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A Homeowner’s Manual: The Ultimate Guide to Roof Leaks

2 buckets catching leaks insi

The roof of your home is one of the most important parts of your house. It protects the whole structure against harsh environmental elements like sun rays, storms, rain, wind, and snow. One of the harshest enemies of your roof is a leak. It starts small and escalates rapidly and do so much damage to your entire property. We at Patriot Roofing Services have seen this situation many times, so we encourage you to be vigilant so you can safeguard your investment. 

As a homeowner, understanding how to spot a leaky roof and how to handle this leak is vital in protecting and extending the life of your property. After all, your house shelters your loved ones and important belongings. Knowing what signs to watch out for means you can nip a small leak problem in the bud. If you hold off on treating this, the more complicated the job becomes, and the more expensive it will be to restore your roof. Check out this ultimate guide to roof leaks so you can handle your roofing issues without panicking. 

How Can I Tell If My Roof Is Leaking?

The first step to ensuring you protect the integrity of your roof is to find the source of the leak. Sometimes, leaks are very tiny so you won’t see pools of water. By the time water is gushing, that already means the damage is extensive. What you need to do is to keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs that your roof is damaged:

Check for water stains

You will often see a water stain on your ceiling. It is like a puddle that dried up with a brownish hue. Sometimes, however, these stains are hard to see because they occur in dark corners. Other times, the stains are really small, so you don’t notice them. Do take your time to inspect your walls or ceiling for any discoloration. Also, look for signs of molds or peeling paint and wallpaper. These are red flags that you’ve got a leak. 

Listen to dripping sounds

If you can hear dripping sounds every now and then, then it is nearly certain that there is a leak. This usually comes with moisture on the walls or stains. Be sure to get this checked, even if the sound goes away on some days. When you see moisture, get it checked because chronic problems like these can lead to even bigger damage if you ignore them. 

Look for marks on the exterior walls

Go outside your house and keep an eye out for water spots in your roofline. If there are markings there, you most likely have problems where the roof meets the wall. You could have issues with your roof flashing. Some people like the look of moss on walls, but this could be a sign that your downspouts have a problem. 

Examine gutters for signs of debris

Your gutters and downspouts are a vital component of your home roofing system since they move water away from your roof to the ground. If you have leak problems, you will see erosion or debris on the ground. Also, look for sagging gutters because it means that the debris has caused a clog, allowing the leaked water to collect in one area. 

Watch out for missing shingles

If you have any visible missing shingles or problems with your seams, this could point to troubles with your roofing materials. A patchy roof that looks dilapidated is prone to leaking over time. Though you may not see the leak yet flowing through the ceiling in your house, you could have a slow leak that has already penetrated your crawl space or attic. Call us for a thorough inspection so we can check your shingles and other structures like the chimney, gutters, and downspouts. 

How Do I Find a Flat-Roof Leak? 

If your home is equipped with a flat roof, your roofing system will require more work. Though it is simpler to build, it requires more maintenance and inspections to ensure that it is in proper working order. Unlike pitched roofs with water traversing the sides to the downspouts and gutters, a flat roof tends to allow water to collect in puddles. It is for this reason that the roof drains have to be constantly checked. 

One of the most common problems with this type of roof is a leak. Moisture can seep through your roof and ceiling, leading to mold and fungal growth. If you suspect a leak, here’s how to verify where it is:

  1. Walk around the roof and remove any debris that may have torn your roofing material. 
  2. Inspect the metal flashing. There are usually two layers, the inner and outer layer that both contract and expand to accommodate temperature changes. If the flashing looks compromised, it will allow water to leak inside the roof coating.
  3. Check for signs of decay in your collars and plumbing vents. If there are issues, your leak could be coming from there because they can no longer do their job effectively. 
  4. Look out for patches in flat roofs that have tar or caulk covering. These patches are temporary, and they could be compromised over time. 
  5. Peruse the edges of the seams with your eyes, and use your finger to feel if the seal is still tight. If you think it is loose, the leak could be coming from there. 
  6. Keep an eye out for water spots on your flat roof. Usually, these are concentric circles due to water pools that have already dried out. Examine the center to see if the source of the leak is coming from there. 
  7. Finally, when you suspect a troublesome spot, you can run your garden hose on the area. Wait for several minutes, then check if water begins to drip inside. 
  8. Of course, if you suspect a leak but cannot find it yourself, you may need to call in the pros. At Patriot Roofing Services we have the tools, equipment, and experience to help you find the problem. 

What Should I Do If My Roof Is Leaking? woman looking at ceiling that has mildew

Once you discover you have an active leak, your priority should be to stop the water damage. Move furniture and electronics. Anything that can’t be moved must be covered and protected by plastic sheets. Then, put a bucket underneath the leaks to catch the water. It would be best to place towels around the bucket to catch and absorb the splashes so that they won’t damage your floor.

Check for any signs of paint bubbling. If there is, it means that it is holding water. Pierce the bubble to release the water and relieve the pressure. If you cannot contain the water, call us for emergency roofing services. 

Once you’ve done everything to keep the leaky roof situation under control and called us for repairs, the next step is to do damage control to minimize problems. Water will leave stains and cause molds, so you dry any rugs and other wet belongings. If the damage to your property is extensive, you may need to call for extraction and restoration services. 

Should I Attempt To Repair a Leaky Roof On My Own? 

You must only attempt to climb your roof if you have the proper skills and equipment. Even in professional construction sites, accidents happen. As a novice handyman attempting to fix your roof, the chances of any accidents occurring are even greater. For your safety, it is best to work with a professional roofer like Patriot Roofing Services.

Do keep in mind that working on your roof is not as easy as it seems. As a homeowner, you have to be realistic about your skills. Studies also show that accidents often occur when fixing roof leaks because regular homeowners don’t own the right tools to get this complex task done. Sometimes, in your attempt to save money, you end up losing more. Falling from your roof can result in a debilitating injury that could lead to permanent disability or even death. Walking on the roof also can cause damage if you do not know where to step.

Again, it cannot be said enough that it would be best to call a professional roofing service like us because we are licensed and ready with experienced, professional roofers to get even the most complex jobs done. Getting our help means we can properly inspect the extent of the leak and assess the overall damage. Sealing your roof or replacing one shingle may not be the right answer. A professional like us will be able to tell you what is the best way to fix your leaky roof. 

What Are The Dangers Of Ignoring a Leak? 

Sometimes, homeowners ignore a leak thinking that the problem is tiny. But it doesn’t take long for a “tiny” leak to cause big problems.

Remember, your roof serves as the protection for the structure of your whole house. If you fail to address this problem, you will compromise the integrity of your home.

Why Is My Roof Is Leaking?

There are several reasons that can cause a leaky roof, including:

Old age: Regular wear and tear will cause the roofing material to weaken and become dilapidated over time. Exposure to harsh weather will lead to material deteriorating, which makes it easy for water to seep in. 

Missing or broken shingles: Strong winds and rains can damage your shingles. Do a visual inspection to check if you have any missing ones. Discoloration is also a sign of a problem.

Damaged flashing: Flashing is a material that seals the transitions of your roof, creating a water-resistant barrier. If this slips out of place or if the caulking used to seal it is cracked, water will leak. 

Clogged gutters: Debris like leaves, branches, dust, bird dropping, etc. can clog your gutters. As a result, the flow of rainwater slows down, which pools and makes leaks more likely. 

Improperly installed skylights: This is very easy to spot and is often caused by improper skylights installation. 

Chimney issues: Water can usually trickle through your chimney and seep into a tiny hole. At times, water collects at the base of the chimney, weakening the roofing material and causing the leaks. 

Cracked roof vents: Leaks can also occur due to cracked vents and broken gaskets around the pipe vents. 

Fascia or soffit problems: These two face water damage over time. It can cause these elements to soften and have holes. Sometimes, birds and squirrels will chew on them and make holes, which worsens your leaking problems. 

Excessive moisture: improperly installed gutters and downspouts cause problems with draining. Water collects in puddles,  causing sags and leaks. 

Storm damaged roof on house with a protective blue plastic tarp spread over hole in the shingles and rooftop.

How Do I Know Where My Roof Leak Is Coming From?

The easiest way to spot a roof leak is to access your attic or the crawl space. Go there with a flashlight and scout around for evidence. You may notice water stains, molds, and black markings, which are signs of a leaky roof. After seeing these, you can try and pinpoint the area where there is a hole, crack, or any other sign of damage. 

If you have vaulted ceilings, it is best to call a professional to inspect the roof, both for your safety and for protecting your roof from further damage. 

What To Do If Your Roof is Leaking During A Storm

If your roof begins leaking during a storm, this can quickly turn into an emergency. If you notice rainwater leaking into your house, call us at (904) 509-7732 immediately. We can protect your roof from further damage and keep your ceiling from falling in.

It is not always apparent where a roof leak originates. Water finds its’ own path and often the only way to locate the source is to remove portions of the existing roof. That is why it is critical to call a professional roofer, rather than trying to patch it yourself.

Will My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Leaking Roof Repairs?

The answer to this depends on your specific policy coverage. It is best to contact your insurance company as quickly as possible and report your damage. Patriot Roofing Services will work with you and your insurance company to coordinate your policy’s coverage and any deductibles you are required to pay. In Florida, there are specific policy coverage amounts and deductibles for damage caused by hurricanes and flooding, so we recommend you work with your insurance agent to understand your financial costs in advance.

A Final Word on Roof Leaks

The metal roofing of your home has an important job of protecting your entire property’s structure. It also safeguards your belongings and loved ones. At Patriot Roofing Services, we work hard to ensure that your roof remains sturdy and damage-free. We will gladly inspect your roof for leaks and help you with roof maintenance to prevent any issues.

Our team believes it is better to address any problems quickly to prevent them from getting worse. Call us at 904-413-7725 or 904-509-7732 for assistance.

 

 

 

 

 

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