The Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks
A roof leak is more than just a minor inconvenience. Even what appears to be a minor leak can mean big trouble by increasing the potential for mold growth, staining, premature rotting, and other forms of property damage. If mold growth occurs or the structure of your home weakens, roof leaks can also lead to serious health and safety risks. As such, it’s important to take roof leaks seriously. To prevent leaks from wreaking havoc on your home and health, it’s important to recognize what causes them in the first place. Below, we will address some of the most common causes of roof leaks so you can take measures to avoid them.
Insufficient Attic Insulation
If you live in an area that experiences cold weather, properly insulating your attic is essential to preventing roof leaks. When snow or ice accumulates on a roof over a poorly insulated attic, warm air from inside the attic can escape through the roof. As warm air slowly escapes, the snow and ice will begin to melt and slide down the roof until they refreeze at the edge where the temperature is colder. Over time, the process of thawing and refreezing will cause a wall of ice to form, which is commonly known as an ice dam. The ice dam will then prevent melted snow and ice from sliding off the roof. Instead, the water will pool in the center of the roof and may eventually cause the roof materials to rot, develop mold, break under pressure, and ultimately experience enough damage to form a roof leak. To prevent roof leaks from forming as a result of ice dams, make sure to have your attic properly insulated.
Another common cause of roof leaks is poor drainage. All roofs should have a high-quality drainage system that helps control the flow of water and prevents it from pooling in the structure. Such systems are particularly important on flat roofs or roofs that don’t have a very steep pitch. Without proper drainage, water can accumulate and cause many of the aforementioned issues, such as mold growth, sagging, material damage, and rotting, all of which increase the likelihood of leaks.
If you realize that your roof has poor drainage, there are many ways to rectify the issue. For example, spray foam insulation is a great option. In addition to serving as a protective, waterproof barrier on your roof, spray foam roofing can also improve drainage. When installed by professional contractors, spray foam roofing can be applied in varying thicknesses to create channels that direct rainwater off a roof.
One of the most easily avoidable causes of roof leaks is clogged gutters. Gutters play an integral role in the process of collecting rainwater and directing it away from the foundation of a home. If gutters become clogged with debris, however, they will not have the ability to guide water away. Instead, water will pool in the gutters and threaten the state of your roof as well as the structural well-being of your home.
When water pools in one’s gutters, it may overflow back onto the roof and seep through any cracks or faults that exist. To prevent leaks from occurring, make sure to inspect your gutters regularly. If you notice clumps of leaves, twigs, pine needles, or other types of debris, clean them out as soon as possible.
In addition to accumulating in your gutters, debris can also accumulate on top of the roof itself. If twigs and leaves build up on top of your roof, they can trap water against the surface. Over time, such trapped water can begin to seep through the roofing materials, resulting in a leak. As such, you should keep an eye on your roof and remove any stray items as soon as you notice them.
Poorly Sealed Roof Vents
Poorly sealed roof vents are another common cause of roof leaks. Any area that penetrates the roof must be properly sealed. If roof ventilation cracks or is not installed properly, water can seep through small openings in the vents and into your home. To ensure your roof vents don’t cause a roof leak, check them periodically for cracks or gaps, which most frequently form around gaskets and vent pipes.
Flashing refers to thin strips of metal that are often installed under shingles on a roof to create a barrier and direct water away from critical areas, such as roof transitions or around vents and skylights. Over time, this protective water-tight barrier can become damaged due to falling debris, harsh weather, or old age. In such a case, the roof becomes more vulnerable to leaks. If you begin experiencing roof leaks, consult a roofing professional to inspect your flashing.
Damaged or Missing Shingles
A leaky roof could also be caused by damaged or missing shingles. Like flashing, harsh weather, falling debris, and old age can cause shingles to become loose or cracked over time. When shingles become damaged or fall off completely, your roof loses a layer of protection, and leaks become far more likely. Fortunately, damaged and missing shingles are easy to identify. Since shingles are located on the outside of a roof, all you need to do is perform a quick visual check to see if there are any signs of damage.
If you have tall trees around your home, make sure to keep them well maintained. In other words, you should trim any branches that hang over your roof. In the case of a storm, overhanging branches may break and fall onto your roof. In such a case, the impact may result in holes, cracks, and other forms of damage, which can increase the potential for leaks.
Paragon Protection is committed to keeping your home as safe, comfortable, and leak-free as possible. As such, we offer a wide range of services designed to protect your living space from harm. From installing high-quality attic insulation to spray foam roofing systems in Crystal Lake and the greater Chicago area, our services will help you prevent roof leaks before they occur. To learn more about how Paragon Protection keeps unwanted water from infiltrating your home, contact us today.