Importance of Fixing a Leaky Roof
If you have a leaky roof, you really cannot afford to ignore it. This is the case whether it is your home, factory, or retail outlet. In all of these cases, the consequences of ignoring the issue will eventually become far more serious.
Once the outer layer of your roof has been breached, the water will get in and start to damage the underlying structure. Much sooner than you think the rafters will begin to collapse and you will be facing a large repair bill. Far larger than it would have been had you repaired the leak straight away.
The water that enters your roof space won´t stop there. It will continue to drip and creep into other areas of your building. Eating away at the insulation and allowing mould to develop that will rot anything made of wood and rust metal. Running along the wiring and damaging your electrics.
If you have family members who have respiratory problems, for example, asthma, the mould that grows could make them extremely ill. It is also not good for healthy individuals.
Once your roof is open to the elements, the rate of damage accelerates. Plus, should there be a fire your roof will no longer contain it as it would do if it were still structurally sound.
As you can imagine, all of these structural issues will harm the value of your home. If a potential buyer walks in and smells mould or mildew, they will likely walk straight back out again. Very few people are prepared to take on a property with a leaky roof. They are only too aware of the fact that far more damage has been done than is visible.
Fortunately, the answer to this issue is simple. Provided you get your roof inspected regularly any leaks can be spotted and repaired fast. Before too much expensive long-term damage is done.
Possible Causes of a Leaky Roof
The first step in sorting out a leaky roof is to identify what the underlying cause is. Unfortunately, the list of potential issues is quite a long one. But you can use the information below as a checklist to make sure that you can get to and tackle the root cause and do so quickly.
Top of the list is the deterioration of roof shingles. This happens at some point regardless of how well they are laid or what type of material was used. The underlying causes of shingle deterioration include:
- The natural ageing process all materials go through
- Exposure to high levels of ultraviolet radiation
- Sudden and wide variations of temperature
- Inadequate or improperly laid roof insulation
- A lack of ventilation and air circulation within the roof space
- The use of substandard roofing materials
Improper installation of one or more of the roofing materials – even normally reliable materials can deteriorate fast if they have not been properly installed. The most common installation issues include:
- Shingles not being nailed into place properly
- Roof flashings that have not been completely sealed
- A lack of ice and water barriers
- Not laying a felt underlayment beneath the shingles
The weather conditions in your area will also have a significant impact on how quickly your shingles will deteriorate. In particular, if the materials used are not able to cope with the extremes of weather in your area. Weather-related issues that can easily damage a roof include:
- Strong winds – these can cause shingles to blow away, especially those that have not been properly installed, you only need one lose shingle for a large area to be ripped off during a storm
- Heavy rain – when it rains heavily and your eavestrough is not clean enough to clear the water quickly it builds up and gets under the shingles
- Heavy snow – deep snow is heavy, which puts an incredible strain on your roof, in time it can start to bow which leaves places water can build-up
- Ice – water expands as it freezes, if it is located between the layers of your roofing materials it will cause them to split apart
- Fast melting snow and ice – when snow and ice melt gradually the resulting water is carried safely away, however, if it melts too fast your eavestroughs can be overwhelmed leading to water damage
Your roof may also be damaged by the following:
- Animals such as bats and raccoons breaking into your roof space to find shelter
- Squirrels and raccoons chewing and damaging shingles or vents
- Damage caused by nearby trees because their wet leaves stick to the roof creating cold wet patches on it
- Branches that rub on shingles which, over time, cause damage
How to Fix a Leaky Roof
The best way to avoid running up a high repair bill is to inspect your roof frequently. That enables you to spot damage at an early stage before things get too bad. You need to:
- Carry out a careful inspection including looking at the eavestroughs and the area around your chimney and vents
- Inspect only during the day
- Only do so in safe weather conditions
- Read our article to familiarize yourself with the warning signs of a leaky roof so that you don´t miss anything
- When you find signs of water damage, don´t be afraid to test for a leak if you have to
- Take careful note of the location of the leak so you can show your roofer where the issue is
- Check for any nearby damage
Here is what you need to look out for:
- Missing shingles
- Damaged or curled shingles
- Exposed tacks or nails
- Patches that don´t dry with the rest of the roof
- Mould or moss growth
- Signs of damage to your eavestroughs
Fixing Leaky Shingle Roofs
If you have the right equipment and the confidence to do so, you can sometimes fix small issues yourself like these:
- Straighten curled shingles – you can use a hairdryer to soften the shingle then reattach it using roof cement
- Replace damaged shingles – remove it completely, including the nail, then nail a new one in place and use roof adhesive to seal the head of the nail
Fixing Leaky Flat Roofs
Repairing a flat roof is a bit more complex. But again, provided the damage is not too bad or widespread, you can definitely do it yourself. Here is how:
- Make sure the damaged area is clean and free of any debris
- Put roof primer on the damaged area, being sure to follow the instructions carefully
- Attach the patching system or patching material, making sure that it covers the entire damaged area
- Smooth out the patch using your hands or a roller
Fixing Leaky Flashings
While you are up on the roof, you should also check your flashings. They are an important component of your roof, so you want to be sure that they are in a good state of repair.
If the caulking has been damaged or has dried out, remove, and replace it. Before you apply it, clean, and dry the surrounding area. You can also use caulking to seal off any small cracks.
Follow best practices to fix your leaky roof. But for better results, find a professional to do it.
Let Dominion Roofing Give Your House a Roof Tune-Up
We have been repairing roofs in the area for more than 90 years, so it does not matter what roofing issues you have we can sort it out. Our list of tune-up services includes:
- Addressing minor deficiencies before they become major issues
- Repairing curling shingles
- Replacing damaged shingles
- Dealing with moss growth
- Sealing flashings
- Fixing skylight leaks
- Sorting out the damage caused by animals
Contact Dominion Roofing Today
You can reach us by phone or fax
Or email if it is more convenient for you
Visit our Toronto office
PRO TIP :
“Never delay addressing a leaky roof. Each time it rains or snows, the leak will get progressively worse.”
FAQs on Fixing a Leaky Roof
Is it advisable to fix a leaky roof on your own?
If you have a leaky roof, it is usually best to call a professional. They have the right safety equipment and the expertise to fix the underlying cause of the leak as well. However, if the job is small and you have the tools, confidence, and right insurance there is no reason not to try to fix it yourself.
What happens if I wait too long to get my leaky roof fixed?
If you wait too long to get a leaky roof fixed, the damage will get much worse. Eventually, water will get in and your roof will start to rot away. But even before that happens the water will travel along wires and down beams damaging the walls, wiring and other structures as it goes.
I have fixed the outside of my leaky roof, should I fix the inside, too?
When you fix a leaky roof, it is best to repair the inside damage as well as repair the outside. Usually, it will be easier to sort out both issues at the same time. Although if money is tight or you do not have the time or necessary skills to complete both tasks together, don´t let that stop you from fixing the outside. If you delay, the damage inside will only get worse
What is the purpose of a roof flashing?
Roof flashing allows water to get directed away from vital areas of the roof where leaks tend to occur, such as vents and chimneys. It also ensures your home gets adequately waterproofed. You need to ensure that all the areas with protrusions on the roof get a metal flashing layer to prevent leakages.
How will I know if my roof needs re-flashing?
You should re-flash your roof if you notice any leaks around your walls, chimneys, or vents. If you see that the caulking is damaged or has dried out, you need to remove the damaged caulk and replace it with a fresh layer. Always ensure that the area gets adequately cleaned and dried before you put in the new caulking.
How do you waterproof a roof?
The first step to waterproofing a roof is to identify any underlying problems that can cause leaks. You then need to clean the substrate by pressure washing the roof to ensure the liquid membrane adheres to the surface correctly. The following step is to make sure the surface is dry before applying a primer. Next is checking all the details and treating them to ensure they’re watertight. This includes metal flashing around areas that are typically prone to leaking, like vents and skylights. The liquid membrane then gets applied and should dry adequately before the second layer gets added.