Roof leaks can be disastrous to the structure of your home, especially if the underlying cause isn’t discovered and fixed promptly. Pinpointing the exact cause, however, can be tricky since water can move through the layers of the attic before dripping onto the ceiling below.
If you think your roof is leaking, check the interior and exterior of your home for common causes of roof leaks, obvious damage, or problems with moisture.
Signs of Roof Leaks On the Outside
Inspect your home’s exterior from the ground. Please leave it to the professionals to climb a ladder and get on your roof for extensive evaluation. Watch for these telltale signs of a roof leak:
Missing or Damaged Shingles
If you notice missing, cracked, distorted, or damaged shingles, you’ve found a spot where water may be entering your home. Compromised shingles can ruin the water resistance of your home’s roof and create easy access for water to find its way into your home. Water can travel throughout your home before showing any visible sign of a leak anywhere else.
Roof flashing is a flat, thin piece of metal used to help waterproof the roofing system. It helps direct water away from joints and seams in your roof, like around the chimney, in open roof valleys, or in places where the roof surface meets a wall. Leaking may start happening if flashing becomes weak, loose, or damaged. Damaged flashing is often caused by storms, high winds, or improper installation.
Gutters Pulling Away from the House
Many factors, including damage from severe weather, improper installation, loose fasteners, or the excessive weight of accumulated debris, can cause gutters to pull away from your home. A sagging gutter system can prevent proper water drainage, forcing it to seep into the wooden fascia boards and enter your home.
Damaged Plumbing Vent Boots
Vent boots keep a watertight seal around the vent pipes. A split in the rubber seal of the vent pipe boot can serve as an entry point for water, which can further run down the pipe and spread to other parts of the roofing system and home.
Branches or Limbs on Your Roof
Branches and limbs can snap off in high winds or break under the weight of snow. When this happens, they can rip off shingles or put holes in your roof, leaving the roof susceptible to the elements and leaks.
Moss Growing on Your Roof
If you notice mold or moss growing on your roof, it could be an indication of a roof leak. These growths thrive in warm, wet environments, which can easily be caused by a roof that has absorbed a lot of moisture. Mold can begin to grow on your shingles and spread quickly without you noticing. Left unchecked, it can weaken your roofing material.
Signs of Roof Leaks from Inside the House
On the inside, you should keep an eye out for:
Actual Water Dripping
If you notice water dripping from the ceiling or along the walls, a roof leak is likely to blame. Even if the leak is intermittent, you still need to have it checked and fixed to ensure it doesn’t get worse. It could even be a sign of an ice dam.
Mold on Your Ceiling or Walls
Mold will thrive in any moist area with very little air movement. If your roof is leaking, moisture will build up in the attic space, creating a conducive environment for the growth of mold.
Do you see brown or yellow stains on your ceiling and walls? You may have a leaking roof. These water spots look like a large puddle on the ceiling, with faint rings around the edges. They could result from one or a few pinholes letting water into your home. It’s essential to have your roofer repair the leak to prevent rotted framing, mold, and damaged ceilings.
If you notice a mildewy or musty odor in your home, especially when the weather is damp or when you turn on the HVAC, it is likely the result of mold from a roof leak. Sometimes, the smell is caused by wet insulation, so you may need to go into the attic to check if any rolls or batts are damaged.
Soft Ceiling or Drywall
Interior paint is sturdy enough to hold in water. So, as water from a roof leak passes through the wall or ceiling, it is held back by the paint layer. Affected areas may soften and become depressed when they are pressed upon. This is common in areas around skylights, chimneys, or roof vents.
Time for Professionals
While it might be tempting to ignore a roof leak, especially if the problem seems to go away, the best course of action is to have your roof fixed as soon as possible. Leaky roofs do not get better on their own. Ignoring a small stain on your ceiling or bubbling on the wall could result in extensive, costly damage.
If you suspect you may have a leak, call a professional roofing contractor to make a thorough inspection and repair. At Bill West Roofing, we provide free roof inspections and repair estimates in Lee’s Summit, MO. We strive to solve roofing problems promptly and check for weak spots to prevent future leaks. Contact us today to speak with one of our roofing experts.