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What Damage Can a Leaking Roof Cause?

How To Find Leaks In Your Roof?

The roof in a residential home is one of the more important components of the building structure. Whether you’re dealing with a conventional roof leak or confronted with attic insulation that is badly contaminated, it’s critical to maintain the attic and roof properly. Like any part of a home, good roof maintenance will prevent potential damages and curtail costly repairs.

Indeed, one of the most important things with the roof is to inspect regularly for leaks. Many homeowners actually have the entire roof structure inspected by an expert.

A roof leak should not be underestimated – having a leaky roof can result in a number of dire consequences. Repairs should not be put off, even in favour of saving some money in the short term. For roof professionals, a roof leak repair should climb to the top of the list. Roof leaks can develop for many reasons – from substandard installation – to storm damage – to poor maintenance.

The truth is, most roofs are only designed to last for 20 to 30 years, so age could also be the reason for a roof leak. Whatever the cause, repairs are a necessity. Many homeowners see a leaky roof as a structural problem, but there’s more, especially if the water intrusion is constant. Beyond any potential damage to the roof and attic, water will eventually seep down into the home and cause additional damage that can be costly.

Ignoring even a small leak is not the right thing to do. It could become a serious and critical problem for the entire home. Many homeowners often consider leaking of their roof as a minor structural problem.

However, if it is neglected, it could lead to health and safety risks. Damp walls, attics, and other such constructions could lead to the growth of mould, mildew, and other microorganisms. This could result in allergy-related illnesses, bronchial problems and could even cause problems to pets and, of course, to small children. At the first signs of roof leakage, you should hire a suitable roof replacement in San Francisco. 

The constant intrusion of water will also lead to seepage of water to the attic area, and over some time, it could cause damage to the very foundation of the house. In the process, it could cause a lot of damages along the way, and some damages could be severe and irreversible. 

Attic and ceiling damage are the most common results whenever there is roof leakage. The leakages happen very discreetly, and you may not know the cost until it has happened. You could lose quite a few valuable things that are stored in the attic.

In case there is no attic, it is quite likely that the level of damages will be much more significant. The ceiling of the living rooms, bedrooms, and drawing rooms could also suffer significant losses. Looking for roof repairs? Look no further! Top Glaze has you covered. 

Signs of a Leaking Roof

First and foremost, it is important to note the different signs of a leaking roof. This may at first seem obvious – simply because if your roof is obviously leaking water into your home, then this is most likely the cause. However, there are other signs to look out for as listed below:

Water Stain

A water stain on your ceiling is one of the first signs that your roof is leaking. These look like a small or large puddle which often has a brown tinge at the edges. However, you should also keep an eye out for any discolouration on your ceiling too, as this could indicate a leak.

Intermittent Drips or Moisture on the Walls

You may notice drips and moisture on the walls one day, and you may not notice it the next. Just because the problem appears to have gone away, doesn’t mean that it won’t return. Actually, it is highly likely that it will return as your leak could be caused by an ice dam in your roof which freezes and melts water over and over again causing intermittent leak signs.

Moss or Mould on the Exterior Walls

Moss or mould growing on the exterior of your home is actually a sign of sagging gutters, resulting in leaks. Sound working gutters are an integral part of a good roofing system as they move water away from your roof. Yet if water is appearing on the exterior walls then it means that your gutters need repair and a good clean.

Mould On Roof

Missing Shingles or Debris around Your Roof

Though missing shingles are not a clear sign that your roof is leaking at that moment, it is definitely a precursor to roof problems. Simply because missing shingles could mean that water is more likely to getting into your roof, causing slow leaks into attic spaces.

Dangers of Roof Leaks

If you notice any of the signs above, it is imperative that you contact a roofing company in your area as soon as possible because there are a variety of damages and potential hazards that could follow a leaking roof. It is best to get it solved quickly so you can restore peace of mind to yourself and your family.

Damage to Interiors – From Paint to Furnishings

One of the main potential risks of a leaking roof is damage to your property, which can create extra restoration and replacement costs on top of the initial roof repair. Soft furnishings, furniture, electronics, important documents and paint can have irreparable damage from water, meaning that you may need to completely buy new products altogether.

If you have prized possessions, family heirlooms, photos and memorabilia in your attic, then you need to make sure that these are not damaged. And, if you are worried about them being damaged in future, perhaps look for an alternative place to store them.

Wood Deterioration and Breakages

Water can significantly damage and cause wood to rot over time.

Not only can this hamper the interior structures of your home, but it can also lead to an increase in pests. Breakages and damaged structures can cause severe hazards within your property, with worst-case scenarios of falling ceilings and walls, wreaking plenty of havoc in their wake.

Fire Hazard

Drips of water may, on the surface, look and feel relatively harmless but it can create a potential fire hazard to the home, especially if your electrical wiring is in the ceiling or in the attic.

A few drops of water on shorted wires could create sparks and fires that seriously can cause extensive damage not only to your home but also is a life-threatening risk to your family. When you first notice a leak, make sure to turn off the electricity and call an emergency electrician, as well as your roofing contractor, to examine it.

Damage to Insulation

If your attic has insulation and it comes into contact with water, then this can cause permanent damage depleting it over time. Due to this, your home will lose both hot and cool air, and you may notice that you will be using central heating more. If this is the case, then your energy bills could significantly rise.


The presence of mould in a home is always a worrying concern and can contribute to serious health issues. From asthma to nasal congestion, these can be worsened if mould starts to grow from a leaking roof.

Plus, mould grows, meaning that it can infiltrate your wood framing, ceiling, carpets and furniture. What you should keep an eye out for it toxic black mould. Although rare, this is most likely caused by chronic water intrusion.


Though this is not as serious as a potential fire hazard, water pools and moisture can cause slippery floors which is dangerous for both adults and vulnerable people like the elderly and children.

A quick slip could result in a range of physical injuries – so make sure if you notice pools of water to call your roofing contractor and clean them up as soon as possible.

The 10 Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks

In an effort to save you that investment, we’ve compiled a list of The 10 Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks. We’ll tell you what they look like, why they happen, and how to fix them.

Whether your roof is two years old or twenty keep this list handy. You never know when it could mean the difference between doing a quick repair or a major remodel.

If you require a shot of a new home or any of the array of building products shown, this would be a great image for you. It shows, architectural asphalt shingle roof, vinyl siding, windows, vinyl shutters, seamless aluminium gutters.

Your Flashing Has Cracked

What Does It Look Like: Flashing are thin pieces of metal that are installed under shingles and on the joints of your roof in order to create a water-resistant barrier, which can be concealed or exposed. If exposed, they will look like long runs of sheet metal and, if concealed, they will have a rubberized coating overtop. Broken flashing will feature large cracks.

Why It Happens: Roofers often use tar to seal the flashing together and that can corrode over time. In the event that your flashing is left exposed, elements like wind and rain could be the reason behind its crack.

How To Fix It: (Via The Family Handyman): Once you locate the source of the leak, pry up the nails used to secure the old flashing. Lift any shingles out of the way and remove the cracked segment. Gently put a new run of flashing in its place, fasten the new flashing in the same pattern as your old piece using roofing nails. Then, apply a coat of roofing sealant to the nail heads.

Routinely check flashing around your chimney and vents to ensure that cracks aren’t letting in moisture. Check out our range of roof restoration services here. 

You Have Broken Shingles

What Does It Look Like: Look up! This one is easy to spot. Since shingles are the exterior layer of a roof, you should be able to identify missing shingles by seeing different-colored patches on your roof. Alternatively, you may find the shingles themselves littering your yard after a heavy storm.

Why It Happens: Again, weather. High winds and heavy rains.

How To Fix It: (Via This Old House): Slide a pry bar underneath the row of nails that connects the damage shingle to the one below it. Lift up until the nail pops and then press down on the shingle while you remove the nail. Repeat for the remaining nails. Pull out the damaged shingle, replace it with a new one, and secure it with four new nails.

Your Valleys Aren’t Properly Sealed

What Does It Look Like: An area where two planes of roof come together. Since these areas of the roof are usually sloped, if the valleys are not sealed together properly, rainwater can get inside as it runs down the roof. You can detect a problem by searching for wet spots that run along the seams of your roof.

Why It Happens: A variety of reasons – the sealing may not have been done properly in the first place, it may have cracked when being stepped on, or an excess of rain and ice may have caused it to erode over time.

How To Fix It: This is one of those things that needs to be done by a professional because of its complexity, and we do not recommend attempting it on your own. However, your roofer will likely fix the problem by laying a new leak barrier along the valley and shingling overtop.

Your Vent Booting Is Cracked

What Does It Look Like: Roof vents are those things that look like small pipes sticking out of the top of your roof. They’re used to expel excess moisture from the inside of the house. Leaks from this area will likely leave corresponding dark spots (and mustiness).

Why It Happens: Roof vents are often sealed by placing some flashing around the opening and slipping a tight, rubber boot over the area where the pipe peeks out of the roof. Over time, the flashing can break, or the roof can decay.

How To Fix It: (Via: DIY Guy): Use a knife to remove the rubber around the vent. Use a pry bar to break the seal on any connecting shingles. Slide the new rubber boot under the shingles, over the vent, and bring it down onto the roof. Then, secure the new boot with roofing nails on either side and caulk under the shingles to seal them to the new flashing. Consider buying extra shingles to make replacing broken ones even easier.

You Have Ice Dam Buildup

What Does It Look Like: An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off. The combined weight of the ice itself can damage the roof, as well as the water just sitting on the roof’s surface.

Why It Happens: The heat from your attic (and the rest of your house) is above freezing, which causes some of the snowfall to melt, despite the cold temperatures outside. The water will then run between the roof’s surface and the snow and will refreeze into ice once it hits the roof’s exterior edge.

How To Fix It: Invest in a roof rake, which looks like a sideways shovel with a long handle, and use it to reach up onto the roof and remove at least the lower four feet of snow from the roof edge. If you see an ice dam forming, consider treating it with an ice melt product, according to the manufacturer’s directions. As winter gets closer, be prepared to find a way to clear the snow off your roof.

Your Skylights Were Improperly Installed

What Does It Look Like: Leaks from this kind of problem should be super easy to spot. If you find yourself noticing wet spots or consistently needing to place drip buckets around the sides of your skylights, you’ve found the cause. However, leaks and wet spots near the top of the skylight may be a flashing issue instead.

Why It Happens: There are two main causes for this type of leak—improperly measuring and fitting the skylights upon installation or decayed insulation along the skylights edges.

How To Fix It: Clear any debris off of the skylight and check for cracks in the window itself. Seal any cracks with a layer of clear silicone along its length, if necessary. If that is not the cause, check the surrounding flashing and replace as needed. While skylights look pretty, they can let in extra moisture when not properly sealed.

Your Gutters Are Clogged

What Does It Look Like: You may be able to see the leaves sticking out of the gutter when you look up onto your roof. But, if not, you should notice the lack of water trickling out of a downspout during a rainstorm.

Dirty Roof Gutter

Why It Happens: Your gutters are meant to help water travel away from the roof. When a blockage forms and they get clogged, that travel stops. Rainwater will then pool in one area of the roof and have more of an opportunity to seep through cracks.

How To Fix It: Sorry, there’s no easy answer to this one. Get up on a ladder, and get in there with your hands. Many recommend placing a large tarp underneath the area where you are working. That way, you can drop any debris as you go and wrap it up for easy disposal later. Clean your gutters in the spring and fall for peak water flow.

You Have A Cracked Chimney

What Does It Look Like: Most often, you can look for signs of wear and tear along the mud cap or mortared area around the top of the chimney. You should also look for any holes in the mortared joints where the chimney connects with the roof. Also, be on the lookout for loose flashing and shingles in the surrounding area.

Why It Happens: Mortar is essentially just a thick mixture of water, sand, and cement. It erodes easily in harsh weather conditions.

How To Fix It: In some cases, all you need to do is find the source of the leak and replace the missing mortar. However, since the materials used for chimney repairs are different than those for standard roofing fixes, it is recommended that you hire a professional handle the repairs. If you have a link by your fireplace, a crack in the chimney cap is a good bet.

There’s Condensation In Your Attic

What Does It Look Like: A leak is most likely coming from your attic if the space shows signs of mold growth or mildew. A strong, musty odor emanating from the attic is also a key that water has gotten inside.

Why It Happens: As the uppermost part of your home, the attic is trapped between indoor and outdoor temperatures. When those clash – think hot summers and cold winters – condensation will form and moisture will follow.

How To Fix It: First, treat any mold growth. Then, take the time to isolate your attic to prevent large fluctuations in temperature. Make sure that all of the roof vents are clear from the interior end and install a large ventilation fan, if needed. Pay special attention to the venting from your attic to prevent condensation from causing a leak.

You’re Using It Too Much

What Does It Look Like: Unfortunately, there is no way to differentiate if this is the cause of the leak. However, all homeowners should be careful with how often they venture out on to their roofs.

Why It Happens: As you can see from the other causes in this post, a lot of roofing material is very fragile. You may accidentally step on a crucial element or crack an already precarious seal.

How To Fix It: Avoid walking on your roof whenever possible. Let that Frisbee go and buy a new one. Hire a professional roofer to do your fixes since they are trained on how to avoid the most easily-damaged areas. Save yourself from walking on the roof by growing a green oasis.


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