10 Signs of a Leaky Roof

leaky roof

In spite of fluctuations in the housing market over the past few decades, most economists maintain that owning a home is the most important way to build wealth.

Homeownership brings many benefits, such as the ability to build equity and reap tax breaks. But, it also brings new responsibilities. Rather than calling the landlord, the homeowner must replace the old AC or repair the leaky roof themselves.

A roof can last anywhere from 10 to 50 years, depending on what material it is made from, and how well it is maintained. If you’re wondering whether you have a leaky roof that needs replacing, here are 10 signs to look for.

The Obvious Signs

If you’re setting up a bucket in the kitchen to collect rainwater, then your roof has already been leaking for a long time. This leaking can lead to damage to your attic, ceiling, and rafters. It can also cause mold and mildew to grow, which can cause health problems.

So, while water dripping from the ceiling is a clear sign of a leaky roof, you should not wait until then to identify a leak. Rather, you should keep your eyes peeled for earlier warning signs.

Discoloration

Before water starts dripping from your ceiling, it will be absorbed into it. Absorbing significant amounts of water will lead to discoloration of your ceiling.

To see if there are water spots on your ceiling, take a flashlight and examine it closely. The water damage will look similar to coffee stains.

When checking for water spots, do not forget to check inside of closets, or in the basement. Also, always check the ceiling above tubs or appliances, as there are often pipes running there that go up to the roof.

Damage to Wood and Drywall

If leaking continues, it can move from affecting the ceiling to affecting the drywall in your home. This can threaten the structural integrity of your walls.

Check the seams between the walls and your ceiling to look for signs of warping. You may even see sections that are beginning to crumble into pieces or dust. In severe cases, full sections of drywall can even collapse.

Additionally, if you have wood beams contributing to the structure of your home, you may notice damage to these. Water damage can cause the wooden beams, studs, and joists to rot. If this damage persists, the wood will need to be replaced.

Mold and Mildew

When water leaks into your home, it can become trapped in confined spaces. As the water builds up, it creates humidity. In this environment, mold and mildew begin to grow.

If mold is growing in your home, it can cause respiratory problems for you and your family. To check for mold, look for black or dark patches that resemble a stain. Make sure to check damp areas like the attic or the basement to make sure that mold is not there.

Electrical Problems

If leaking persists for long enough, it can lead to damage to your home’s electrical system. Depending on the location of the leak, the water might affect the wires themselves or your electrical circuit box.

Most of your home’s wires are made of copper, and water degrades copper over time. If this damage persists, this can cause wires to break or short out. If the leaking water affects your home’s breaker box, this can throw off the electrical system for your entire home.

Storm Damage

If you have any reason to believe your roof may have been damaged, this is a sign that you should check for a potential leaky roof.

Storm damage can cause projectiles that dent your roof or can produce powerful winds that tear off shingles. If your area has been affected by a serious storm, you should inspect your roof afterward to ensure that there is no damage.

Look at Your Shingles

Whenever you inspect your roof, it is always important to pay attention to the shingles.

The most common type of shingles in the United States is asphalt. These are designed to direct rainwater away from your roof and to protect from wind damage. Over time, however, exposure to the elements will cause your shingles to wear away.

The shingles at the edge of the roof are often the first to experience damage. Watch to see if your shingles are curling, chipped, or broken. In some cases, a section of your roof may even be missing several shingles.

Pipe Boots

Most homes include pipes that run all the way up to the roof. If the pipes penetrate through the roof, this can lead to leaks and other problems.

To prevent damage from the elements, most pipes are fitted with coverings called pipe boots. These are usually made of rubber or lead and can last for 7-10 years. If you notice damage to one of these boots, you will need to have it replaced to avoid a leaky roof.

Check for Puddles

Before water starts dripping from your ceiling, it collects on your roof.

When you get up on your roof, look for places where water is collecting into puddles. This can be a sign that your roof is not effectively directing rainwater into gutters and off of the roof. If you see puddles on your roof, you should contact a professional to find out what is causing the problem.

Chimney Flashing

Brick chimneys are covered with what is called metal “flashing.” This material ensures that water will not run down the chimney and into your home.

Caulking or tarring a chimney is not a viable alternative to proper flashing. Check the seals to make sure they are flush with the chimney. If they are not, they will need to be resealed to prevent leaking.

Get Your Leaky Roof Fixed Today

If you have noticed one or more of these signs of a leaky roof, it may be time to call a professional. Trying to patch the problem yourself can lead to further damage and even more headaches.

To get a free roof inspection or estimate, contact us. We will help you determine if it is time to replace your roof!