One of the most common and expensive issues that homeowners can face is a roof repair. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to have a new roof installed and figure that they don’t need to do anything to maintain it for the next 20 or so years. That is a huge mistake that can be costly in the end. Taking care of your roof to prevent leaks is easy if you follow some simple steps. By frequently checking the most likely roof leak spots you can stay one step ahead from a disaster. The most likely spots are the chimney, plumbing vent flashing, ice dams, skylights, wall step flashings, furnace shingles, fields of shingles and missing shingles. Checking these areas will help to identify where water can be leaking into your attic, and then into your house. Here are a few of those areas and what to look for:
Your Flashing Has Cracked: Roofers often use tar to seal the flashing together and that can corrode over time. In the event that your flashing is left exposed, elements like wind and rain could be the reason behind its crack. Replacing old flashing is a quick fix, and then cover the new flashing with new shingles.
You Have Broken Shingles: This is easy to spot sometimes after a heavy windstorm. You might have shingles that have popped up, or some can be on your lawn. Shingles can easily be replaced and held down with nails.
Your Valleys Aren’t Properly Sealed: This is the area at the top of your roof where the sides come together. If it is not sealed properly, water can leak under and cause some major damage. This fix needs to be done by a professional because of the complexity.
Your Vent Booting Is Cracked: Roof vents are those things that look like small pipes sticking out of the top of your roof. They’re used to expel excess moisture from the inside of the house. Over time the flashing can break that holds the pipes in place. This can be a quick fix if spotted in time.
You Have Ice Dam Buildup: 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 combined weight of the ice itself can damage the roof, as well as the water just sitting on the roof’s surface. You can avoid damage by either removing snow from the roof above the Dam, or treating the Dam with an ice melting product.
Your Skylights Were Improperly Installed: This is a leak that is very easy to spot. You will notice dripping once a leak has occurred. There are 2 main reasons for this type of leak; improperly measuring and fitting the skylights upon installation or decayed insulation along the skylights edges. Clear silicone can fix this leak, or the flashing might need to be replaced if that doesn’t stop the leak.
Your gutters are clogged: Clogged gutters are a simple fix but can do a lot of damage. Debris can get clogged in your gutter which can cause rainwater to pool in one area of the roof and have more of an opportunity to seep through cracks. It is recommended that at least twice a year you clean out your gutters of any debris that has accumulated. Get a ladder, get up on the roof and clean out the gutters.
You Have A Cracked Chimney: You can look for wear and tear along the mortared area around your chimney, as well as any holes in the mortared joints where the chimney connects with the roof. Mortar is essentially just a thick mixture of water, sand, and cement. It erodes easily in harsh weather conditions. Leaks from worn away mortar can cause water to leak into your roof.
Leaks rarely happen at a convenient time. Sometimes leaks will happen during a rainstorm, or even during a shower! You can take care of these emergency situations by using plastic sheeting to cover the leak area on the roof until you are able to assess the issue. The sheeting needs to be stapled onto 2x4s that can then be nailed along the eaves, drape over the roof edge and then hang some feet below on the other side of the room. This should be adequate to cover the whole leak area.
Proper maintenance of your roof and checking it through the years will help you be aware if there are areas that need your attention before a problem happens.
With the right care regimen, every roof should have the ability to keep your family warm and dry for decades.