Is your roof leaking right now? The “Nah. I’ll fix it when it gets unmanageable” mentality won’t work for leaky roofs. No matter if the leaking causes small amounts of dripping or wets the ceiling or attic severely, you need to take immediate action. Leaky roofing can lead to further problems such as mold growth, musty room smell, and damaged roofing.
But how do you check for roof leaks? Do you use devices or tests for finding them? You can do so if you have fancy contraptions. But if not, read this article that quickly teaches you how to find a leaky roof’s common culprits.
A Quick Note About Leaky Roofs
Most look at the portion with the most moisture whenever looking for leaks on the roof. However, this is a fatal mistake that you shouldn’t follow. In reality, the source of the leak is somewhere further away.
For example, if the moisture comes from the spot of the roof directly above the ceiling or the attic’s flooring, the cause of the leak is somewhere a few centimeters away from where you discovered the moisture. In most cases, it comes from somewhere higher from where the dripping occurs.
So, if you didn’t find any cracks from where moisture is on or presumably from, don’t stop and keep looking. Scour the entire roofing system of your house, and you’ll eventually see the source. With that being said, here are the top tips to make looking easier:
- Get a ladder and check the shingles
- Inspect the flashings
- Trace the streak of molds or grime
- Check the plumbing vent
Check For Broken, Warped, or Loose Shingles
The most common culprit of roof leaks is defective shingles. By the way, if you’re not familiar with roofing vocabulary, shingles pertain to the asphalt, fiberglass, concrete, clay, and other panels or tiles that mostly comprise the exterior of a house’s roofing. It’s the part that we often refer to as the roof.
Wind, heat, and water cause the shingles to get defective. Strong wind attempts to detach the single from the underlay membrane. Heat warps the shingles and cracks them sometimes. Water loosens the adhesive that makes the shingles stick to the underlay membrane.
Whenever any of the above situations happen, water penetrates the damaged shingles. Of course, the leaking won’t happen because the underlay membrane is still there to provide waterproofing. However, it will macerate over time and allow water to pass through the decking. The decking will then rust (if metal) or rot (if wood), resulting in leakage.
So before crawling the ceiling or checking the attic, get a ladder and check the shingles first. Ensure that none of them are warped, cracked, or loose. If you see that such is the case, completely remove the shingles and check the underlay membrane and decking for damage.
Underlay membrane damage and decking damage go with shingle damage. Therefore, get these repaired before having the shingles replaced.
Inspect the Flashings of the Chimney and Plumbing Vent
If the shingles turn out fine, inspect the flashing of the chimney and the plumbing vent next. Again, flashing is a home construction vocabulary that pertains to the galvanized steel, copper, lead, and lead-coated copper that seals the chimney’s bottom or plumbing vents from water.
Many overlook the flashings when looking for roof leaks. However, addressing them greatly solves the issue of a leaky roof most of the time. As one Quora user puts it, “Flashings cause leaking because many roofers don’t know how to install them properly in chimneys and plumbing vents.”
As far as poorly installed flashing is concerned, leaking happens when they’re not fitted well enough to the chimney or plumbing vent. When loose, water can pass via the chimney’s base, slide through the underlay membrane and the decking, then drip to the ceiling or the attic’s floor.
But for neatly installed flashing, most allow leaking whenever they start to rust and start developing holes or cracks; or whenever the rivets, which attach them on the base of the plumbing vent or chimney, lose their grip. The average service length of flashings is 30 years but subject to weather and environmental conditions.
Layering with tape or epoxy is a quick way to solve leaks that defective flashings cause. However, this fix is only temporary, and without proper roofing service, the leaking will happen again after a few months.
Trace The Streaks of Mold Or Grime
Leaking that has happened for quite some time might leave the ceiling or the decking with a line of mold or grime. Note that leaks flow with gravity, which means that it comes from a high location on the roof and starts dripping somewhere lower.
Use this principle to analyze that line of mold or grime. Start from the bottom of the streak because this is where the dripping happened. After that, start tracing going upwards, and don’t stop following it until you locate the other end. The other end is where the possible origin of the leaking is.
Check The Plumbing Vent
Though rare, the leaking might not be coming from the roof but the plumbing vent instead. This situation applies if the plumbing vent’s pipes are situated between the ceiling and the roof or in the attic.
The leaking from the plumbing vent pipes will have a similar effect to the leaking of the house’s roofing. It will leave a wet blotch on the ceiling or dampen the flooring of the attic. However, the source of the moisture comes from the vent pipe and not because of rainwater.
A quick sign of a leaky plumbing vent is a smell similar to sewage. It’s because the smell and moisture from the sewage escape inside the house and not outside.
Leaky roofing has drastic effects on the house. It reduces energy efficiency, promotes the molds’ presence, and damages the other parts of the house. If you’re experiencing this now, consider hiring roofing contractors. Our roof replacement Alexandria company is here to help. We’re ready to fix your house’s flashings, provide and install new shingles, or provide a better roofing structure.
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