When you purchased your home, you probably realized that you are responsible for repairing and replacing the AC, windows, roof, and/or anything else that needs it. After you sign up for comprehensive homeowners’ insurance, the most important thing you need to do is educate yourself on prevention and treatment of common homeowners’ problems. Here are some of the most common causes of residential roofing leaks. Check to see if any of these six situations exist on your roof so you can accurately describe the situation when you call in the professional roofer.
1. Storm damage
Flashing, shingles, and fasteners can all suffer from the high winds and the blowing debris present during a storm. It’s easy to spot missing shingles, but if there’s just been a storm with high winds it’s a good idea to call in a roof inspector so you don’t miss any hidden damage that could cause leaks later.
2. Roof features
Your chimney, skylight, and roof vent boots all create breaks in the roofing material that must always be tightly sealed to prevent water entry. If your previous roofer wasn’t experienced in dealing with any of these issues, you may have an inaccurately fitted skylight or an improperly sealed chimney.
Speaking of time, your roofing materials will only hold up for a certain amount of time. If it’s been fifteen to twenty years since you (or the previous owner) replaced the roof, you could have cracked flashing or any of a number of other hidden failures caused by great age.
4. Clogged gutters
Debris from storms or simply from trees growing near your house can cause this problem. Fortunately, it’s quite easy to prevent if you clean your gutters out regularly. Any time you have a mysterious leak, check to see if your gutters have recently become clogged.
5. Valleys or low slope
One problem that occasionally occurs in residential roofing is a “valley” between two peaks of a roof. Water tends to run here and become trapped, and trapped water is more likely to leak. Low slopes are at high risk for a similar reason: water doesn’t flow off them as rapidly as it does from a steeper slope.