So, your roof is leaking. That’s a terrible place to be. Do you have to replace your leaking roof completely? That answer depends. Why? It depends upon where it is leaking and how long it has been leaking. If your roof has been leaking a bit every year, the plywood sheathing may be rotted out which affects the structural integrity of your building — not to mention weatherproofing.
Before we get to the answer, could this leak have been prevented?
What Causes A Roof Leak?
If you notice that your roof is leaking inside (dripping), know that it may have been leaking for a few days or weeks. There are several causes of roof leaks, many of which are completely preventable:
- Flashing – flashing are thin pieces of metal installed to provide a water barrier between joints and objects on your roof and shingles. Flashing can corrode and crack if it’s not sealed well, allowing water to leak into your home.
- Shingles – Severe weather like wind, heavy rain, or hail can break or crack your shingles, allowing water to leak into your home.
- Valleys – Between the major areas of your roof are valleys where water flows. If they’re not sealed well or damaged by weather, water may leak into your home.
- Roof Vents – Vents enable air to circulate in your attic. If they’re not properly installed or the seals crack over time, they can allow water to leak into your home.
- Clogged Gutters – Water that can’t be diverted through your gutters can cause water damage to the foundation of your roof, which can lead to rotting and leaks.
- Ice Dams – Water that doesn’t flow in freezing weather can cause ice to build up and can crack and damage your roof around the base. This can allow water to leak into your home.
- Chimney – The mortar (mud cap) that joins your roof and chimney can crack and dry out, or even erode in rough weather, allowing water to leak into your home.
- Skylights – Improperly installed skylights or cracked flashing around your skylights can allow water to enter through them.
- Attic Ventilation – Condensation can built up in your attic if you don’t have proper ventilation. This water can eventually pool up and drip down into your walls and ceilings.
- Age – Appropriately vented and installed correctly, you should decades of life from your roof (based on your shingle manufacturer’s specifications). At that point, shingles become brittle, can break easily, and leaks can begin.
This is why annual preventative roof maintenance is paramount. Don’t think of the cost now, think of how it extends your roof’s lifespan.
Finally, these studies show that roofs with proactive maintenance programs can last 21 years, compared to only 13 years with a reactive program.Roofing Contractor
How to Find a Roof Leak
While you may see drips or water spots on your ceiling, that doesn’t mean the leak is in that area of your roof. With the assistance of gravity, leaks typically travel from a high point, down rafters and vents, pooling in insulation, and ultimately finding its way into your home.
Finding the actual leak can be quite difficult… we’d recommend starting with a general inspection and, if you don’t find anything, move into your attic to look for drips or paths where the water is running.
- Inspect the roof for any visible damage, such as missing or damaged shingles.
- Check for any potential sources of water infiltration, such as cracked flashing or clogged gutters.
- If the source of the leak is not immediately apparent, check the attic for any water stains or mold growth, which can indicate the leak’s location.
- Once the source of the leak has been identified, make any necessary repairs, such as replacing damaged shingles or flashing. At times, it’s just adding some roofing sealant liberally to the leak to plug it up. Keep in mind that sealing a leak may be temporary if there’s additional damage that needs to be repaired, like cracked flashing or dried-out seams.
- Monitor the area for any further leaks to ensure the repair was successful. If the leak persists, give us a call and we can inspect and repair the roof.
Be sure to cut out and repair any insulation and sheetrock that has water damage and be sure to soak up or wipe down any wet areas in your attic. Water damage can spread, turn to mold damage, which can be quite expensive to repair.
Can You Replace Only Part of a Roof?
Yes, you can replace only part of a roof. Depending upon how damaged your roof is, this can be an excellent option. Perhaps your roof leak is from hiring that Craigslist handyman. We’ve all been there. But now that you know how important it is to contract with a professional roofer, you’ll avoid that trap.
If the damage is more significant but confined to one side of the roof, partial reroofing is an option that will cost thousands of dollars less than doing the entire roof.Bob Villa
You can always replace shingles, tiles, or even metal roofing. The issue will be aesthetic — depending upon how old your roof is. Roofing materials fade and change color over time. A partial roof replacement will be easier to blend in than just a spot or two. If you plan on selling your home before it’s completely reroofed, let’s match the materials as closely as possible.
Complete Roof Replacement for a Leaking Roof
Yes, if the leaking roof has caused significant damage, the cost difference to completely replace your roof may be minimal. Your insurance policy may not support a complete roof replacement for your leaky roof when a partial roof replacement will do. As always, we can work with you so you can see your options. Roof replacement can be done in phases so that your leaking roof is covered by insurance, but the upgrade is self-pay. It’s really up to you.
DO NOT WAIT!
If your roof is leaking, let’s get to the bottom of the issue — or the top — and protect you and your investment. Leaks can grow over time, cause a lot of damage, and even mold. As soon as you see signs of a roof leak, schedule a free estimate today with us. The longer you wait, the more expensive the repair may be.