems and Identifying Them

Let’s face the facts. One of the biggest headaches any homeowner can face is a leaky roof. Nobody wants to run for a bucket every time it rains, and replacing your whole roof is not always the best option. Our trained staff at Advantage Home Exteriors is specially equipped to evaluate any potential issues you may be having with your roof. One small drip can indicate a larger roofing problem – and every homeowner knows that means time and money.

Not every leak requires a whole roof replacement to fix, either. To save your investment, we have compiled a list of the nine most common causes of roof leaks and how to identify them. When leaks such as the ones listed occur, they can often be fixed without replacing your whole roof.

1. There is a Cracked Flashing

Identifying the issue: Flashing is thin layers of metal installed under the shingles and joints of your roof. These can either be concealed or exposed. Broken flashing usually features large cracks.

Identifying the cause: Often, tar seals the flashing on your roof. Over time this tar breaks down, exposing portions of your flashing. Weather and exposure to the sun cause the metal to dry out and crack.

2. The Vent Booting Is Cracked

Identifying the issue: Roof vents look like small domes or pipes sticking out of your roof. They are used primarily to expel moisture from your attic. You can identify if there is a leak by checking for dark spots or musty odors on your roof or attic.

Identifying the cause: These are often sealed with flashing around the opening and covered by a tight rubber boot around where the pipe sticks out of the roof. Over time this rubber sealing can crack and decay, causing small or even large leaks.

3. There are Improperly Sealed Valleys

Identifying the issue: A Valley is any point at which two different planes of your roof meet. Search for wet spots along the seams of your roof to identify leaks. Since these areas are usually sloped, rainwater can get inside if they are not sealed properly, as it runs down the roof.

Identifying the cause: Many reasons can cause this area to leak. Not having been sealed properly when your roof was installed is one of the more common occurrences. However, weather and exposure to the sun can cause the sealing to deteriorate over time.

4. The Skylights Are Leaking

Identifying the issue: Leaks like this should be easy to spot. There may be a leak if there is consistently a pool of water or small drips from the area surrounding the skylight. However, leaks near the highest point can be a flashing rather than a sealing issue.

Identifying the cause: There are two main causes for this. Improper measurement when cutting the holes for the skylight and the deterioration of the flashing and sealant around the window.

5. The Gutters Are Clogged

Identifying the issue: Usually, you can identify this when water pours over the side of your gutters rather than following its intended path. Another way to identify this is to check your downspouts when it rains. If little to no water is expelled, the downspout may be clogged.

Identifying the cause: Living in an area with large trees is usually the main culprit. You may need to regularly check and clean your gutters if this is the case.

6. The Chimney Is Cracked

Identifying the issue: You can often look for signs of wear and tear along the mortar or flashing where the chimney meets the roof. Damaged shingles and dark spots can occur where the chimney is leaking.

Identifying the cause: Weather is the main culprit here. When the mortar, a mixture of mud and water, deteriorates due to overexposure to the sun and elements, leaks and cracks can occur.

7. There Are Broken Or Deteriorating Shingles

Identifying the issue: By regularly looking at your roof for large changes in color and missing shingles, you can identify this easily. A broken shingle often appears as a slightly off-color or lighter spot on your roof.

Identifying the cause: Weather is one of the leading causes of this. Strong storms and winds can crack and break shingles off of your roof.

8. There Is Buildup On The Roof

Identifying the issue: If leaves or other materials block valleys and joints in your roof, water can pool, causing the sealant to deteriorate and cause leaks.

Identifying the cause: Weather and clogged gutters can cause this.

9. There’s Condensation In The Attic

Identifying the issue: The space will most likely show signs of mold and mildew. A strong, musty odor from the attic indicates that water has entered.

Identifying the cause: Your attic is the highest point in your home and often the warmest during the summer months. Warm and damp conditions can cause mold and mildew to grow if there is a leak. This is a serious problem and should be fixed by a professional team.

Learn How We Can Help

Advantage Home Exteriors has the expertise to evaluate your damaged or leaking roof. We service homes around Edgewood, Maryland. Call us at 410-612-0511 or click to contact us online.