Leaking roofs are no fun. They always seem to show up at the worst time possible, and even when the roof looks ok, water generally finds a way into attics if there is even a tiny hole or opening anywhere on the roof. There are countless of possibilities that can result in watermarks showing up over our ceilings, but in this article, I’ll list some of the most common reasons why roof leaks occur.
#1 – Pipe boots
Toping the list is the most common form of roof penetration in homes, regardless of when they were built. All of our restrooms and sinks need some sort of plumbing vent in order for water to flow properly, and almost always that requires a PVC pipe to go straight through the roof to vent. Pipe boots have a plastic base that is attached to the roof and a rubber gasket that fits snuggly around the pipe, creating a watertight seal. This rubber gasket dries up and begins to crack and is usually the first thing to go, even on “newer” roofs that still have years to go before needing to be replaced. If the leak is happening above a bathroom or kitchen, or in rooms that are located in the second or third story above a bathroom or kitchen, then chances are that the rubber gasket has run its course.
#2 – Restricted water flow
Is the leak happening above a skylight or chimney? Or maybe it’s happening in a section where roof sections that run perpendicular to each other meet. Oftentimes this means that water has a hard time flowing freely towards the gutters and it’s finding its way into your home instead. Many times this is due to leaves and branches having accumulated around these spots, creating a bit of a dam that restricts water flow. Other times it’s simply due to the deterioration of the roofing materials used to keep the water out. In either case, it would be a good idea to consider having a “cricket” built to facilitate water flow and help prevent future problems. And remember to have the leaves/branches cleared around end of year!
#3 – Weather events and holidays
You might be asking yourself “Ok so weather events like storms makes sense, but holidays?” Yep… holidays have a factor too (more on that in a bit.) Roofs that have some age to them (say 10+ years) are a bit more vulnerable to being damaged during a storm. For example, asphalt shingles may lose a bit of their strength to adhere to one another, possibly yielding to allow wind to blow under the shingle and ripping it off during a storm. The wind can also break loose some of the bigger branches of a tree above the roof, causing them to fall and damage the roof, creating a leaking problem. Just something to keep in mind when a storm occurs, and perhaps a quick visual inspection of the roof (when possible) can help see if any damage has occurred. Also, almost without fail, we receive leak calls at least twice a year (New Years and July 4th) that we find are due to stray bullets falling from the sky and punching a hole on the roof. Fortunately, the velocity is barely enough for the bullet to wedge itself into the roofing material, keeping the occupants of the residence safe, but it does cause issues with water leaking from a roof of any age. Yikes!
Roof leaks can occur for a large number of reasons and even for roofs that are newer in age. Hopefully this article can help the reader narrow down the reasons that could be causing the roof to leak. And it’s always a good idea to have a professional come out and provide you with specific answers!
Stay safe and dry!