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Leaking Roof: The Definitive Guide – MasterShield

One of the most challenging parts of being a homeowner is dealing with the maintenance emergencies that show up unexpectedly in your life. A leaking roof is no different. Maybe your roof leaks in heavy rain. Perhaps you’ve come across the issue unexpectedly even in lighter wet weather. Whatever your situation, this can be a huge problem! But you’ve come to the right place for help.

Whether you’ve had obvious damage to your roof or you’re having trouble finding the source of your problem, you should know that a leaking roof can be related to your roof itself or other problems.

If this is happening at your house, you’re probably looking for a quick fix for a leaking roof so you can avoid any further damage to your home. We can’t promise it’ll be all that quick, because some of the causes are serious issues. But we’re happy to share some important information with you to help you find and resolve the problem. Hopefully, it’ll help you improve the safety and integrity of your home too!

How Can You Tell Your Roof Is Leaking?

If you have cause for concern, it’s probably because you’ve noticed visible signs of a leak from the inside of your house. If you notice any sign of moisture, whether it’s running water, a stain on the ceiling, or the smell of mildew, you want to pay attention. 

If you have a leak, water may actually drip from your ceiling. Or you may see water stains taking shape on your ceiling or wall. These signs can be subtle — the water may flow as a slow drip, or the stain could be a small spot that’s barely noticeable. Keep an eye out for damp areas around openings into the room, such as a fireplace or an air vent. Note if the paint on your wall bubbles during rain. 

You may also be alerted to issues with roof leakage and water damage by paying attention to the outside of your home. Keep tabs on the health of your roof. Broken or damaged shingles, damaged flashing, pooling water, roof rot, and debris piles can all be signs you have some problem going on.

If you notice something like this inside or outside your home and you’re not sure about it, don’t let it pass you by. This is your chance to take the next steps and figure out what is going on.

Why Is My Roof Leaking?

If you’ve got a water problem, it’s essential to find the source of your leak. But this isn’t necessarily an easy task. What’s causing the drip of water from your roof into your home? Where is the water coming from, and how is it getting through?

This whole situation can be pretty overwhelming. If you’re finding yourself a bit frantic trying to resolve this issue, remember you don’t have to do it all yourself. In fact, your safety could be at risk. It may be time to contact a professional to help you make the best choices for your home. Let us do the problem-solving for you.

If you do decide to search for the source of the leak yourself, you might be able to discover the cause of the leak by visiting your attic. Check the underside of your roof, your rafters, and any pipes that exit through the roof to note if you find any water seeping or even flowing from these places. Keep an eye out for damp spots, water running down pipes, and water around your chimney.

In brighter weather (when it’s not raining) you might head up to the roof to see if you can note any obvious issues there. If you notice a leak when it’s not raining, check for discoloration in all the same places you’d look in wet weather, like the underside of your roof and the rafters. Remember that water stains may be subtle. You can also check the roof and the area around it on the exterior of your house to see if there are obvious clues to the source of your leak there.

If those searches don’t do the trick, you can perform a water test. You’ll need some help with this, so grab a friend. One person will spray water onto your roof with a hose. They’ll want to make sure the roof is wet enough to reflect the circumstances of the roof in a heavy rainstorm. The other person is inside, ideally in the attic, looking for the places where the water may be coming through. 

Again, we want to stress the importance of personal safety. This would be another great opportunity to connect with a professional to help you resolve your leak issues with confidence.

Whether you do the work or you call a professional, these searches will give you some information about what’s going on with your roof. 

It can be tempting to wonder how to fix a leaking roof from the inside. You may stop a leak in one place but need to address it’s occurrence higher up in the leak chain. But the solution may truly be more complicated than you know. You may have water damage that’s affecting multiple places, and you’ll need to address each issue individually. Let’s get into some details.

Little Leaks, Big Problems

It may be easy to convince yourself that a slow leak isn’t urgent. But ANY leaks can actually cause layers of damage to your home. 

Even a slow leak may be a sign of water damage behind your walls. Sodden wood may rot and affect the structural integrity of the building. Moisture from a roof leak can also lead to mold growth inside your walls. These problems can affect the structure above the ceiling, your walls and insulation, and the space below the floor too. 

Here are a few examples of how leaks can get started:

Chimneys, skylights, and vents are three places roof leaks are more likely to occur. Of course, shingle damage from hail, debris, and larger issues like tree branches can also lead a roof to leak. If you know there’s an area on your roof where water pools during rain, leaks are a more likely issue for you. Roof valleys and windows are other culprits when it comes to roof leakage. But you’ll also want to note that clogged gutters and downspouts are definitely not going to do you much good in terms of water flow and drainage. 

Check on all of these factors when you find yourself with a leaky roof. Here’s some information about common issues and practical solutions to protect your home.

Resolving Your Leaking Roof Issues

Depending on the source of your leak, solutions include structural roof repair, vent fixes, and gutter-related fixes. For example, flexible sealant is a repair option that’s pretty easy to manage and is applicable for issues like cracks or holes in your bricks or siding. Updated shingles will make sense if roof damage is contributing to your leak. Roof vents and flashing can be installed or updated when you’ve got gaps, cracks, or other damage. Your actual choice for roof repair depends on the source of the leak. So let’s get into the specifics.

Roof Structure + Shingle Problems

Roof Valley Leaks

What’s a roof valley? If your roof has a place where two facets come together and form a V shape, you have one! These areas manage a lot of water because rainwater and other debris naturally follow the slope of the roof and end up in this valley. 

Often these areas have an extra layer of protection like an ice and water barrier or metal flashing built in beneath them to prevent leakage issues. 

Sometimes, you’ll have a gutter that runs along this valley. These gutters can easily get clogged with debris and let water build up until it finds the easiest way down. Yep! That’ll cause you problems.

Dormers on roofs can have similar issues as roof valleys, where the lack of flashing or sealant leads to water leaks.

Problem Solving for Roof Valley Leaks

Depending on the precise issue, you may need to add flexible roof sealant or install a protective layer underneath and reshingle this portion of your roof. 

If the leak is related to your gutters, you may want to consider the efficacy of your current system. When debris is a problem, think about incorporating a leaf guard like MasterShield Gutter Guards to allow water to continue to flow without getting clogged up with leaves and debris.

If you’ve had some sort of damage to your shingles, a gap in your lower shingles can be a big problem. You may also have a leak because of hail or other impact-based damage to your shingles. 

On asphalt shingles, you can notice hail damage when spots underneath show through because of missing shingle granules. On wood shingles, you’ll see small cracks or indentations. Old and damaged shingles may also allow leaking to happen when they curl or buckle. Basically, any sort of gap in your shingles is cause for concern.

It’s also possible for the roofing nails that hold your shingles down to cause leak issues for you. This is usually an installation issue. When the shingle installer doesn’t properly secure the roofing nails, they can back out of your roof. Rain can actually follow a loose nail down through the roof into your home. It’s far too common!

If you’re dealing with a nail-related problem, you’ll need to break the seal and draw up the entire shingle to replace the nail properly. Depending on your issue, you may need to add a new shield and fill the nail hole too.

If you need to address a shingle issue, you may have to add some flexible sealant to fill a gap or even replace your shingles in sections. If you have a bigger problem on your hands, it could be time for a new roof. 

When you notice these shingle issues have to do with damage caused by clogged gutters and rainwater backup, think about your future issues. Gutter guards can be a preventative measure to help you avoid more problems so you won’t have to worry about these leaks happening again. MasterShield Gutter Guards can make this project much easier.

Roof Vent & Chimney Problems

Leaking Chimney 

Your chimney is one of the places that can cause leaking issues. Check your chimney cover and chimney crown for damage or apparent leaks. You’ll also want to check for deterioration and damage along the outer structure of your chimney. Notice the condition of the flashing and sealant around your chimney. Is your chimney collecting debris or creating a shape where water pools after rain? All of these can be cause for concern.

Problem Solving a Leaking Chimney

If you do find an issue with your chimney, you can resolve it by replacing worn or damaged materials like your chimney cover, chimney crown, or flashing. Chimney cricket installation builds elevation around your chimney. This can also help to divert water away from pockets that are created where the roof slopes against the chimney.

Skylight Leaks

Skylights are such a luxurious addition to a home, but skylight installation requires cutting an actual hole in your roof. This means that even well-installed skylights can leak in heavy rain. 

The flat surface of the skylight can catch rainwater and debris. The flashing around your skylight 

 may wear and deteriorate. What’s more, skylights can actually be a source of condensation in your home, which will cause some of the same water damage as rain but without the obvious rainfall.

Problem Solving Skylight Leaks

There are a few ways to approach skylight leaks. You may try the flexible roof sealant to fill any holes or steady loose shingles. Silicone caulk is a good resource if you need to seal a gap between the skylight window and its frame. As usual, flashing and shingles may need to be replaced. In this case, you may also need a new skylight to resolve the issue.

Leaking Roof Vent 

Roof vents are a common cause of leaky roofs. A roof vent is typically used for plumbing or exhaust release purposes. These vents are sealed with flashing or what’s called a pipe boot. But, as with other building materials, time and weather affect the functionality of the product. So your flashing or pipe boot can be compromised by sun and heat as well as more direct damage like a fallen branch. 

Basically, if the seal on your pipe vent is cracked for any reason, it can lead to a roof leak. You probably don’t want to expect these products to last the life of your roof, so you’ll want to check on them to ensure they’re working properly about every ten years. 

Problem Solving Leaking Roof Vent Repair

To fix a leaking roof vent issue, consider using a flexible roof sealant to deal with the leaks. You may need to add a rubber collar over the top of the pipe boot, replace the boot or flashing, or even replace the surrounding shingles to ensure the integrity of your roof. 

Air Vent Leaks

An air vent helps with air circulation, combining intake and exhaust to keep air moving beneath your roof for proper ventilation. There are several kinds of air vents including turbine vents, box or Louver vents, hard-wired powered vents or attic power vents, ridge vents, and off-ridge vents.

Whatever style you have, the air vent helps protect your home from gathering moisture and the ensuing mold and rot. These sorts of vents are designed to prevent water leakage, but different roof structures and installation patterns can impact the effectiveness of the vent’s protective design.

Problem Solving Air Vent Leaks

To fix air vent leak issues you may need to build a shield or screen as a barrier against driving rain. You can apply a sealant as needed, specifically for gaps around the vent. You may even find that you need to replace your whole vent system with a new, better-functioning one.

Clogged Gutters Causing Leaks

Your gutters are supposed to carry water from your roof to your ground-level drainage system. If your gutters aren’t working properly, you can expect to have water issues. One major problem with leaks sourced from gutters is when debris clogs the gutter and affects the flow of water. If water piles up, it’ll find the fastest way to the ground, even if that’s through your house.

Problem Solving Clogged Gutters

Well, if this is your issue, you’re in the right place. We’re experts on extinguishing problems from clogged gutters because we offer a uniquely designed and patented gutter guard from MasterShield. Gutter guards are a great way to prevent your gutters from being clogged. When installed properly, gutter guards are likely to eliminate this issue.

Ice Dams Leaks

Ice dams form on the edge of your roof where the roof and gutter meet. These are caused by wintry buildup. Depending on the status of the insulation in your home, the weather outside, and a few other factors, you may find the ice buildup leaking into your space.

Problem Solving Ice Dam Leaks

Keep your roof insulation a priority to eliminate your heating system from warming the ice until it drips inside. You’ll also want to try to eliminate as much snow and wintry buildup on your roof as possible. 

Leaking Roof Repair

We’ve covered roof shingle problems, vent and chimney problems, and gutter-related problems. All of these issues can lead to or intensify your roof leaking issues.

Your best bet is probably to connect with a professional to discern the most cost-effective and reasonable solution. If there’s a chance this can be solved DIY-style, think about sealant, flashing, and ceiling repair as three main options to prevent further leaking and damage.

We hope it’s clear that, when it comes to your roof and the safety of your home, gutters are an essential piece of the puzzle. They help keep the water moving swiftly and easily to your ground-level water drainage system. 

If you’re experiencing problems due to debris buildup or poor gutter installation, you’ve got plenty of solutions to consider. We at MasterShield are here to help. Keep your home safe. Connect with us today to learn more about your options for gutter guards to resolve once and for all your leaky roof.

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