One of the most costly experiences when it comes to home ownership is having to fix a leaky roof. Aside from the monetary aspect, most property owners don’t have the necessary expertise to hop on the roof and fix the problem themselves anyway. Having a routine maintenance schedule can help you avoid the hassle of having to deal with the problem of a leaky roof. If worse comes to worst, I would strongly recommend that you make use of a professional roof contractor when it comes time to fix a leaky roof. Even for professionals, finding the source of the leak can be its own mountain to climb as water rarely lines up with where it comes into the roof. Once on the roof, I have a few simple tips that you can follow to help locate and prevent potential leaks and possible damage causing problems.
The Usual Suspects
Protrusions through your roof are often the most common causes of a leaky roof due to the fact that they halt the natural flow of water off the roof. These are the first places that should be checked during a routine maintenance inspection, and are often the main sources of leaks.
- Chimneys: are your top source of leaks. Your chimney needs to be properly step, or counter flashed, and should be properly sealed using a bitumen or other water-repellent material.
- Skylights: tend to trap water between them. Check that the flashing is in good order and not loose, and check if the skylight itself is not possibly leaking.
- Plumbing Vents: need to have properly applied and uncracked neoprene or rubber seal to prevent water entry. Check whether they need to be sealed or painted, and have a look if there is any damage that has been caused by critters, either to the pipe or the flashing.
The Living Edge
Not only is the drip edge an aesthetically pleasing feature, it plays an important part in keeping water away from your fascia boards, and off the roof. A missing or badly damaged drip edge is a common source of leaks in eaves as well as a common cause of wood rot in fascia boards. Heavily wind-driven rain is often the cause of water entering the gap between the roof deck and the fascia board. Your drip edge also helps to keep unwanted insects and critters out of your home.
Step Flashing Areas of Interest
There are some areas around your roof that should be fitted with step flashing, as these areas are common sources of leaks throughout your house. Once on the roof, time should be taken to give the following a thorough inspection:
- Roof-to-wall transitions
- Any place where a low-quality sealant or mastic has been used in the past
Don’t Neglect Your Attic
Although the roof usually gets the brunt of it when it comes to leaks and water damage, often the attic is overlooked as the actual culprit. Improper ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning, condensation, vent fans, and animal or bug infestations can all lead to major problem in your roof. What to look out for:
- Algae stains on the interior plywood
- Soaked insulation when it hasn’t been raining
- Black rings or rust around nails – it’s the first sign that moisture is condensing in your attic
- Check your ventilation, it may be causing your attic to overheat or accumulate moisture
A thorough inspection, performed regularly by a professional roofing contractor, can monitor and assess your roof’s condition to help prevent any large and costly damages. It is recommended by the National Roofing Contractors Association that roof inspection and maintenance be performed regularly to help avoid any future problems. I hope this helped, and happy roofing.