10 Roof Leak Causes + How To Fix Them (Roof Leak Guide)
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10 Common Causes of Roof Leaks and How to Fix Them

Posted by Northface Construction  - Owner & Founder

There are few things more annoying than a leaky roof, and unless you want to break out the drip bucket every time you get some rain, you’re going to want to fix the leak.

Acting fast is going to be your best bet to avoid any further damage. To help you out with those frustrating leaks, we’ve made a list of the 10 most common causes for roof leaks and advice on how to fix them.

Your Roof is Past its Prime

Sometimes the issue is as simple as your roof just being too old. Roofs only last for so long. For example, asphalt shingles only last 15 to 20 years before they need to be replaced. Throughout its lifespan, roofing materials get battered by storms and wind and wear down, becoming less effective when it comes to keeping water out of your home. If this is the issue, it’s time to contact a roofing contractor to help get some new material for your roof to make it work like new once more.

How to Fix it:

Roof Vent Damage

Your roof vents are highly susceptible to damage and leaks during severe storms. If you have venting on your roof, check out the area of your roof surrounding the vent and see if it is dark or damp. This is a tell-tale sign that your venting is the issue.

You can typically solve this problem by sliding a new rubber “‘boot” under the vent. You may also need to replace the entire unit or at least replace the flashing around it. Vents and other roof components require extra sealing to ensure it is indeed watertight. Check the caulk, sealant, and flashing around it and replace those along with a new vent to 100% solve the issue.

How to Fix it:

vent damage can cause leaking for your roof
Image Courtesy of Crowley’s Pest Services

Valleys Aren’t Properly Sealed

The valley of your roof is the area where two planes of the roof meet. Because of the sloped nature of these valleys, if they are damaged or not properly constructed, rain running down the valley will likely trickle into your home. In terms of fixing this issue, a professional will likely be needed to address the issue by laying a new leak barrier along the valley and shingling overtop.

How to Fix it:

Debris Buildup

If there was a recent storm and you haven’t had the chance to clean any branches, twigs, or leaves off your roof, the debris can build up water and trap it against the roof, making it more likely to slip through any small cracks in your roof. The solution for this one is simple, which is to clean your roof when it gets filled with too much debris. Just make sure that you are taking the necessary safety precautions when you’re on your roof.

How to Fix it:

debris buildup can cause leaks
Image courtesy of Top Notch Home Inspections

Flashing Needs Replacement

Flashing is placed where the roof joins a dormer and where the chimney attaches to the roof. In fact, any place where your roof meets a wall, valley, or another angle, requires well-installed flashing. Flashing sections may slide out of place if nails are missing, and caulk can also dry and crack from the wear and tear of weather.

Similar to the vent problem, you can solve the flashing issue by swapping old material out for newer ones. Flashing should last about 30 years or more depending on the condition and material of your roof. It’s your roof’s biggest line of defense against leaks in those areas, so checking that regularly can help prevent future leaks.

How to Fix it:

Ridge Cap Leaks

The opposite of your valley is the ridge, which is the peak where two panels meet. When your roof is installed, it should include folding over both sides of the ridge with your underlayment and felt paper. Then, shingles are installed horizontally on the ridge. Extra-long nails need to be used to ensure those shingles are secured through all of the layers. If the shingles were improperly installed on the ridge cap, it could lead to loose nails and shingles that can easily cause leaks.

If this is the issue, a contractor will likely have to be called because when it comes to ridge cap leaks, the problem usually occurred during the roof’s construction. If a leak on your ridge cap happens early in your roof’s lifespan, you should be able to get some coverage through a workmanship warranty if you had one when your roof was installed.

How to Fix it:

Gutter Backup

Your gutter works as part of your entire roofing system. And when it isn’t working properly because it’s clogged with leaves and debris, it can affect your roof. The longer water sits in your gutters at the roof edge, the easier it can seep inside your home, causing immense water damage.

To remedy this, you need to clean out your gutters and consider installing some gutter guards to keep pesky debris out. Regularly cleaning your roof can also help keep debris out of your gutters, and ensuring you have a drip edge installed will help protect against any future gutter backups.

How to Fix it:

gutter backup can cause roof leaks

Untreated Holes

While this may be an obvious one to avoid, sometimes holes left from T.V. antennas or similar objects can be the problem. Ensure that if you are ever having something removed from your roof, the area is properly sealed. This includes vents, boots, chimneys, etc. You can temporarily seal any holes in your roof using caulk, but you should call a contractor to fully remedy the situation.

How to Fix it:

Ice Dam Buildup

Ice dams occur when ice forms at the edge of your roof, causing a block for any melting snow or ice to shed. If you’re getting leaks in the winter, it’s likely due to ice dams. Ice dams are also caused when your roof/attic has poor insulation. Heat is escaping so it can’t melt the ice on your roof. Not only does the water sitting behind the ice dam cause damage, but that immense weight on your roof’s edge can damage gutters, shingles, and your drip edge.

You may think that busting up the ice dam or attempting to rake the snow off your roof yourself is a good option. But this can be very dangerous and cause further damage leading to you needing to call a contractor anyways. So, your best option is to have a contractor like Northface Construction come and remove the ice dams for you. We can do it safely using heat to melt the ice away.

How to Fix it:

snow and ice damage on roof

Condensation in Your Attic

A leak is most likely coming from your attic if the attic space shows signs of mold or mildew growth. A strong, musty odor emanating from the attic is also a key that water has gotten inside. You may also notice water stains or discoloration on your ceiling as a sign of a roof leak or attic condensation.

If you find mold or mildew near the leak, then it may be coming from your attic. This means that there is too much condensation build-up above you. To treat the issue, get rid of the mold growth and ensure your attic is well insulated. Installing a ventilation fan can also help. Placing a dehumidifier in the attic can get rid of any remaining moisture and condensation.

How to Fix it:

Need Some Assistance With a Your Roof Repair?

At Northface Construction, we’ve seen it all when it comes to roof repair. No matter what the issue is, we’ll help you identify the cause and the solution for making your roof functional once again. We won’t nickel and dime you for unwanted repairs, but we’ll fix what needs to be done, and we’ll do the job right. If your roof has been affected by a storm, contact Northface Construction for a free estimate!

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