Your roof is a key element of your home’s structural integrity. If it becomes damaged, it usually requires immediate attention to keep your home and family safe. With regular maintenance, your roof can last for many years. However, even a small leak can jeopardize your roof’s stability.
Roof leaks can lead to extensive water damage, which can be a homeowner’s worst nightmare. By knowing how to spot the warning signs of a roof leak (both from the inside and from the outside) and what areas to keep an eye on can help you catch issues before they become major problems.
Interior Warning Signs of a Roof Leak
You may have a roof leak if you notice any of these issues on the ceiling inside your home:
- Bubbled paint, which can be a sign of water accumulation just behind the paint layer
- Dark water stain on ceiling
- Dripping water that may be discolored
- A musty smell, indicative of mold growth
If you notice any of these signs, inspect the rest of the interior ceilings and your attic to assess the severity of the damage. Once you are done on the inside, head outside to inspect the roof. If you are inexperienced or nervous about being on top of your roof, call a professional immediately.
Areas Commonly Prone to Leaks
Valleys, where slopes of the roof meet, are susceptible to leaks simply due to their shape. Rainwater can pool within the valleys and eventually cause damage. This is why the valley areas are protected by flashing, which is typically made from strips of steel or copper. Flashing helps to divert water down the slope of your roof and into the gutters. A simple step to protect your roof from water damage is to inspect the flashing regularly, particularly after a bad storm or high winds, when flashing can get dislodged.
Protrusions like the chimney are among the most common sources of roof leaks. Most of the time, damaged or cracked flashing is to blame. The top of this flashing is sealed with caulk, which can erode and fail over time. To ensure the flashing and caulking around your chimney is holding up, it is important to have your chimney inspected approximately once a year, preferably before winter.
Windows and Skylights
While skylights are beautiful, they can be a major headache if they start leaking. Sometimes, skylights leak due to improper installation or worn weather sealing around the edges. With either of these issues, water can run down the sides of the glass and under the rubber seal.
If you notice leaking around windows or skylights on your ceiling, inspect the seal around the edges. Unless you have experience doing so and feel confident in your ability to fix the issue, call a roofing professional for repairs.
Missing or Broken Shingles
Shingles take the brunt of your roof’s exposure to the elements. As such, they are the most vulnerable part of your roof. Various things can cause shingles to break or become damaged, such as storms, strong winds, or hail.
When shingles are cracked, damaged, or missing, they create exposed areas on your roof. These are typically easy to spot. If you notice this type of damage, it is important to have the damaged shingles removed and replaced as soon as possible.
Other signs that your roof needs repair include sagging or moss growth on the shadier areas. Once a roof leak has begun, it is crucial to call your trusted local roofing professional to inspect and repair your roof as soon as possible.
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