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.

a 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.

However, 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.

New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Enter Your Zip Code

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, the mortar 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: Failed 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 several hundred dollars per major penetration like chimney, depending on the job size and desired material (aluminum, lead, copper, steel, etc.).

Although it may be tempting to marshal the forces of caulking and roof cement in the battle against faulty flashing, this would be only a temporary solution best reserved for situations where you know the roof will soon be replaced.

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Luma Solar vs GAF Solar Roof: The Ultimate Guide

There are two main options for homeowners who are considering a solar energy system: traditional photovoltaic panels, or a solar roof with built-in PV cells. Like in any design decision, each option has advantages and disadvantages. However, solar panels and solar roofs can both offer an attractive return on investment, and clean electricity for more than two decades.

GAF Timberline Solar shingles installation

In this buyer’s guide, we will compare two leading solar roof providers: GAF Energy and Luma Solar. Both companies offer excellent products, but there is an important difference between them:

Luma Solar was founded in 2007, which means they have been providing solar roofs for more than a decade. In fact, Luma was the first provider of solar roofs in the US, starting ten years before the popular Tesla solar roof was launched in 2017.

Luma solar tiles on a hip roof of a two story house

GAF Energy was created more recently in 2019, but their parent company GAF (General Aniline & Film) has more than a century of experience in the roofing industry. Regardless of who you choose as your solar roof provider, you will be dealing with a reliable provider. Also, both companies offer a solid warranty.

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The New GAF Solar Roof: Cost & Comparisons – The Ultimate Guide

Solar tile roofs are becoming a popular option for homeowners who want to use renewable energy. Instead of installing solar panels on top of your roof with a racking system, photovoltaic cells are integrated directly into the shingles or tiles that make up your roof.

Both BiPV shingles and traditional solar arrays offer a service life of 25 years or more, and they make sense from a financial standpoint. However, if you’re among the homeowners who prefer the look of a traditional roof without PV modules, you might be interested in a solar roofing system.

GAF is an established provider of high-quality roofing materials, and they recently developed the Timberline Solar Energy Shingles. This product is characterized by being the first nailable solar shingle in the market, which makes the installation process much simpler.

  • GAF has designed a solar shingle that can be easily installed by roofing contractors, making the overall process easier for homeowners.
  • Normally, homeowners need to contact two separate companies to install their roofs and solar panels.

GAF offers complete roof replacements that include solar shingles, similar to how Tesla Solar Roof works. In other words, you cannot use their solar shingles for a partial roof upgrade. This is not a problem for new construction projects and homes that require a complete roof replacement.

However, if your roof is relatively new and in good condition, traditional solar panels have a lower cost and a quicker payback period. There are also solar shingle providers who offer partial upgrades, where only the roof areas that will be used to generate electricity are upgraded.

GAF: Innovation is a part of their DNA

GAF stands for General Aniline & Film, and they are currently the largest provider of roofing and waterproofing solutions in North America.

GAF introduced the Timberline roof shingle in 1967, and it became one of the most popular roofing products in the US. One of the companies that merged to create GAF was RUBEROID which launched the first individually cut asphalt shingle in 1912, and the first interlocking shingle in 1933.

GAF Energy was created in 2019 as a separate business unit, with the goal of providing solar solutions for residential and commercial buildings. GAF and GAF Energy are sister companies, both owned by Standard Industries. There are two main product lines:

  • The DecoTech system integrates solar panels into the roof structure, allowing a flush installation without separate racking.
  • The Timberline Solar roof system uses solar shingles instead of traditional PV modules, and GAF has developed the first nailable solar shingle in the world.

GAF Timberline Solar shingles installation
Source: GAF Energy

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