Wait… from where did that little brown stain on the ceiling come from? Is that a delicate dripping noise coming directly from above? Irrespective of the size of a home, roof leak is one of the last things anyone wants. The possibilities of a leaking roof are just enough to shoot terror in the hearts of most homeowners. But how do you spot it early enough? What is causing it? and what are the dangers associated with leaking roofs? Well, this blog will answer all these questions in a flick.
What Is A Leaking Roof?
A roof leak is one of those imminent household maintenance issues which is quite often put on the back burner, but there are quite many reasons to treat it immediately and with more urgency. Besides the structural damage it can do to your house, it compromises insulation, encourages mold growth, creates a fire hazard, increase exposure to other water hazards and even creates the potential for personal injuries.
How To Spot Roof Leaks?
Having to stay on top of the weather forecast to find out when it’s going to rain can be annoying and is quite impractical. But again, even one small drip signifies a larger roofing issue – and roofing issues can mean a huge investment of time and money. But, trying to track down an elusive roof leak can be complex by quite a few factors:
- Leaks Begin Slowly – With leaks roofs are bound to deteriorate, but in early stages, detecting leaks is quite challenging. Also, roof leaks would not penetrate rapidly, but their severity increases with time.
- Misdiagnosis – Roof leaks can be many times confused with other kinds of water problems. Window leak, a masonry leak, or a siding leak are few examples of roof leaks misdiagnosis.
- Trouble In Tracking The Sources Of Leaks – Water interference can come from many different sources in a house; hence it can be very difficult to diagnose a problem quickly. Even professionals can face challenges in tracking the actual sources of leaks. In fact, to spot the source one would need to almost scan the skin of the house to expose some of the details to spot where the problem exactly resides.
Pay Attention To These Warning Signs
While there are very few things homeowners can do to fight leaks on their own, the following warning signs can indicate a roof leak or it’s latent to develop:
1. Brown Spots In The Ceiling
Water stain might look like a huge puddle over the ceiling, mostly ringed and brown in color. Yet, it may not look like that at all. Many times, stains are difficult to spot as they appear in darker corners or can be incredibly small in size but can be a sign of a much larger leak.
2. Spots On Exterior Walls
Water spots on external walls clearly indicate there some problems with your flashing. Make it a habit to look under your roofline outdoors, if you see water spots under there, there may be some water leakage. Flashing damages mainly occur due to improper installation (on new roof) or extensive drying and cracking (on old roof).
3. Occasional Drips
If you witness drips, moisture on the walls or any moisture stains which you don’t see often, there are chances of roof leaks. While such indications might appear and disappears again, get it checked. The rule should be, whenever you see moisture, examine, even when it goes away. Chronic moisture problems can cause perpetual damages.
4. Gutters Filled With Shingle or Tile Debris
When you notice debris from your roofs in and around the gutters or downspouts, then it’s an indication that your shingles or tiles have started to break down. Since they start losing bits of themselves, they no longer act as a waterproof barrier, so leaks can occur.
5. Mold on the Ceiling and Walls
By the time mold starts to grow, your leak has moved beyond the water spot stage. Molds grow only when spores experience continued exposure to moisture. These are microscopic fungus which comes in many textures and colors, but when it stems from a leaking roof it often appears to be black or blackish green.
6. Algae, Rot, Or Mold Growing On The Roof
As already mentioned, molds grow in places where it receives constant water supplies. Exactly similar rule smears to algae or rot. If you see such organisms growing on your shingles, then you could have standing water on your roof, which could lead to a serious leak.
7. Pools Of Water In The Attic
Water will pool in your attic before it makes way to the main part of your home. To avoid spotted paints or indoor mold, inspect your attic after each rainstorm. If you see pools of water, you certainly have a roof leak.
Don’t wait if you notice any of the above signs. The sooner you spot a leak, the less damage it will do. Damage? What damage can a leaking roof do to your home and you? Let’s find out:
Leaking Roof – Damage & Dangers
While there are very few things homeowners can do to battle leaks on their own, the following are few dangers and damage a roof leak can cause:
- When water seeps through the roof, it may first drip straight onto the attic floor, but soon it will make its way alongside your ceilings and walls. it will damage the interior ceiling. The affected area of ceiling paint will darken and the ceiling plaster may expand and bubble. The nearby walls will also be affected by the regular leakage, you can also expect damage on ceiling-mounted lights and fans.
- In the long run, one of the most serious costs of a leaking roof is mold and mildew growth. Mold has the potential to spread throughout the building structure, to the HVAC system and then to the rest of the house through the vents. It can completely destroy your floorings (wood and carpets), ceiling tiles, furniture and even clothing. Mold is hard to get rid of, and it is rather costly.
- According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mold and mildew can lead to serious health problems, especially for those with high sensitivity, including nasal congestion, rhinitis, inflammations, and asthma.
- If your electrical wiring is present in your ceiling, a leaky roof could pose a threat of fire shock from shorted wires.
- Slip and fall hazards are another danger of a leaking roof. For those who have an active family with children’s, a severely leaking roof can cause water to puddle increasing the chances for a slip or a fall.
Why Is My Roof Leaking?
Here are five reasons why your roof may be leaking:
Roofing materials get old and tired over time. Change in temperatures causes expansion and contraction and also turns materials brittle. Age is the number one villain of your roofs. If your roofing materials has lost the battle with time, it will be time to budget for a new roof at the first sign of a leak.
2. Roof Flashing
Flashing is the thin metal sheet, strip, fitting which covers a seam or transition point in a roof. This area is one of the most common for a roof leak. It is very prone to damages and gets corroded over time. The flashing over your home can also be poorly installed or can be of a poor quality. All these factors can make your roof prone to leaks.
Having skylights really adds to the ambiance and natural light in your home, but if these are not built or installed properly, they can become a matter of concern. Also, if you have a skylight which is old, a problem with a leak is almost unavoidable.
4. Plumbing Pipes And Vents
Common plumbing problems arise when having to drill holes in your roof. Plumbing vent pipes, attic vents, exhaust flues for appliances, and ventilation ducts are few of the most common necessities that have to leave through your roof. Cracked or worn-out flashing around these pipes and vents are the most common sources of leaks on your roofs.
Holes in roofs can result out from storm damage or damage by animals like rats and squirrels. Tiny holes can also result from inappropriate roofing nails. Or they can even be left over from a past antenna mounting bracket.
6. Complex Roof Architecture
Ok, your dynamic roofline might be an architect’s pride a real showstopper on the street, but those complex curves and slopes can be a direct invitation to disaster if they aren’t sealed properly.
Roof Construction – Factors To Consider
The roof is one of the most important features of any building structure; apart from protecting against the sun and the rain, it dramatically influences the beauty and aesthetic of the structure. The different factors to consider when selecting a roof are:
- Your Building Style
- Reflectivity and Emissivity
- Ability to survive extreme weather conditions
- Eco-friendly and recyclable materials
From Natural Options Like Clay Roofs From Wienerberger and wood to man-made options like metal and asphalt; there are more types and styles of roofing available to select from today than ever before. But, before you make your choice, consider the life-cycle, cost, maintenance, environmental and other factors and very carefully. Remember, by choosing superior roofing materials, you will reduce the changes of roofing problems and minimise its adverse effects on the environment.
Don’t underestimate the sternness of damage a leaking roof can cause to your property. If you are unsure of the degree of your roof leak, make sure to call a professional to examine the damage and give you a solution to your roofing problem.
Curated by editor at Wienerberger India