The primary role of the roof is to keep the elements out and protect the interior of a home, so a leaky roof is a major cause for concern.
Checking for leaks should be a part of all maintenance plans, and the good news is it doesn’t even require a trip up to the roof.
“Some leaks can go undetected for a while, causing damage to the inside of your walls, which can eventually create mold,” says Charlie Bell, owner of Bell Roofing in Atlanta.
“Other damages can include rotten roof decking, sheetrock or plaster ceiling damage – all can be quite costly to repair. Leaks coming in through walls can eventually damage the structure,” he says.
Bell says poor workmanship is to blame for a majority of roof leaks. “One of the main causes of roof leaks is an improper installation. Common problems with installations can be inadequate nailing of shingles and reusing old flashings and pipe boots,” he says.
To make things even worse, many shingle manufacturers will void the warranty if their products are installed improperly.
Bell recommends keeping tree limbs cut back away from the roof. “As tree limbs sway with the wind, they can damage your roof if hanging too low,” he says. “Overhanging limbs also act as a stairway for rodents, which can do some pretty serious damage to your home as well.”
Checking for a leak can be easy, and all you really have to do is look up. “Visually check ceilings in all rooms for discoloration,” he says. “Most roof leaks create a yellow or brown stain. If you see a stain on your ceiling after a heavy rain, it’s safe to say you have a roof problem.”
The Atlanta roofer says you can also check for leakage by shining a flashlight around the attic during a rainstorm. Look for obvious signs of falling water or discolored patches of wood and insulation.
If you spot any signs of leakage while inspecting your home, call a highly rated roofing contractor to assess the situation. “Remember, the longer you let your roof leak, the more costly it can be in the long run,” Bell says.