So let’s get this out of the way right now, if you have a roof leak you should be on the phone with a roofer and not reading this book. But, if you’re still here, I would like to share how to recognize leaky roof issues so that you can fix them before they turn into a bigger more expensive problem.
What do you need to know about roof leaks?
1. Common causes of leaks
2. Signs of leaks
3. Costs to fix a leaky roof
4. What that weird smell means
A leaky roof is more than just a nuisance! Without prompt attention, a leaky roof can quickly turn into an expensive headache, costing you time, money, and most times the health of you and your family. While the problem may be small now, in a few weeks or even days, it can turn into a dangerous situation. The weather around North America is as varied as the people. Here in the northeast we all love the changing of the seasons. However, your roof doesn’t.
The Danger of a Leaky Roof
When a roof leak causes moisture to spread inside your home, it can lead to serious health problems for your family. From mildew and mold to serious health problems such as dehydration, respiratory issues, and even cancer, having an unhealthy roof can have serious implications.
Why is Your Roof Leaking?
Different factors cause leaky roofs, and most times it’s a combination of things that take a while to occur. Sometimes a leaky roof results from damage from rain and storms, perhaps even ice or a burst pipe. Other times, the source is from problems with the gutters and downspouts.
There are a few different causes of roof leaks and each one needs to be addressed, so the leak doesn’t continue or become worse. Perhaps the cause is as simple as failing to change the roof drain when your gutters were cleaned last. If that’s the case, let a pro worry about climbing those tall ladders and fixing the gutters. If the leak isn’t a result of water coming from the gutters but has something to do with your roof, there may be a leak in your roof foundation and the structure will need to be reinforced. In some cases, the roof may have become cracked due to age or weather abuse and needs to be completely replaced. If a leaky pipe caused the leak, the building owner might even be required by law to conduct a roof inspection to determine if the damage is severe enough to require replacement of the entire roof.
What the cost of a roof leak really is
A water leak is anything that has water dripping down from the roof to the interior structure. This can be from leaks inside the building from the roof gutter or it can be a leak coming through the attic. An average leak will cost you anywhere from $100 to $2,500. It’s also important to note that the bigger the leak, the more you’ll likely need to pay. A leak that comes through a hole in the roof might only cost you $400 or less. However, if it’s from the roof lining, and leaks through 2nd or 3rd level walls, that estimate can jump to thousands! The cost of a leak can also quickly escalate to more than just dollars and cents. Most roof leak problems stem from the cracks and cavities that exist in your roof, which left untreated, can lead to invisible mold spores in your home that can cause respiratory issues for people who live there.
Signs that you need to fix your roof
• You might notice the ceiling dripping down after a heavy rainfall. Or the water from the gutters will seep onto your property, ruining flower beds or ponding in your driveway rather than diverting away from the home.
• Your family and pets can’t play outdoors because the water can pool up on the ground without moving, which can show the beginning of a foundation issue.
• The ground around your home may have an unpleasant odor due to mold or mildew.
• The roof will rust or discolor and most times, the integrity of it will deteriorate. If you spot these things early, you can avoid further damage.
The time to act before it is too late. A leaky roof is more than just a nuisance! Without prompt attention, a leaky roof can spin into a costly headache.
A wet carpet or ceiling
Huge or minor lacerations on your ceiling may be due to:
• Heavy rainfall
• Extended hot summer days, or frosty nights
• Rains and lighting storms
• A faulty or failing HVAC system
• Freezing and thawing
If these scenarios sound like the cause of your roof leaks, it might be time to have a professional inspection before it causes further damage to your home. The first step is to perform a careful visual inspection of your roof to see if there is anything you can do about the problem yourself, or if you need to call a professional to come out. Sometimes, a good hard rain can trigger a leak, but the best solution is to catch it while it’s dry so you can get it fixed quickly and efficiently.
Mold on the walls or in the attic
Are you concerned about a musty smell inside the attic or upper rooms of your house or your house smells as if it hasn’t aired out properly? However, you’ve looked up there and did not see anyone there. It’s probably mold. Fortunately, there are simple things you can do to make sure it stays trouble free. Check for minor cracks and leaks. Even a small crack in the ceiling can get larger quickly. Look carefully and make sure that nothing seems amiss. If you are finding cracks on the siding, especially under porches, make sure you get them repaired before the minor problem becomes a large one.
A musty smell in the house
Sometimes a leak in the attic may find its way to lower foundations of the house via pipes and interior walls. A crack in the kitchen's wall might lead to mildew in the walls and lifting of your new tiles. Ceiling and floor tiles damaged by water show leaks, but often once you notice it, that indicates it’s already become a larger issue.
Perhaps it’s noisy creaks and vibrations from the roof you chalked up to an aging home, making it impossible to sleep. A separation between joints causes noises and creaks within the house, allowing moisture to penetrate. Which, of course, can lead to mold and mildew, making your entire house smell like a wet dog. Let us send a roofing specialist to investigate any potential hazards that may be present.
How to mitigate water damage from a leaky roof
Before you decide to add this to a honey do list, take a moment to consider the worst-case scenario. In a worst-case scenario, what would happen if your small leak turns into a major problem? A problem affecting the health of your family or the foundation of your home? If you haven’t taken the proper steps to protect your roof in the past, you’re going to want to get started now. Let us send out a professional to look for places where water can come in. This means checking the front and back decks, chimneys, windows, and gutters. Since your roof is one of the most important things protecting you and your family from the elements, it’s critical that you keep water from getting in. We can investigate areas that could leak from your gutters or downspouts, or even from your attic, and treat those areas with a preventative maintenance sealant to keep water out.
Fixing leaks as soon as they happen
If you have a leak in your roof, it is best to fix it right away. Not only do small leaks turn into larger ones, they can also become more difficult to fix if you wait too long. A leaky roof can be subtle, but it can still make a mess in your home and on your property. A few drops of water is all it takes to start a small rainstorm inside of your home. Although water may seem insignificant, water droplets that fall on a flat roof become very heavy and can eventually cause your roof to collapse or crumble.
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