A leaky roof is more than just a minor annoyance. Left unchecked, water that seeps into the home can cause catastrophic damage. What’s more, a minor leak can quickly turn into a major one, compromising the roof entirely and potentially forcing you to shell out for a costly replacement. Needless to say, this is an expensive prospect.
The risk posed to your home by water damage means that you should call a trusted roofing contractor at the first sign of a leak. In this article, we’ll explain just how a roofing contractor will repair a leaking roof, as well as what signs to look for if you suspect you may have a leak.
The Roof: Your Home’s First Line of Defense
Your roof acts as your home’s barrier against the sun and the weather, and as such, it’s designed to take some serious punishment. A well-made roof will provide insulation, helping to keep the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It will also be built to withstand heavy winds, ultraviolet radiation from the sun, and of course, rain. There are many elements of your roof working together to keep it air and watertight, but should any of these be compromised, it can place your home at risk.
The Parts of Your Roof
Your roof is constructed from a frame made of rafters and beams. On top of this, there is a layer of decking, which is usually made from a solid, impermeable material such as wood. Layered over this is an underlayment, which is a protective layer made from felt. Attached to the underlayment are the shingles, which tightly overlap to keep wind and water out. As the top layer, the shingles not only need to stand up to weather, but they also serve the home’s curb appeal since they are one of the only visible parts of the roof.
Your roof also has other parts designed to keep water out, such as aluminum flashing, which redirects water to a rain gutter and prevents it from pooling on the rooftop.
First Signs of a Leak
Since your roof is made up of so many parts, there are several areas where it can become compromised and allow water to seep in. Often, the problem starts with the shingles. Because they are constantly at the mercy of the elements, they have a tendency to wear out first.
In the early stages, a leaking roof may not be as obvious as water dripping from the ceiling to the floor. The first sign you see may be a dark spot on the ceiling or one that is damp to the touch. Entering the attic may reveal that the water that’s leaked has encouraged the growth of patches of black mold.
Step One: Locating the Leak
The first step your roofing contractor will take is to locate the exact source of the leak. Sometimes, this means they will have to enter the attic and look for the telltale signs of water seepage. In other cases, it simply means spraying the roof with a hose and seeing where water drips in.
Sometimes, of course, the location of the leak will be fairly obvious. If roof flashing has corroded in a certain area, or if shingles have been torn away by heavy wind, then these areas are likely to be candidates for the source of your leaking roof. The air vents on the top of the roof may also develop cracks or small fractures that allow water to seep through.
Step Two: Sealing Small Cracks
If the leak seems to be coming through a cracked roof vent or other area that can be easily patched with a sealant, your roofer will do just that. Often, they can repair a leaking roof simply by placing a few beads of sealant into a compromised area.
If the roof flashing has become corroded and the damaged area is small enough, your roofing contractor may be able to place a patch on it, made from the same material and glued down with roof sealant.
Step Three: Replacing Shingles
Often, the shingles are the first part of a roof to wear out or become lost due to heavy wind and weather. Fortunately, they are also relatively straightforward for a roofer to replace (depending on the material they are made from). Most shingles are made from asphalt, which is a lightweight, durable, and inexpensive material that happens to keep water out very well. Over time, however, wind, sunshine, and rain can wear away these shingles, and your roofer will need to replace them.
To replace them, your roofing contractor will likely need to remove some of the surrounding shingles and nail the new ones down directly to the underlayment, sometimes with a bit of roofing caulk underneath.
Step Four: Larger Problems
Sometimes, the problems go deeper than simply cracked flashing and missing shingles. Especially if an area has been leaking for a while, the decking itself might become compromised and need to be replaced. As the wood that makes up the decking rots, it can become weak and spongy, potentially risking a catastrophic collapse of the roof.
If this is the case, your roofer will need to cut away the damaged area of the decking and replace it entirely. This will mean attaching new underlayment and entirely new flashing and shingles as well.
Finding the Best Contractor for the Job
Locating the right contractor to fix your leaking roof means looking for someone with experience who can come to your aid at a moment’s notice. Problems can often occur without warning and must be addressed quickly before they escalate into worse ones. That’s why it’s a good idea to choose Interstate Roofing for your repair and maintenance needs. With over 30 years in business, Interstate Roofing offers on-call emergency services so that your roof can remain secure, whatever happens.