Five Causes of a Leaking Roof
A few weeks ago, we gave our readers some advice on how to make sure your roof is ready for the winter. Today we’re going to take a look at five different causes of a leaking roof.
- Blocked Gutters – the gutters are there to help rainwater travel away from the roof and reach the ground, via the downpipes, without damaging the walls of the house. When a gutter gets clogged up, the rain does not flow along it and into the downpipe due to the blockage. This means that rainwater will begin to pool in one area of the roof, which may lead to moisture seeping in through cracks, or the rainwater will begin to spill over the side of the guttering in places, splashing the walls on the way down and perhaps pooling at the foot of the walls, instead of finding its way into the drainage system. You can unblock the gutters yourself by getting up to that level and using your hands to remove the debris.
- Cracked Flashing – the flashing are the thin strips of metal installed under the shingles and on the joints of the roof in order to provide a water-resistant barrier. They may be exposed, in which case they will look like longs runs of sheet metal, or they may be concealed with a rubberised coating. You can frix this by lifting the shingles out of the way and removing the cracked segment. Then, gently place a new run of flashing in its place, fasten it in the same manner as the old piece using roofing nails, then apply a coat of roofing sealant to the heads of the nails.
- Broken Shingles – the shingles are the exterior layer of the roof, so you should be able to see if any are broken or missing by looking for different coloured patches on the roof. Shingles are sometimes blown off or dislodged by a heavy storm. You can replace the odd damaged shingle yourself if you know how to.
- Cracked Chimney – chimneys tend to be subject to a lot of wear and tear due to the fact that they usually have a higher profile than the roof and are more susceptible to adverse weather conditions. Look for holes in the joints where the chimney meets the roof and for loose flashing in that area too. Any damage should be repaired by a roofing contractor who will have the knowledge and equipment to fix the problem safely.
- Cracked or Damaged Membrane on Flat Roof – many of today’s flat roofing membranes are a thin, single-ply layer of durable rubber which are prone to damage as they weather over time. Check the flat roof for cracks, splits and blisters which will allow water to accumulate beneath the membrane, soaking any insulation and leaking into the space below. The best way to fix this is to call in the professionals.
Don’t forget, if you’re using a ladder to access the roof to do an inspection, you should follow ladder safety guidelines and make sure that you can carry out your task in a safe manner and avoid a fall from height.