The roof on your home is designed to protect your house from any and all of the outside elements. When any of these elements, such as water, start showing up on the inside, you know that your roof has some type of problem. Fortunately, these problems can normally be narrowed down to one of just a few causes. Here are a few places that you may want to start your inspection.
Gutters, Downspouts, And Eaves
One of the first places that you want to check is really not your roof at all; it is your gutters, downspouts and eaves. Leaves, limbs, and other loose debris can quickly add up. Once this material begins to decompose, it tends to mat down and become compressed into an impenetrable sheet of material that water is unable to get through.
Clogged gutters, downspouts, and eaves can cause water to back up under your roofing shingles. This in turn can cause leaks and dry-rot to your roof, fascia boards, and soffit. In addition to causing damage to your roof, it can also cause some of the following:
- Mold and mildew buildup
- Algae and moss growth
- Basement flooding
- Window, door, and siding damage
- Foundation cracking and settlement and more
The additional weight caused by the debris can cause clogs, backed-up water, and ice dams, which can all damage the gutters themselves. This weight will often cause the gutter to sag and pull away from your home.
Many of these problems can be avoided by simply keeping your gutters cleaned and unclogged. To make this job easier, consider adding gutter covers or screens. This will keep the debris from landing and building up in them to begin with. Even with screens, you need to visually check your gutters a couple times per year, as well as following any major high wind storms.
Flashing is simply a material that is used in and around roofing joints to seal out moisture. It is usually made out of aluminum or galvanized steel, but can be found in various other materials such as plastic, copper, or composite materials. Depending on the type of roof, you may have flashing in or around the following areas.
- Vent Pipes
- Sky Lights
- Headwalls and more
Just like any other type of roofing materials, your flashing can corrode and deteriorate. This is often caused by age, weather, and oxidation. Once your flashing begins to fail, you will often see water or wet spots that directly correlate to the joints that the flashing was designed to protect. In some cases, you may have water that will run down from the point it enters the joint and drip at the lowest point that it reaches in your ceiling.
Inspect your flashing by accessing your roof and looking specifically at these joints. Look for corroded, loose, or missing flashing around these areas. Although replacing flashing is normally an easy repair, you may need to hire a roofing contractor if you are going to have to lift or remove any roofing shingles or siding materials.
One of the most common causes of leaks coming into your home is damage to your shingles. This damage may be holes, cracks, or missing shingles. Damage may be caused by age, weather conditions, or storm damage.
Depending on the construction of your home, you may or may not be able to see this damage from the ground level. Fortunately, it is often very easy to see from the inside of your home if you are able to access your eaves or attic space. If there is any damage in the material that is allowing water into your home, you should also be able to see sunlight coming through the space. Mark the spot on the outside of your home by sticking a drinking straw, nail, or wire through the hole.
If it is a small hole, it may simply need to be repaired, but it could be an indicator of a much larger problem. A roofing contractor will be able to inspect your roof to assess whether you would be better off making this roofing repair or if your roof is in need of being replaced. Call one today to ensure that no further damage is done.