Why Is There Water in My Attic?

Articles | Repairs | Roofing
September 28, 2023

If there is a way for water to get into your attic, it will find its way in. Whether by seeping through attic roof vents or by dripping past a hole in the underlayment, eventually, moisture always finds, and attacks, the weakest points in your roof.

Left unchecked, water damage can have an absolutely catastrophic effect on a home and the property within. Once it finds an avenue to get into a building, moisture can ruin paint jobs, weaken insulation, and encourage the growth of dangerous, toxic mold and other fungi. Even a small leak can prove incredibly destructive, as the water damage will compound on itself over time and ultimately force an expensive roof repair or replacement.

Preventing an expensive repair bill is a matter of addressing leaks as quickly as possible. Below, our experts from Interstate Roofing will advise you on exactly what to do if you find water in your attic:

How To Detect a Leak

A leak in your attic will not always be obvious, nor will it always have an obvious cause. While you may encounter the stereotypical dripping rafters or see the telltale glistening on the walls, the presence of moisture can also be a lot more insidious.

One key indicator is the presence of black mold in the wooden framework of your attic. The spores of this mold are carried everywhere by the wind and can lay dormant indefinitely. This means that all it takes is a little moisture to activate them and lead them to produce more toxic spores and begin damaging the wood around them. Mold may appear as black streaks or dark spots in the wood and is a clear sign that water has entered the attic nearby.

Water doesn’t just damage wood either; it also damages metal. While modern roofing materials are made from high-grade materials and chemically treated to withstand the constant onslaught of rain, water always wins out in the end. Rust and corrosion on attic roof vents, pipes, and other metal elements can show you exactly where the moisture is entering your home.

Find the Weak Points

If you notice any of the above indicators or any other signs that water is invading your attic through your rooftop, your next step is to locate all compromised areas. In other words: you need to find out how the water is getting in.

One of the most important functions of a roof, of course, is to keep water out, and the modern roofing materials Interstate Roofing installs are particularly good at this task. High-strength, lightweight shingles, which are secured to a watertight underlayment, are designed to keep the interior of your home dry no matter what the weather is like outside.

Nevertheless, weather is nothing if not persistent, and high winds and falling debris can damage even the best-quality roofing materials. Important signs that the roof has become seriously damaged are missing shingles, rusted flashing, or the underlying structure of the roof becoming visible. In extreme cases, there may even be visible holes in various areas of the roof.

In other instances, it may not be quite as obvious where the leak in your roof is. It’s possible that water is slipping under the shingles and seeping into the roof despite there being no obvious signs of damage. If that’s the case, you may have to take other steps to see how the water has managed to get into your attic. One way to do so is to use a hose to saturate the rooftop with water. Doing so will cause any leaks that may be present to reveal themselves as you will be able to visually detect water that is seeping into the attic.

The Repair Process

Any damage to your roof will quickly compound on itself. Due to the fact that moisture encourages the growth of wood-eating mold, a small leak can eventually turn into a much larger one. If the damage is extensive, it may force the replacement of the entire roof. Needless to say, this is a costly prospect.

If the damage to the roof is detected early enough, however, it’s usually a fairly simple matter for a roofing contractor to repair it before it spreads. For example, if heavy winds have carried away a few roofing shingles, but no moisture has actually crept past the underlayment, then expert roofers can usually just replace those shingles entirely.

Often, roofers can patch holes in attic roof vents or in roof flashing using roofing cement. Rust tends to begin with small, pinhole-sized areas and expand outward from there. Eventually, larger holes may develop. If these cannot be easily filled with roofing cement alone, then a patch can also be made using the same material as the original element of the roof.

In more serious situations, where the damage to the roof due to an unchecked leak in the attic has not been detected in time, then our roofing professionals may be forced to replace larger elements of the roof. This may involve removing all the shingles, underlayment, and flashing in a given spot and sometimes even cutting away large sections of the wooden truss of the roof and replacing them entirely.

Talk to Your Roofer

While we’ve mentioned that some of these repair jobs are relatively simple ones, note that this is only in the context of them being performed by a trained and licensed roofing professional. Working on a roof requires specialized equipment and a high degree of training to work safely. There is also the fact that attempting roofing repair tasks with the help of a roofing professional may lead you to miss important details that can ultimately lead to further damage.

If you notice that your attic is leaking, or if you believe that an area of your roof may have become compromised, contact your professional roofer from Interstate Roofing to ask for an inspection. Even if you do not suspect a leak, regular professional inspections of the roof can still be quite beneficial, as they will help to prevent situations where damaged areas go undetected for long periods of time, ultimately leading them to worsen.