A leaking roof can cause serious and costly damage to your house. Infiltrating water can destroy drywall or plaster, cause mould and even rot framing. You should repair a roof as soon as possible after the damage occurs.
Dealing with a damaged roof is sometimes a simple matter of applying roofing cement to an obvious hole; at other times, you will need to diagnose the problem and calculate the benefits of repairs versus installing a new roof. This section will guide you through repairs for all types of roofs.
In many neighbourhoods, you find people in need of roof repair. This is especially prevalent in the spring when rains are heavy and roof damage begins to show. During winter storms, roofing blows off or shifts, leaving surfaces bare and susceptible to water leakage.
Before the rain, snow and ice may have also left their mark. Roofing gets displaced, and water runs directly into the home or along with support structures.
The discovery of water on the floor after or during rain is a real let down. Suddenly you realize you have to find and fix a leak. It might seem the leak is in the spot the water fell; however, this is not always true.
Water can travel down beams and show up in places other than where the leak is located. Another bad thing about a leak is sometimes they are not always visible. Spaces can experience a lot of damage before a leak is found, and mold and mildew can accumulate in the process.
A leak will not go away on its own, and if unattended, can turn into a construction nightmare; rotten beams, mould and ruined walls. Admittedly, a leak is easier to find if you can go into the attic since it is closer to the roof. Visit this area on a rain-soaked day, and locate the source of the leak. In some instances, if you are not noticing, insulation can become soaked and require replacing.
Signs of a leaky roof are stains along with ceilings and walls. If there is a swollen area in the ceiling, a hefty bit of water might sit accumulated within. Therefore, before trying to remove this mass of damaged ceiling material, find a receptacle so that any damaged material and water can fall into the container.
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What Causes Roof Leaks?
There are many reasons why your roof is leaking. We will go through the seven most common reasons below.
- Age. Roofing materials, just like everything else in life, are not immune to the effects of the passage of time. Throughout the years, your roof is also subjected to the full force of nature. These two undeniable forces act together to eat away at the durability of your roof, which will lead to a greater chance of leaks forming.
- Damaged chimney. Although chimney stacks are often among the strongest parts of a house, they too are subjected to the effects of weather and time. Leaks can form in chimneys when bricks and mortar develop cracks or when the chimney crown becomes damaged.
- Flashing. Flashing is the metal sheeting that is installed in areas that are vulnerable to leaks, such as around the base of a chimney or where the roof meets a wall. If the flashing was installed incorrectly or is damaged, it could create a gap large enough for water to get through.
- It is missing shingles/tiles. From time to time, you may find a roof tile or shingle in your garden or on your driveway. This is usually caused by a powerful storm, but other factors can loosen tiles and shingles as well. A roof constructed of tiles or shingles relies on each piece to keep the whole roof watertight. If one or more of these pieces are missing, this creates a hole or a gap that allows water to seep through.
- Holes. If there is a hole, or multiple holes, in your roof, it should come as no surprise that there are leaks. Holes in a roof are about as beneficial as holes in the bottom of a bucket.
- Clogged gutters. Clogged gutters are a common and often overlooked leak-causing problem. The guttering of your house is there to ensure that rainwater or that of melting snow is safely diverted away from your home. Clogs in your gutters form small dams, which allow water to build up and extend its presence on your rooftop.
- Skylights. Skylights can have a transformative effect on rooms in your home. They allow for better ventilation and for more natural light to enter your home. However, if a skylight is installed incorrectly or substandard materials are used, it can become a dripping, leaky nightmare. Most skylight leaks are caused by poor workmanship when either the skylight or the protective flashing is not installed correctly.
Expert Tips to Fixing Your Leaky Roof
If a roof starts to leak, determine whether it is worthwhile to make permanent repairs or whether you need to apply new roofing.
Do Not Delay
You may feel tempted to put off fixing that leak in your roof if you plan to get a new roof next year. However, even a small leak can lead to big problems relatively quickly. All that moisture could end up ruining your framing and sheathing.
You might find your insulation completely destroyed, which can, in turn, cause your energy costs to rise. Furthermore, you may damage your ceiling, making it rain indoors as well as out the next time it pours. The best way to deal with the issue is to fix it immediately when you notice your roof is leaking.
Look for Stains
In order to repair your roof leak, you first need to locate where it might be at. Start by looking at your roof uphill from the stains. What you’re looking for are item penetrations, like a tree branch. Items that penetrate the roof are the most typical form of leaks.
Conversely, it is rare to find leaks developing in areas of uninterrupted shingles. Even if your roof is old, a leak shouldn’t form until something pokes through, allowing moisture to get in.
Penetrations can even affect plumbing and roof vents, dormers, and chimneys. If you have an attic, go up there and look for the leak with a flashlight. You will notice water stains, mould, or black marks. If you don’t have an attic or have a vaulted ceiling, you might need to get onto the roof to directly look for the leak.
Get an Assistant
When you have been all-around your roof and attic looking for leaks, and you still haven’t found the culprit, it might be time to enlist a helper. Get someone to go inside the house and look for drips of water.
Meanwhile, you go up on the roof with a garden hose. Start at the lowest points and begin soaking the areas just above where the leak appears inside the house. You will want to isolate the areas you inspect when running the hose.
For instance, you could soak the downhill side of the chimney before attacking each side, then the top and on both sides.
Your helper should then yell when he or she notices the first signs of dripping water. This process can take time. When you have isolated the leak area, begin removing shingles from the suspect area.
Once the shingles are gone, you should be able to track the source of the leak. You might see the discoloured felt paper or rotted wood directly below and around the leak. You can then repair the issue before sealing it tight. Top Glaze has the best range of help if you’re looking for Melbourne roof repairs.
Repair Curled Shingles
Shingles that appear curled due to moisture leaks can be re-secured by brushing them with a coat of roofing cement. Apply a hefty amount of roofing cement to the underside of the shingle to ensure the edges and corners remain secured. Then, press on the shingles firmly to set the cement and hold the shingles in place.
Replace Damaged or Missing Shingles
When searching for leaks on your roof, look for shingles that are rotten, cracked, or missing entirely. These will all have to be replaced. Start by removing the damaged shingles by lifting the edges and carefully removing the nails with a pry bar.
With the nails removed, the shingle should just slide out. Scrape the residue cement from the roof and remove any protruding nails before putting the new shingle in, round the back corners with a utility knife.
This makes it easy for you to slide the shingle under the one above it and align it with the shingles on either side. Once the shingle is in position, lift the corners of the overlapping shingles and fasten the top of the replacement shingle with 6d galvanized roofing nails.
Secure the nails in each corner and cover the nail heads with roofing cement, then smooth down the overlapping edges. Check out our roof replacement Melbourne services.
Fix the Roof Flashing
If you have a leak caused by metal flashing around your dormers or chimney, you will need to reseal the joints using a caulk gun filled with roof cement.
If you notice any damage to the joints, apply a fresh coat of cement with a putty knife to keep moisture out.
If you need to replace an entire new row of shingles, or if the shingles lift from the roof a little too easily, you may have to hire a professional roofing company to inspect the damage and provide you with a long-term solution.
Check Vent Boots
You will also want to check your plumbing vent boots and roof vents to determine if the water is entering from any of those areas. Look for cracks in the rubber fleshing or broken seams in the metal. The rubber gasket that surrounds the vent piping could be rotted.
These areas will need to be repaired to prevent roof leaks in the future.
You may need to replace the vent boot entirely. Make sure you use washer-head roofing screws to secure the base of the boot to the roof.
If the boot is in decent shape, but the fasteners seem to be missing, replace them with washer-head roofing screws.
Seal Old Mounting Holes
Look for tiny holes that may need to be sealed caused by old vents, small nail holes that were left behind, or satellite dish brackets, for example.
These tiny defects can cause small leaks that lead to considerable damage for years before they are detected. You can patch these holes up by slipping a piece of roof flashing underneath the shingle.
You can then add a bead of caulk or roof cement to the top and bottom edge of the flashing to secure it in place.
Fix Your Gutters
The gutters on your house may be causing your leaky roof. Grab a ladder and thick gardening gloves and start pulling out any debris that may be causing clogs. You should also trim overhanging tree branches to keep your gutters clean and roof free of leaves and other debris.
Inspect Roof Dormers
Dormer walls provide plenty of spots where water can dribble down and enter the roof. The caulking could be old or cracked, or even missing between the corner boards and between the siding and window edging. Water leaks into these cracks and works its way behind the flashing and into the house.
Even caulk that appears intact may not be sealed adequately against the adjoining surfaces. Begin digging around with a putty knife to ensure the area is sealed. Then, dig out any suspect caulk and replace it with quality caulk.
Check the siding above the step flashing and replace any rotted, cracked or missing siding. When replacing the siding, make sure the new piece overlaps the step flashing by two inches at least.
If your roof still leaks, pull the corner boards free and check the overlapping flashing at the corner. You should notice old caulk where the two pieces overlap at the corner.