Find and Fix Roof Leaks for a Drier Winter
It may have taken some time to arrive this year, but we are now officially in the Pacific Northwest rainy season. We appreciate the rain falling outside since it returns our natural world to green and healthy. What we don’t appreciate is that same rain falling inside! If the rainy season has introduced leaks into your home or business, it’s time to call in the professionals at Pacific West Roofing to repair those roof leaks.
Roof Leak Risks
No matter how small a leak is, allowing moisture into your home where it should not be can lead to mold and mildew buildup that can penetrate your home’s structure and even get into the HVAC system. Once the mold spores enter an HVAC system they can be distributed throughout a home through the air vents potentially leading to health problems — especially for those with allergies or asthma.
While movies and television often poke fun at roof leaks with homeowners scrambling to put buckets and pots and pans under persistent leaks, having water dripping from a ceiling is no laughing matter. A small leak can cause a puddle to form over time making the area slippery to walk on. A large leak can damage furniture, carpets, appliances, and really anything the water hits.
A roof leak can allow water to reach the rafters, ceiling joists, and even wall frames of a home leading to wood rot and decay. That water can deteriorate and weaken the framing posing a danger of collapse at worst, but also leading to an expensive repair at the least.
Signs of a Roof Leak
The key to avoiding major damage from roof leaks is to catch the leaks before they have time to grow too big. Ideally, professional roofing contractors should be hired to conduct a complete roof inspection annually, but there are also signs of roof leaks that homeowners can look for.
#1 Brown discoloration in the attic or on ceilings could be a sign of a roof leak. Because rainwater travels along lumber and roof panels before it hits your ceiling, the site of the discoloration may not be exactly where the roof leak is.
#2 After heavy rain, you may notice water spots on exterior walls. The flashing where the roof meets the wall may be in need of repair and more than likely, the home’s siding will also be impacted.
#3 Skylights are notorious for sprouting roof leaks. Look for water stains at the header of the skylight or the side toward the peak of your roof. Those stains can be from faulty flashing that allows rainwater to seep in between the window frame and roof structure.
#4 Mold and mildew buildup around heating and air vents. If a roof leak has been persistently allowing water to seep into an attic, mold and mildew may have built up and penetrated a home’s HVAC system.
#5 Unexplained puddles or drips from the ceiling are no-brainer signs that there is a leak somewhere in your home. Depending on where the water is found, the problem may or may not be from a roof leak, but the problem is certainly worth another look!
What Causes A Roof Leak
There are several causes of roof leaks, some that can be easily addressed and others that may require more challenging repairs.
- Rain that seeps through the flashing around a vent can work its way through a roofing system and ‘escape’ through a skylight. Leaks surrounding roof penetrations such as skylights, vents, or chimneys, can be explained by poor installation of flashing or faulty/deteriorated materials.
- Moisture around the bottom of a skylight glass could be caused by condensation. Condensation is caused when warm air hits the cold glass. Because of this, skylights are made with condensation channels around the edges to capture and drain water, but the weepholes that drain the water can become clogged and overflow the channels.
Roof Leaks from Trees and Branches
- Trees can be a big culprit to roof damage. Branches that are too close to a roof can scrape away shingles, damage gutters, and even damage framing.
- Those twigs, leaves, pinecones, and other assorted tree parts can cover a roof and clog gutters allowing for water to build up and seep into the roof structure.
- An easy way to prevent these roof leaks is to take the time to trim branches and clear the debris each season.
Roof Leaks from Pest Damage
- Pests can also cause roof leaks. There are birds that like to peck at shingles making holes that destroy the shingles. Birds sometimes choose to nest in gutters causing rain to back up in gutters and overflow to areas where it shouldn’t be.
- Wasps and bees also like to nest on roofs, often in the corners.. These pests can work their way behind shingles and flashing which disrupts the materials from laying as they should causing damage.
- Finally, rodents can cause roof leaks because they like to chew and those teeth can work their way through roof vents, shingles, and right through to the wooden framing. All of the activity from pests can lead to cracks, holes, and structural damage that weakens the roof and increases the likelihood of leaks.
- Inadequate insulation in the attic can also cause a roof to leak. If insulation is lacking, the heat from a home penetrates the roof causing built-up snow and ice to melt leading to a build-up of moisture and water.
- The same can happen if a roof is not properly ventilated. Over time this excess moisture can weaken the roof structure leading to roof leaks.
Inspecting a Roof for Leaks
There are lots of places on a roof that can spring leaks, especially if the roof was not properly installed or if it’s showing signs of age. Over time flashing may become cracked or warped, shingles may go missing or be damaged, or years of wear and tear may finally be taking a toll. While homeowners can do a visual inspection from the ground for missing shingles, identifying damage or signs of a pest invasion is best done by a close-up look at the roof.
We recommend regular roof inspections. Pacific West Roofing’s expert roof inspectors will walk every inch of your roof, closely examining all potential entryways for water from the areas around chimneys and vents to skylights to shingles that just don’t look right. Once they are done they will provide you with a checklist of their findings and discuss your options as well as roof maintenance tips like keeping gutters and the roof clear and clean. We understand the need to replace a roof is something no one wants to hear so we’ll offer cost-effective repair alternatives to replacement if we can, but also assure you a quality replacement that will last for decades if you need it. Contact us to see how we can help.