‘Roof-leakage’ is the most dangerous and threatening word for a homeowner because it is really very hard to trace it. Repairing a roof-leakage is never as troublesome as finding its actual location in the roof. Once you have found out its real origin, you can repair it quite easily.
If ever you find water stains across your ceiling or water spots running down the walls, most probably it is a roof-leakage. Water must have been seeping from somewhere and spreading throughout the entire roof. The next step is to find out this leakage-spot so that it may be repaired immediately. Well-reputed firms like Roofing contractors Ann Arbor Michigan, etc. may be of great help in this regard. Here, we have also worked out a guideline for you as to how to find out a leakage-spot in the roof.
How to find a roof-leakage
Whenever you start tracking down a leak, always do so by looking at the roof uphill from the stains. The most important thing is to look for any penetrations on the roof. The most common source of leakage is the items, particularly water, entering through the penetrations. If the shingles are uninterrupted, it is rare for the leaks to develop, no matter how old the roof is. Penetrations in a roof are of various types including plumbing, roof vents, chimneys, dormers or anything else that projects through the roof. Moreover, the leaks may be several feet above, right or left of the penetrations.
Luckily, if an attic access is available with you, it will be the best to take a flashlight over there and look for the evidence. You will find some water stains, black marks or molds round the problematic spot. In case you don’t have an attic access or there is a vaulted ceiling, just don’t worry.
Now, you will just have to go onto the roof to examine the suspects. If the leak is not detected in this way, take your garden hose with you on the roof. Start soaking the suspected areas one by one for a sufficient duration to allow a drip down the ceiling.
It may take an hour or so in locating the leakage in this way, so you must be patient enough. Have a helper inside the house just where the leak appears and ask him to tell you about the drip. If this trick doesn’t work either, start removing shingles in the suspect area. Here, you must find the evidence of leakage and you will reach the source by tracking down the evidence.
Technical causes of roof leakage
There may be several causes for the roof leakage but the most crucial ones are the followings.
- Cracked flashings
Flashings are a water-resistant barrier in the form of thin pieces of metal placed under shingles and on the joints of your roof. These flashings may be kept concealed or exposed. In case they are concealed, they will have a rubberized coating over top. If exposed, they will take the form of long runs of sheet metal. The metal pieces of flashings are often sealed with tar by roofers and these pieces can corrode over time. With the passage of time, rain and wind affect the flashings very badly and they get broken and cracked.
- Broken shingles
Since shingles are the outer layer of the roof, they are really very easy to spot. You can identify any missing shingles by observing different-colored patches on your roof. Severe weather, high winds, heavy rains and storms cause the shingles to break down. They may litter your yard after the heavy storm.
- Valleys may not be properly sealed
A valley is an area where two planes of a roof come together. Rainwater can get inside through the sloped valleys if they are not properly sealed. The leakage problem of this sort can be detected by searching the wet spots running along the seams of your roof. The main reason for this is the poor ceiling right from the start or the erosion caused by the excess of rain or ice.
- Cracks in vent booting
There are left roof vents like small pipes protruding out of the roof, meant to expel excess moisture from inside. If some leakage occurs from here, it will cause or leave corresponding dark spots behind. Roof vents are often sealed by placing some flashing around the opening. Moreover, a tight rubber boot is also slipped over the point where the pipe peeks out of the roof. These flashings can break or the roof can decay over the months.
- Building up of an ice dam
At the edge of the roof, there often forms an ice-ridge that prevents the melting-ice from draining off. The roof gets damaged by the combined weight of the ice and the water already sitting there. When the snow melts, the water runs between the roof’s surface and the snow and freezes into ice when it settles on the roof’s exterior edge.
- Clogged gutters
The drainage system of your roof top is meant to drain the rainwater off. When the gutter on the roof gets clogged, this drainage of water stops. The rainwater gathers in the form of a small pool and starts seeping through cracks and becomes a leakage.
- A cracked chimney
The area around the top of the chimney often shows signs of wear and tear along the mud cap. A cracked chimney may create holes in the mortared joints where the chimney and the roof connect with each other. Mortar, a thick mixture of water, sand and cement, erodes easily in the acute weather conditions.
- Improperly installed skylights
At the time of installation of the skylights, there may remain gaps or penetrations around their sides. Improperly measuring and fitting the skylights leave these gaps. Besides, insulation around the skylights edges gets decayed over the years and cause leakage to take place.
These are some of the technical causes behind a roof leakage which must be shared with others for better awareness and recovery.