A leaking roof can occur for many reasons. Sometimes it can be due to poor workmanship when your roof was installed, but more than likely your leaking roof is due to lack of maintenance. Here are 8 reasons why your roof may be leaking.
1. Leaf Build Up
If you live in an area with lots of trees, pay attention to the leaf build up on your roof. This build up in roofing valleys or gutters can slow the flow of water and cause that water to back up and stay in place on your roof. Lots of times this damming will cause the water to run underneath your shingles and cause a leak into your home.
2. Lack of Ventilation
Condensation due to lack of proper ventilation may be causing your roof to leak! Roofing codes require a certain amount of ventilation per square foot of attic space. When that is not correct, condensation can occur. Water and wood don't mix well! Rot or decay is when bacteria and fungi decompose an organic substance, such as wood ( roof decking and a lot of siding is wood). Timber decay often results from cracks or holes, which are introduced to moisture from the outdoors or from the condensation from lack of proper ventilation. Rotten decking exposes your home to the elements in one way or another and can also be an injury hazard if you are walking on your roof.
In addition, rotten siding can also be a catalyst to a roof leak after cracking or splits in the wood begin wicking moisture from the air - causing the wood to decay. We see this most commonly in areas where siding meets the roof.
3. Corrosion and Rusting
Corrosion or rust from parts in your roofing system may be causing your roof to leak; i.e. flashing, vents, rain caps, etc.
Corrosion is the gradual destruction of materials by chemical and/or electrochemical reaction with their environment. One of the most common corrosions we see is Rusting. This occurs when iron or metals that contain iron, like steel, are exposed to oxygen and moisture for long periods of time (aka the outdoors). Over time, the oxygen combines with the metal and oxidizes which in turn causes the bonds in the metal to weaken!
Products such as pipe jacks and other parts of your roofing system contain iron. This means that rain, snow, or any moisture for long periods of time can combine with the oxygen levels in the air and cause your vents to rust. When the metal breaks down, holes or intrusions can appear which may allow water into your home.
4. Sun Damage
The sun is STRONG, especially in Colorado. The intense UV rays will damage just about anything when exposed to the sunlight over long periods of time.
The pipe jacks on your roof have a rubber gasket, which is a ring of rubber sealing the junction between the pipe jack itself and your roof. Over time the sun eventually may degrade this rubber, making it brittle. Most pipe jacks on your roof come with a 5-year warranty. The Colorado sun often degrades them faster which ends up causing roof leaks into your home. It's by far the most common leak that we see.
Another thing to note is that yes, you most likely have a 30 year roof or lifetime shingle, but that warranty doesn't cover accessories, such as pipe jacks, vents, etc.
Although a little unsettling, rodents, raccoons, squirrels and more may be chewing through your roofing shingles and decking! Squirrels particularly like lead pipe jacks. Shingles and decking are common areas raccoons small will try to burrow into your roofing to find shelter. This can open your home to the elements and cause leaks.
6. Plumbing Issues
It is also possible that your roof may be leaking from plumbing pipes coming through your roof. This could happen from incorrect installation or aging pipes that are connected inside your attic or walls.
7. Severe Weather
Storms, high winds, and other types of severe weather can cause intense damage to your roofing system, which may cause your roof to leak. This happens all the time all over the country, so be sure to pay attention to your policy coverage.
Your manufacturers warranty of your roofing system, most likely EXCLUDES “Acts of God” such as hail, ice damming, strong storms or wind that exceeds the speeds listed in your warranty (which can rage from 60-130 mph). This means that your homeowner’s insurance policy will have to back you up on this one if you don’t want to be paying out of pocket for repairs.
8. It's Actually Coming From the Inside
Although not the first reason that may come to mind, the humidity in your house may actually be causing your roof to leak. Breathing, showering, washing dishes, laundry, and more all contribute to the humidity in your house. In the form of condensation, this moisture can be damaging the materials your home is made of without you even realizing it.
Seeing visible condensation on your skylights or windows (for example) could be a sign that your excessive indoor humidity is causing damage elsewhere in your home, places like your walls, ceilings, floors, and your attic roof. Excessive indoor humidity can cause blistering and peeling paint, warping and rotting wood, as well as the formation of mildew & mold. And as we saw above, rotting wood (decking of your roof, siding, walls) can cause your home to leak water.
Signs to look for, in the winter if you have ever noticed lots of icicles hanging from the edge of your roof, chances are your house is leaking significant (and expensive) amounts of air and heat into the attic. This is an insulation problem.
How Can You Prevent This?
It can be easy to forget about your roof, but it can also be very costly.
Best way to stop any of the above events from happening is to pay attention and have your roof inspected semi-annually.
In addition, it doesn't hurt to work with top-notch Denver CO roofing professionals that can determine the root cause of your roof leaks in no time upon inspection.
Roper Roofing offers a great Roofing Maintenance program to make sure your roof is in tip-top shape and secure from the elements. Contact us today to learn more!