Find out why you should never ignore a roof leak.
We all have a list of home improvements and repairs that we’ll get around to completing “one of these days.” But “fix roof leak” should never be one of them!
Combine the destructive force of water with a breach in your home’s first line of defense, and you have a major disaster in the making.
In this article, we’ll talk about what causes roof leaks, what to do when you have one, and why you should always take them seriously.
Your roof is far more than a single layer of shingles that keeps out the rain. The full structure starts with a layer of plywood decking, then a moisture barrier, and finally the shingles. For a roof leak to occur, all three layers must be breached.
Here in Central Florida, one of the most common causes of a roof leak is severe weather. Hurricanes, tropical storms, and other windstorms can rip off shingles and drive rain under the moisture barrier.
Roofs can also experience external damage from animals, people, or flying debris. Squirrels, raccoons, and other critters may seem small and harmless, but they have been known to eat at roofing materials. Similarly, people walking around on the roof or low-hanging branches can damage shingles.
While rare, leaks can also arise from improper installation or repairs.
Finally, roofs can leak when they reach the end of their lifespan. The average roof lasts about 20 years before it needs to be replaced.
Whatever the cause, water is now dripping from your ceiling. What do you do about it?
Above all, don’t wait to have your roof leak repaired!
If there is water inside your home, that means that the leak has made it past the moisture barrier to the plywood decking underneath.
The plywood will absorb moisture, which can cause warping, swelling, and mold. Wet, moldy plywood is weak plywood. If left alone, it can cause your roof to cave in.
If the water reaches any wiring, you also run the risk of electrocution.
If you notice any signs of a roof leak—staining, discoloration, bubbling ceiling, rusty nails on the underside of the roof—call a professional ASAP.
“But this YouTuber told me I could fix a roof leak myself! How hard could it be?”
While there may be some home repairs that can be done by amateurs, a roof leak is not one of them.
The first reason is that roof leaks can indicate a much larger problem and it can be hard to source exactly where the leak is coming from. For instance, water may be coming through the ceiling in the kitchen, but the source of the leak might actually be above the garage. A professional can pinpoint the exact cause of the leak.
Professionals also stand behind their work with warranties and guarantees. Roof repairs are difficult and dangerous. If you screw something up, you’ll not only be on the hook for it, you might even have voided your roof’s warranty by doing so.
Besides, what if you fall off the roof? Professionals have the training and safety equipment (not to mention the insurance coverage) to keep them safe.
Once that roof leak is taken care of, it’s a good idea to take a few preventative measures.
For starters, if you don’t have to be up there, stay off your roof! Roofs are not meant to bear weight for an extended amount of time.
Next, cut back any overhanging branches that could scrape or fall on your roof. If the area is already clear of trees and foliage, try to keep it that way. Squirrels use tree limbs as a “highway” to gain access to your roof (and, in some cases, into your home).
If you have them, clean your gutters often. Blocked gutters can cause water to pool and back up under your roof. Similarly, check for cracks around chimneys, vents, and skylights, as this is an easy entry point for water.
It’s also a good idea to check shingles after a severe storm, to make sure they haven’t sustained any damage. Be wary of roofing companies who offer to do this for you unsolicited, as some have been known to cause intentional damage while they’re up there.
Lastly, keep an eye on the condition of your roof by scheduling a wind mitigation inspection. Best case scenario, your roof passes inspection and you may be eligible for a discount on your home insurance premiums. Worst case, you know exactly what needs to be fixed and you’ll be well prepared for the next big storm.
A leaky roof is far from a minor annoyance. It’s a major issue that deserves swift and immediate action.
Once rainwater has reached inside of your home, it has also reached the plywood decking that holds up your entire roof. In addition to making it vulnerable to mold and pests, water weakens your roof, making further disaster even more likely.
If your home has been hit by a hurricane, fallen tree, fire, or other natural disaster, we can help! Axel Works is a damage restoration company, which means we can repair more than just roofs. And because we’re an approved vendor for most national insurance companies, you can trust us to complete the job the right way…the first time.
Call today to receive fast, efficient service!