Top 10 Causes of Roof Leaks – How to Find and Fix Common Roof Leaks

They are the two most dreaded words in a homeowner’s vocabulary: a leaky roof. Water is the most insidious foe, eager to penetrate your home covering’s most vulnerable defenses. And once inside, the damage and destruction may be taking place far from the point of the initial attack, making the initial source of a roof leak difficult to identify.

handy woman on the roof The best homeowner defense is vigilance and fast action. Maybe a new roof is in the near future and it seems like a folly to bother with a leak. But even a small, out-of-the-way drip in a house that seems like nothing more than an inconvenience is a major repair bill waiting to happen!

Did you know? Roof leaks can ruin insulation, become a breeding ground for black mold, damage interior ceilings and walls, and rot the wooden framing.

So let’s look at the ten of the most common culprits in causing your roof to leak and what you can – and should – do about them (other than recruiting a bucket brigade):

1. Villain: Age

an-old-asphalt-roof

Roofing materials, especially asphalt shingles, get old and tired. Expansion and contraction with the change in temperatures cause aging roof protection to turn brittle and eventually crack. Years of harsh rays from direct sunlight can melt the tar that holds composition shingles together. Father Time has not lost a battle yet and when roofing materials run up against their life expectancy, it will be time to budget for a new roof at the first sign of a leak.

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$7,500
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2. Villain: Brick Chimneys

leaking-chimney Source: Roof.net

Have you ever seen house ruins from 200 years ago? The chimney is often the only thing standing. While brick chimneys may seem indestructible, the mortar that binds the bricks together is nothing more than a hard-working mixture of water, sand and cement. Exposed to the weather elements, it can erode and crumble over time. Check the mud cap on top of the chimney for deterioration and inspect the mortared joints where the chimney enters the roof. If patches are required, it is a cheap and quick fix.

3. Villain: Flashing

chimney-flashing Source: Runyon and Sons Roofing

Speaking of chimneys, compromised flashing is a common problem on a roof. Flashing are thin strips of metal installed at danger points for leaks around a roof. For a chimney, they are bent at a 90-degree angle to attach to both the roofing material and the brick chimney.

Flashing needs to be properly sealed to protect against water intrusion. It also needs to remain nailed in place and even if that is all squared away, the metal can rust or crack.

Expect the cost of replacing old flashing to run a few hundred dollars, depending on job size and desired material. Although it may be tempting to marshal the forces of caulking and roof cement in the battle against faulty flashing, this is only a temporary solution best reserved if you know the roof will soon be replaced.

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Skylight Installation Costs, Options, Pros & Cons: Velux, Farko, SolaTube

A skylight can be a much-welcomed addition to your home. It is a great source of natural light and a beautiful way to watch the stars at night.

Velux USA bedroom skylights

via Velux USA

Similar to a 3-seasons room, a skylight can provide extra warmth during the day. It can also act as a natural alarm clock in a bedroom every morning. Some skylights can opened electrically or manually to provide an excellent source of ventilation into a room.

Costs in a Nutshell:

On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,200 to $2,900 to have a new fixed or vented skylight installed. — This is the base cost which includes materials, professional installation, and warranty. It assumes the job is carried out as part of a roof replacement project.

Note: Installing a skylight as part of new construction will generally cost less that doing so during re-roofing.

Material Costs: base prices for most skylights range from $250 to $500 for a fixed unit, and from $350 to $1,250 for a vented skylight.

Cost of professional installation: $500 to $1,500 per skylight, or more, depending on the complexity of the roof, ease of access, and your home’s location.

What about installing a brand new skylight on the existing roof?

Cutting in a brand new hole and installing a new skylight within the existing roof will involve additional re-shingling and re-flashing expenses. — This additional expense can add anywhere from $500 to $1,500 to the total cost of a project.

Thus, to install a new skylight within the existing roof (not during the roof replacement), your total cost can range from $1,700 to $4,400 on average, depending on the type of skylight, ease of access, and local real estate values.

Tip: When hiring a pro for the job, it’s important to get multiple bids from specialist installers. Your main concern when evaluating the bids should be the perception of quality and evidence of contractor’s expertise in installing skylights.

Did you know? Your home’s location and ease of access to the installation area on the roof will play a large role in determining the total cost of your project.

Needless to say, the total cost of the job should be a secondary consideration weighed against the perceived quality of installation.

Selecting the right company for the job is critical given the high cost associated with a potential premature failure of a poorly installed skylight.

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Roof Shingle Colors – How to Pick the Best Roof Color for Your Home?

The roof accounts for as much as 25 to 40 percent of your home’s visible exterior and plays a key role in how your home is perceived from the street.

That’s why it is crucial to pick the right shingle color, especially if you want to enhance your home’s overall curb appeal and present it in the best possible light.

What to expect: This guide offers practical and proven tips for choosing the right asphalt shingle color to achieve that WOW effect in highlighting the beauty of your home.

The advice provided below will help your achieve visual harmony with respect to how well the roof color integrates with the rest of your home’s exterior and its surrounding environment. Let’s get started.

Coordinate with Siding and Shutters

Interior designers don’t randomly pick pretty colors for flooring, cabinets, countertops and walls without regard to the big picture.

All colors have to work together to achieve a whole that is visually coordinated and appealing.

The same is true for your home’s exterior. First, the roof color should be dissimilar enough to provide contrast.

A dark brown roof would be boring with wood siding stained dark. Brown shingles would work with beige siding, a mild contrast, or with white, a more distinct contrast.

Also, when the roof color picks up tones in window shutters, the front door or accent trim, it nicely ties together the exterior look.

The table below shows roof colors that integrate best with siding colors.

House Siding Color: Best Matching Roof Colors:
Red Black, dark gray, dark brown, dark green
White Brown, black, green, gray, blue, red
Gray Black, dark gray, dark blue, dark green, white
Beige/Tan Brown, black, dark green, dark blue
Brown Green, black, blue, charcoal and browns that are lighter or darker
Blue Black, brown, gray, white

Know When to Use Color Blends

Asphalt shingle lines are produced in solid colors and blends. For example, CertainTeed Landmark shingles in Hunter Green show no variation. They’re just deep green.

CertainTeed Landmark Hunter Green

By contrast, Landmark Heather Blend shingles are a mix of several brown tones and rust too.

Landmark Heather Blend

Owens Corning Duration Designer shingles in multiple blends are even more varied.

Duration Designer Shingles Aged Copper

Now, here’s the blending principle: The plainer the siding is, the more a blended color pattern is needed to make your home interesting.

A solid black roof on a home with dark brown wood siding creates a boring combination.

The same home with shingles that have a charcoal base but flecked with greens, tans and browns is much more appealing.

On the other hand, if your home’s siding is varied – perhaps brick featuring multiple shades or an elegant stone front with varied colors – then color-blended shingles with clash.

You wouldn’t wear a patterned shirt with a patterned skirt or pants, right? Go solid on the roof when the home shows variation.

Here’s an example of Landmark Driftwood shingles that fail in this regard. The result is a busy clash. The colors aren’t coordinated either.

Shingle colors clashing with the house exterior

The stone veneer on the house above is arguably quite busy, and so is the roof. The plain white color on the rest of the house helps to balance the appearance, though.

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