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.

Read more

Metal Roof Repair – How to Fix a Leaky Metal Roof

When a new metal roof starts to leak shortly after it was installed, you will be justified to feel upset and cheated because of the whole “Leaky Roof” situation, especially if you’ve just recently shelled out many thousands of dollars to a questionable crew for your new “Forever Roof”.

metal-roof-repair

There are countless stories involving homeowners and businesses having to deal with a leaky metal roof that was freshly installed and now requires a professional repair to remedy the situation.

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

If you are currently dealing with a leaky metal roof, you are not alone. Read on to learn more on what your options are and how to best fix your metal roof leaks.

When asked whether they have called the company that installed the roof in the first place, I usually get one of the two responses; The contractor will not return the calls, or the company is out of business. Go figure! – This situation plays out over and over again, with all sorts of residential and commercial metal roofs that were installed by regular roofers rather than specialists.

From a leaky metal shingles roof that was installed over some four old layers of asphalt, to standing seam panels that were not properly flashed at the ridge using a z-bar flashing, or copper pans that were not properly soldered, I’ve seen it all! 😉

standing-seam-metal-roof-repair

Read more

Should I Repair or Replace my Roof? The Ultimate Guide

In this guide, we answer the burning question: “How do I know when it’s better to repair or replace a roof (and when and how to decide)?”

Quick Reference:

  • Replace your roof if it doesn’t keep out the weather, looks bad due to age or has suffered widespread damage.
  • Repair the roof when it is less than 12 to 15 years old, and the problems are isolated in a few spots.
  • Roofs older than 15 years should probably be replaced when this question comes up.

Roof Repair vs Roof Replacement

Hail damage to an asphalt shingles roof

When a roof is in fair condition, neither new nor obviously in need of replacement, it becomes a difficult decision. Repair is an affordable, short-term fix. Replacement cost is a lot higher, but going this route also means that your new roof likely won’t need major attention for 20 to 40 years, depending on the material you install.

Read more