Top 8 Reasons Your Roof Is Leaking – And What You Can Do About It

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Roof Ceiling Leak
If you’ve noticed water spots on your ceiling, it’s time to investigate the source of the leak. Roof leaks occur for various reasons, and some are more serious than others. While there are different DIY and ad-hoc solutions that you can try to patch up the problem, it’s essential to get to the root of the issue to ensure it doesn’t reoccur. This blog post will discuss the top eight reasons why roofs leak and how you can tackle the issue with lasting solutions. If you believe that you’re experiencing a roof leak, read on to find out more.

How to recognise a roof leak

The first step is to identify whether you have a roof leak. This process can be tricky, as water can enter your home in many ways, many of which are not immediately apparent. Water spots on your ceiling could indicate a problem with your roof, but they could also result from plumbing issues or condensation. If you’re not sure where the water is coming from, try to track the source of the leak by searching for the following signs:

  • Discoloured patches on ceilings or walls
  • Cracks or holes in the ceiling
  • Water stains around windows or doors
  • Mould or mildew growth
  • Peeling or blistering paint
  • A musty smell in the attic or upper floors of your home

If you notice any or a collection of these symptoms, it’s time to take action. However, before you can begin to address the problem, you need to identify the source of the leak. Roof leaks can result from various factors, many of which can overlap and compound the problem. Some of the most common reasons for roof leaks include:

1. Worn-out shingles

A frequent cause of roof leaks is worn-out shingles. As your shingles age, they become increasingly brittle and lose their ability to protect your roof from the elements. If you live in an area with high winds, this can cause your shingles to break or lift, allowing water to seep beneath them and enter your home. Roofs with raw patches or bald spots are especially vulnerable to leaks, as these areas provide little to no protection from nature’s forces.

The solution

If you notice that your roof has missing shingles, it’s essential to take action as soon as possible. Missing shingles leave your roof vulnerable to water damage and lead to leaks. You can usually spot missing shingles by looking for bare spots on your roof. If you notice any of these vulnerable areas, it’s time to call a roofing contractor to have them replaced.

2. Ageing materials

As your roof ages, the materials degrade and become less effective at protecting your home.

Roof tiles crafted from concrete or terracotta become porous, allowing water to seep through them and enter your home. Metal roofs are also susceptible to leaking as they age.

The galvanised steel may rust and corrode while the roof’s fastenings and seams become less secure, providing a pathway for water to enter your home. If your home has a roof approaching 20 years, or if you have a roof that has yet to undergo restoration, it’s essential to remain vigilant and consider contacting a qualified roofing contractor.

The solution

At Oz-Roof, we recommend a roof restoration every 20 years. If you’re not sure how old your roof is or what type of roofing was used in its construction, our roofing experts can help you assess the situation and make a recommendation tailored to your needs. Roof restoration or roof replacement performed by our experienced Adelaide team will ensure that your roof is in top condition and can successfully protect your home for decades to come.

3. Damaged flashing

Flashing is a thin piece of metal used to seal the joints between your roof and chimney, vents, skylights, and other protrusions. Over time, flashing can become damaged or loose, allowing water to penetrate the inner layers of your home. If you suspect that your flashing is damaged, you must remedy the issue as quickly as possible.

The solution

Reinstalling flashing can either be a DIY project or a job for a professional, depending on your level of comfort and experience. If you decide to tackle the project yourself, make sure that you use a waterproof sealant and nail the flashing down securely. If you’re not comfortable working on your roof, it’s best to contact a professional contractor who can get the job done quickly, correctly, and safely.

4. Leaking pipe vent

A pipe boot is a rubber or metal collar installed over pipes that protrude from your roof. Pipe boots can fail for various reasons, including cracked rubber, loose nails, or poor installation. If your pipe boot fails, water may trickle into your home through the opening around the pipe.

The solution

You can usually spot a failed pipe boot by looking for water stains or mould around the base of the pipe. If you think that your pipe boot has failed, it’s best to contact a professional roofing contractor. They will be able to assess the situation and make recommendations for an effective fix.

5. Improper Drainage and ponding water

If your roof accumulates water during heavy rainfall, your drain system is likely not working correctly. When water puddles on your roof, it puts extra stress on the shingles and can cause them to break or lift. Additionally, the weight of the water can damage your roof structure. If your gutters are not functioning correctly, they will not be able to redirect water away from your home, and it will pool on your roof. This can cause the water to seep under your shingles and into your home.

What is roof ponding?

Ponding is a term that describes water that remains on a roof for more than 48 hours after it has stopped raining. Occurring predominantly on roofs with a low pitch, ponding water can cause severe damage to your roof structure’s integrity.

The solution

Ponding is often the result of a clogged drain. If you think your roof is not draining correctly, the best course is to contact a professional roofing contractor. Improper drainage may also be caused by debris on your roof. If you live in a thickly wooded area, regularly check your roof for branches and leaves or install gutter guards to prevent them from becoming clogged as quickly.

6. Ineffective box gutters

Commercial Box Gutter

A box gutter, also known as an internal gutter, is a type of gutter that is placed between two parallel roofs. Box gutters are commonly installed on commercial buildings, but they can also be found in some homes. Box gutters can be a breeding ground for leaves and debris, which can clog the drain and cause water to back up onto your roof. Unlike eaves gutters, box gutters are not easily accessible, and the majority of their overflow is directed onto the roof surface.

The solution

Box gutters should be cleaned regularly to prevent leaves and debris from clogging the drain. If your box gutter is overflowing, it’s likely that the drain is clogged and will need to be cleared.

7. Possums

Adelaide Possum

Possums are essential members of our local ecosystems. However, they can also cause significant damage to your roof. Usually, there is a shortage of natural tree hollows that possums can use for nesting, so they will take advantage of any man-made structures that provide similar conditions.

The solution

The RSPCA recommends creating an alternative home for the possum before attempting to evict them. This can be done by installing a possum box in a tree near your property. Once the possum has moved into the box, you can seal up their usual entry point with a one-way door to prevent them from returning. Because possums are territorial animals, you should not attempt to relocate them to another area that other possums may already inhabit.

Fig. 1 A possum box is a simple and effective way to provide an alternative home for a possum. Diagram provided by the RSPCA (https://www.rspcaqld.org.au/blog/wildlife-conservation/how-to-solve-possums-nesting-in-your-house)

If you decide to try to remove the possum yourself, it’s essential to follow the correct procedures. Otherwise, you could be putting either the possum or yourself at risk. If you’re not comfortable removing the possum yourself, your best bet is to contact a professional willing to relocate the marsupial to another part of the property.

8. Improper installation or maintenance

It can be surprising to think about how many roofs undergo improper installation– but it happens more often than you might think. In fact, one of the more common causes of roof leaks is improper installation or maintenance. If your roof was not installed with adequate care, it is more likely to develop leaks over time.

The solution

If none of the suggestions on our list ticks the box and you suspect that your roof has been improperly installed, contacting a professional roofing contractor is your best course of action. A contractor will be able to assess the situation and advise you on the necessary next steps.

Wrapping up

We hope this article has helped you identify some of the possible causes of roof leaks. While there are many potential causes of roof leaks, the good news is that most of them are preventable. By taking simple steps to maintain your roof, you can avoid snowballing issues that lead to significant damage.

Of course, if you do find yourself with a leaking roof, it’s best to contact a professional roofing contractor as soon as possible. A qualified roofing contractor will be able to quickly identify the source of the leak and provide a lasting solution. Dealing with a leaking roof can be stressful. But with the right help, you can get your roof back in tip-top shape in no time.

If you suspect that your roof could benefit from some repairs, don’t hesitate to give Oz-Roof a call. Our friendly team would be more than happy to provide you with a free quote and expert advice.

Wishing you the best of luck in keeping your roof watertight!

– The Oz-Roof Team

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