Home Improvement

Why Is My Roof Leaking?

When you notice damp patches on your ceilings you know that water is leaking from somewhere. If you can safely do so you should get up into the loft to check the state of your roof. Roof leaks are typically caused by damage from extreme weather conditions such as hail roof damage, a wind-driven rain roof leak, or birds and other pests that can create havoc too!

Your roof and chimney may have flashings that are fitted primarily to maintain a watertight roof. Without this flashing, water would run down the chimney and into the house interior, so damage to a roof flashing or a chimney flashing would also result in water leaking from the roof.

Roof damage signs include loose tiles that can move or have been dislodged, dampness around chimneys, and cracks, tears, or splitting of flat roofs. Roof damage from wind can cause curling or buckling of shingles, and running water from the roof and guttering is a sure sign that your roof is damaged in some way. Sagging in the centre of your roof where water is settling is another common sign.

Roof damage can cause additional concerns as loose tiles can fall and injure someone or damage your garden and property below. Structural damage includes the weakening of mortar, bricks, and interior walls, and rotting wood can ultimately cause the collapse of rafters and ceilings. As the weather gets colder a roof leak can get into crevices and freeze and contract, resulting in additional problems with your property.

This article will explain why do roofs leak and provide you with all the information you need to source and try to resolve any issues.

So, if you:

  • Wonder why your roof is always leaking
  • Will attempt to fix the problem on your own
  • And you need a reliable solution to roof leaking problems

Then read on!

What causes roof leaks only in heavy rain

Roof leaks in heavy rain happen as there are areas of your roof that are prone to pooling, resulting in your guttering not being able to keep up with the deluge and a leak then becoming active. You’ll find that the following conditions are often the cause:

Defective shingles: heavy rainfall will come through worn, broken, or poorly sealed shingles.

Skylight leaks: condensation from heavy rainfall and runoff is common with skylights.

Flashing leaks: loose flashing can create pockets for heavy rain to seep into.

Missing ridge tiles: the missing tile will create a break in the roof through which heavy rain can penetrate.

Plumbing leaks: if your roof has vent caps for ventilation exhaust fans they may be the source of the leak during heavy rain.

Temporary fixes to repair a leaking roof from the inside start with sealing the leak and once dry using putty or caulk to patch. Bear in mind that materials won’t adhere properly to wet areas.

However, in most cases, you’ll need a professional roof repair service from certified technicians that know all about roof leaks and how to fix them. You’ll be able to get an on-site survey to assess the damage and provide you with an accurate cost for the work involved. A team of experienced and fully equipped roofing experts will then fix your roof quickly and effectively.

For more information on the roof repair services available near you, click bellow.

What causes flat roof leaks

Flat roofs leaking have many common causes including extreme weather conditions and temperatures which eventually break down even the most well-built roofs. Other reasons for a flat roof leaking include

Age: all roofing materials deteriorate over time so your flat roof may have just reached the end of its lifespan.

Poor installation: flat roofs are highly vulnerable to leaks due to their many weak points so it’s vital that they’re installed correctly.

Delamination: this happens when different layers of flat roofing membrane separate from one another leading to cracking and splitting.

Flashing leaks: lead flashing can falter particularly when exposed to extreme temperature fluctuations eventually revealing the edge it’s meant to be protecting.

Skylight leaks: skylights transfer heat to the surrounding roof material which can cause the accumulation of water and leaks.

Defective or missing shingles: when seams or edges are exposed water will quickly find its way between the two layers causing potential leaking issues.

Blistering: this is a common issue with flat roofs and is a sure sign that water has seeped underneath the flat roofing material, and when they burst they can cause significant roof leaks.

Flat roof leaking solutions often require expert help. Once that you’ve finally identified the source of your leaking flat roof you’ll need to consider your options. A temporary fix will give you time to decide whether you need a full flat roof replacement fitted by professionals or if the damage is not significant the roof repair experts might be able to patch it up for the next few years.

Flat roof leaks in heavy rain

Flat roof leaks in heavy rain occur when the roof isn’t properly sealed or when the eaves and flashings are in poor condition. Flat roofs are more likely to leak as they don’t shed water as efficiently as other roofs, and a badly constructed roof will greatly interfere with this process.

Flat roofs leak differently to shaped roofs with drip marks becoming visible down a large area of your walls and water accumulating around the foundations of your property. This sitting water can then seep through lower levels such as the basement.

Some flat roofs lack the drainage needed to cope with heavy rainfall and in these cases, gutters and downspouts will need to be added so that roof water runoff drains away from the foundations.

Remember that gutters and downspouts also need to be cleared out on a regular basis as debris can obstruct the flow of the water. Any damaged parts of guttering will also need to be repaired or replaced to keep it working effectively.

Felt roof leaks

Your felt roof leaking is typically due to the material being highly susceptible to damage resulting in leaks. Although roofing felt has many advantages like being inexpensive and easy to install, the felt can easily split. Depending on the type of roof felt you have the leak could also be caused by impact damage that you may not even be aware of, broken flashings, or cracks in the surface of the roof felt. As felt roofs are low-cost it may be your best option to get them professionally replaced rather than trying to fix them yourself.

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Causes for tile roof leaks

A tile roof leak has many possible causes and these may include the direct or indirect result of the original installation. Badly fitted flashings and transitions can allow water damage to the underlayment which can slowly deteriorate roofing materials. A broken roof tile or one that is cracked due to age will also contribute, as will missing ridge tiles. If your roof has a skylight leaking can occur due to damaged flashing, corrosion, or a build-up of ice during winter weather conditions. Valley seals used as a transition between the valley and the roof tiles to prevent overflow of water in heavy rain from the valley to the cavity under the tiles may also cause leaking if damaged.

How to find roof leaks

Finding a roof leak can be done in a few simple steps:

Go up into your loft on a rainy day and see if you can spot any water coming in by using a torch that will reflect the light off the water. If you can identify the source of your roof leak circle it with a permanent marker pen. Then measure the distance from the edge of the loft to the source of the leak so that you can calculate where the leak is on the roof directly above.

This method may not always be accurate as leaks can penetrate through roofing materials and seep to another location. If you have a single leak at the end of the loft it’s highly likely that the leak starts somewhere in the same vicinity. If you have many water drips the chances are that you may have a major roofing defect.

You should also look for the presence of mould as long term moisture presence will soak, stain, and form mildew. Obvious rotting timbers and joists will be another clue as to where the water is coming in from. Externally you should check the shingles, flashing, gutters, downspouts, and tiles. Remember that it’s vitally important that you wear protective clothing and suitable footwear, and use the appropriate equipment to stay safe.

An alternative way to locate your roof leak is with the use of a hose pipe. Where you suspect the leak may be coming from gently hose from a point above. Use the hose on a low pressure to avoid causing any additional damage. This works even better if you can get someone to go into your loft ready to spot the water coming through!

Professional Roof Repairs

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What are the first signs of a roof leak

The signs of roof leak inside can include:

  • Damp patches on the ceilings and walls which are the most common signs of a leaky roof
  • A musty smell in the loft often related to a small leak in the roof
  • Moist loft installation and timbers that indicate a leak in the roof which has triggered mould growth

Takeaways

  • Finding roof leaks quickly is important before they can cause long term damage.
  • Delays in the repair of a leak may result in need of entire roof structure replacement.
  • Climbing on rooftops is dangerous and is better carried out by a trained professional.

***

Has your roof been leaking? How did you deal with the problem? Let us know in the comment section below!.

Image Source: Shutterstock / Motortion Films

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