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Is a Low-Slope Roof More Likely to Leak?

When you are having a roof installed or repaired, one of the biggest fears is probably having a leak occur soon after. Leaks in roofing can cause serious damage to not only the roof itself but the room and property the roof is covering. Issues like leaks can happen to any type of roof, but if you have a low-slope roof, you may be wondering if yours is more likely to experience this unfortunate situation.

Low-slope roofs have many benefits, but they also have a few potential risks. One of those risks is being more susceptible to leaking. Leaking can be more common in these types of roofs simply due to the way they are built.

Even though there’s a slightly higher risk than a roof with a greater slope, there are many things you can do to ensure that your low-slope roof remains leak-free, like working with the right professionals. People who work with experts like Interstate Roofing to have their roofs installed, repaired, and maintained can attest to the difference it makes when you have knowledgeable and skilled people to assist you.
Read on to learn more about low-slope roofs and how to keep them from experiencing leakage.

What Is a Low-Slope Roof?

After hearing that low-slope roofs may be more susceptible to leaking, you’re probably wondering if your roof is considered low-slope. Not many people know what kind of roof their house or property has, but knowing can help you to take preventative measures against leaks.
When you’re trying to figure out if you have a low-slope roof, you need to know what a roof pitch is. Roof pitch is the angle of your roof, and that angle relates to how much of a slope your roof has. Though it may be tempting to get on the roof and figure this measurement out yourself, you should avoid doing anything you don’t have the skills or equipment to do safely. A professional will be able to tell you what your roof pitch is and determine if it’s a low-slope roof.

A low-slope roof is one that is not steep enough to put shingles on and has below a 3:12 roof pitch. This ratio means that for every horizontal foot that the roof measures, it goes up no more than three inches vertically. If your professional roofing company tells you that your roof is measuring to this size or lower, then you’ll know you have a low-slope roof.

What Causes Leaks in Low-Slope Roofs?

There are a variety of reasons why leaks can occur more often in low-slope roofs. One of the most common causes is poor drainage. Unlike roofs with a high slope ratio, low-slope roofs are more prone to having water or snow sit on their surfaces. The lack of slope makes it easier for liquids to collect on the roof and can cause damage to an area. As the water pools in one spot, that spot of the roof becomes weaker and weaker, breaks down the roof’s compounds, and eventually finds its way into your home.

Another reason why low-slope roofs can be prone to leaking is due to a damaged membrane. When not taken care of properly and as a roof ages, it can form cracks and splits on its surfaces. These cracks are the perfect space for water to seep through to the insulation of the roof. As that liquid builds up in the insulation, leaking will begin to happen indoors.

How Can I Decrease My Risk?

One way to help decrease the risk of leaking for your low-slope roof is to schedule regular maintenance. Professional roofing companies often have maintenance programs available for customers so that their roofs can be thoroughly inspected on a semi-regular basis. At Interstate Roofing, the maintenance agreement program is designed to help customers prolong the life of their roofs through preventative maintenance.

For instance, if there is water pooling on your roof or damaged material, having preventative maintenance can help to catch that problem before any serious damage occurs. Without having those frequent checkups, home and building owners often don’t realize there is an issue until costly damage has been done and the roof is in need of large, expensive repairs.

Joining a maintenance program has other benefits too that can come in handy when it comes to leaking roofs. Many roofs and their materials have the option to be under warranty, which protects you in the case of an emergency. Though those warranties are useful, they often have requirements to remain active, and those requirements usually include maintaining some kind of regular maintenance or having an inspection of the roof completed. These types of programs protect your roof and your warranty, which may help you to avoid costly repairs down the road.

How to Find the Right Professionals

Because one of the reasons low-slope roof leaking occurs is due to poor installation, finding the right professionals to install, repair, and maintain your roof is important. Not everyone with a ladder and some tools is qualified to do work on your roof, so going through a thorough vetting process when searching for a roofing company is in your best interest.

When looking for a professional roofing company to work in your area, you should start by looking into how long they’ve been in business. Local businesses typically don’t last long in an area if they aren’t doing good work, so having a few decades of experience can speak greatly to the reputation and quality of a company.

Another thing you can look into is what type of credentials they have. A good roofing company will often have certificates, awards, and certifications that they readily boast about on their website. Lastly, you can rely on the reviews of others to help you make a decision. Ask your friends and neighbors who they use for their roofing needs and if they have been satisfied with their work. You can also check online for reviews from customers and testimonials on the business’s website.

What To Do If Your New Roof Is Leaking

It’s a homeowner’s nightmare: you’ve just finished a project to replace your home’s roof with brand-new roofing. The roof looks fantastic, and even though it was a little expensive, that money was money well spent. But when the first storm comes, you hear it: drip, drip, drip. Somewhere in your home, your new roof is leaking, even though you spent all that money on it. You start to panic. What can you do? If you want to know what you should do about your new roof leaking, read on.

Your New Roof is Leaking: Dos and Don’ts

When you need to deal with a leaky new roof, there are things you should do, and there are things you absolutely shouldn’t do. Let’s look at both the good things that make sense to do and the bad things you should avoid.

Don’t Panic

This is a key thing to keep in mind when your new roof is leaking. Right now, you’re probably envisioning your no-doubt crooked roofer halfway to Casablanca with suitcases full of your hard-earned money. Stay calm, take a breath. Don’t panic.

The odds that you’ve been the victim of a terrible roofing scam are very slim. More likely, there was an error in the installation (often around complex features like skylights) or the flashing has failed. Less commonly, but still far more likely than a con job, is that some of the materials were of faulty manufacturer.

Either way, your new roof is likely under warranty (if your roofer is worth their license at any rate) and will be professionally obligated to inspect and fix what went wrong.

Calling your roofing company up and accusing them of being crooks might make you feel better in the moment, but it’s not going to get your roof fixed any faster.

Do Hire a Licensed Roofing Contractor

This is one of those things where if you’ve made this mistake, it may already be too late, but it still bears repeating. The one potential exception to worries about being scammed is if you decided to cut corners and hire a “roofing contractor” who didn’t have the proper licenses or training.

Sure, getting your friend’s uncle and his buddies to install your roof for the cost of a couple of pizzas and cases of beer might sound appealing, but the odds of a shoddy job go way up. Plus, if the leak does turn out to be a problem with the material, the manufacturer might decline to provide replacement parts on the grounds that the installation was not done by licensed roofers.

To save yourself this problem, always hire a licensed roofer for initial installation as well as any follow-up fixes.

Don’t Exaggerate the Problem

You want this new roof leak to be fixed ASAP, understandably. But telling tall tales about how bad the leaking problem is in the hopes that it’ll get the roofers to your place on the double won’t help. Not only will they get to your place and see that there obviously aren’t buckets of water pouring onto the floor, but inaccurate information will make it harder to identify and fix the problem.

On that note:

Do Accurately Describe Everything About the Leak

How did you find the leak? Is it an obvious drip-drip-drip from the ceiling? Did you discover water discoloration or puffy wallpaper? The more you can tell your roofers, the more likely it is that they’ll be able to identify the problem and fix it rapidly.

In fact, with accurate information, your roofers might be able to identify that the leak doesn’t come from the roof at all and can direct you to call someone who can help instead. Imagine that the leak was actually the result of a ruptured water pipe in the walls and you didn’t discover this until the roofers came to check it out.

Don’t Put Off Repairing the Leak

While some homeowners may be frantic to get their leak repaired, others may have the opposite problem. “It’s just in the attic,” they say, “we’ll put some buckets down and save ourselves the money and worry.”

This is a terrible idea. If you are thinking about putting off repairing a roof leak, that’s a huge mistake. Water is very persistent, and the constant flow of water can erode flashing, warp wood and shingles, and even wear holes in stone or concrete. To put it simply: if not fixed ASAP, a little leak can turn into a big leak and serious damage before you know it.

Leaks also have other dangers too. They can cause things like algae and mold to grow within the walls, where they won’t be easily spotted. Water can also cause electric shocks, which in turn, can be a fire hazard. Even on the low end of the risk scale, water where it shouldn’t be can cause issues such as affecting your insulation and reducing the effectiveness of your heating and cooling.

Do Set a Fair Timetable

While you shouldn’t let a leak sit and get worse for weeks and weeks, it’s important to set a realistic timetable for the repair. Worthwhile roofing contractors will make time to fix the issue ASAP, but they may also have prior commitments they are obligated to handle first.
As a general rule of thumb, you should expect a veteran roofing contractor to be on your property to assess the issue within a week of being contacted. If your contractor can’t commit to being there within that time, you should start making calls and finding a different contractor who can.

A new roof is something that you’re understandably proud of, and as a result, you can be understandably frustrated when it doesn’t work how it’s supposed to. If you’re looking for a roofing contractor who will do the job of installing your new roof right the first time—and will commit to making it right if anything goes wrong—then you need a high-quality company such as Interstate Roofing. Contact our professional staff for a consultation.

 

How Do I Make a Temporary Fix for a Leaking Roof? Then What?

If you’ve ever been caught off guard by a leaky roof, you know just how quickly it can ruin your day. Not only does it give you a whole new home repair project to contend with, but if left alone long enough, that one roofing project can spiral into replacing furniture, carpet, or even the bones of your house.

Should you wake up to that telltale dripping, the most important thing to do is launch into damage control. A temporary fix for a leaking roof isn’t going to get you very far, but it will certainly help you avoid more costly damage. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! With our years of experience, we have your back. These steps will help you make a temporary fix for a leaking roof, and tell you what to do after.

Evacuate the Damaged Area

With an active leak, you need to move fast. Before you do anything else, it’s imperative that you clear out the area the water is leaking into. Move anything that could be easily damaged by water, such as books or electronics, out of the room and into a safe place until the leak is sealed.

In addition to your smaller possessions, you’ll need to clear away any furniture under the drip to prevent water damage. That constant flow can easily warp wood or soak through a sofa, so act quickly. If you have carpeting, it may even be wise to pull it up and expose the underside to the open air. As with any water damage, mold is a serious concern. By moving your furniture and pulling up the carpet, you’ll be able to more effectively dry out anything that might be susceptible to mold spores.

Contain Any Flowing Water

Once the area is secure, you can get to work containing the water itself. This isn’t exactly a temporary fix for a leaking roof, but it’s still an important step in mitigating the damage. Find any kind of waterproof container you can—bucket, pot, washtub, anything—and position it under the dripping water. It’s not pretty, and you’ll need to watch it like a hawk to make sure it doesn’t overflow, but it’s the quickest and easiest way to manage the excess water.

If you’re lucky, the weather will let up and you won’t have to worry about it too much. But realistically? If you’ve found a leak, you’re probably dealing with a bout of serious rain. If it’s something you think you’ll be living with for a little while, you may want to leave a small board or a loose rag in whatever you’re using to catch the water. It doesn’t make it any more effective at containing it, but it will help muffle the repetitive dripping sound.

Find the Leak Itself

With your triage done, you can shift your focus to making an actual temporary fix for the leaky roof. You might think that tracking down the source of the water would be as easy as following the flow, but it can be surprisingly hard to determine where the problem is. Sure, you could just throw a tarp over the entirety of your roof and call it a day, but it’s not exactly the most elegant solution. Instead, we recommend doing a little investigative work to find exactly where the water is seeping into your home.

If you have access to your attic, you’ll want to start there. Look for any protrusions, black marks, water stains, or mold. Leaks tend to form around penetrations in the roof, such as chimneys and vents, as opposed to uninterrupted shingles, so pay close attention there. If it’s still raining, you may be able to see where the water is flowing from. If not, you may need to get a little creative and enlist some help.

Have someone use a hose to douse sections of your roof with water one by one while you observe from inside. This will allow you to determine where exactly the water is getting in from the outside. Once you know that, you can get to work sealing it up.

Lock Down the Leak

Since most people aren’t professional roofers, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make an effective long-term seal. That’s totally fine! Until you can get someone else to help, all you need to do is put together something functional. It doesn’t need to be pretty; it just needs to work.

There are a few options you have for sealing up your roof, but it’s all going to depend on what you have on hand. If you have tar paper and roofing cement, you can use that to quickly spread a few layers over the leak and seal it up. For smaller leaks, you can even use caulk or cement to plug the hole.

The most common solution, however, is using plastic sheeting or tarps to cover the leak until it can be repaired professionally. It’s a simple, if unattractive, fix. Just spread out your sheeting or tarp over the affected area, then secure it in place. Roofing nails would be ideal if you have them, but you can also weigh it down with any heavy objects you don’t mind leaving on your roof. As long as you have a heavy enough seal around the sheet, it should be an effective temporary fix for your leaking roof. That being said, until you get a more permanent repair, we recommend you keep that bucket close at hand.

Seek Professional Help

With the leak contained for now, it’s time to call in the roofing experts. Roofing can be a difficult and dangerous job, and it’s best left to people who know what they’re doing. A professional roofer will be able to assess the damage and determine the best course of action. Here at Interstate Roofing, our team is dedicated to serving our community for all their roofing needs. Should you find yourself in need of some emergency roof repairs, give us a call. Our trained professionals are ready and able to help.

5 Signs of Heat Loss Through Your Roof

Your roof does a lot more than just keep the elements out: it’s also responsible for keeping the heat in, which is a job a well-built and well-maintained roof will do very well. However, if you notice that your home feels colder than it should, or if you’ve been receiving unusually high energy bills, it could indicate that your roof isn’t being the effective insulator it should be.

Below are five signs of heat loss through your roof insulation that you should be aware of.

There’s No Snow on the Roof

You’ve seen it on a hundred different Christmas cards: an image of a quaint cottage with smoke curling out of the chimney and snow piled up on the roof. It makes you feel cozy just thinking about it because you can just imagine how warm and toasty the house must be inside. But if everything in that picture was the same except there wasn’t any snow on the roof, guess what? That house wouldn’t feel warm and cozy at all.

After a heavy snowfall or even a chilly Pacific Northwest morning, frost on the roof is a good sign: it means that the roof is ice cold. This is what it should be. If, on the other hand, the ice melts when it comes in contact with your roof, it means that the roof itself is warm. This is a sure sign that heat is escaping from your home and not being kept in by the insulation. Look at your neighbor’s roofs. Are they frosty? If yours isn’t, it may be time to call your roofing contractor.

You’re Noticing Leaks—Or Condensation

Regardless of the time of year, a leaky roof is a serious problem and one you should get fixed as quickly as possible. If your roof isn’t sufficiently keeping the elements out, it can lead to some serious problems inside your home. Dripping water can damage and destroy everything it touches, from paint to carpets to your home decor and other valuable property. It can also promote the growth of mold and mildew, which can be toxic and ultimately lead to health problems for the inhabitants of the home.

You See Damaged or Missing Shingles

Your roof is one of the sturdiest and longest-lasting, parts of your home. But, eventually, even it will begin to wear out and require maintenance. As with any other part of your home, it’s a good idea to have Interstate Roofing periodically send a professional to inspect the different elements of your roof and ensure that it’s still in good working order.

If your roof hasn’t been cared for in a while, or if you’ve recently had some extremely harsh weather, you might notice signs of damage. Usually, roof shingles are the first and most obvious sign that a roof isn’t in great shape. Your shingles also provide a barrier, preventing dirt, water, and ice from sneaking its way into your home. If you see cracked, damaged, or missing shingles, your roof may be in bad shape and unable to do its job properly. This includes keeping the heat in. Warm air will seep out through any cracks or holes where roofing material has been worn away.

There Are Gaps Between Your Ceiling and Roof

Of course, even a well-made, strong roof that has been properly maintained can’t do the job alone. If there are any gaps or cracks between your ceiling and roof, warm air will make its way up there, and eventually, the heat will diffuse out of your home and into the surrounding environment. You’ll periodically want to inspect your entire home for gaps in insulation. The most vulnerable areas are usually the sealing surrounding can lights, pipes, and wiring.

Depending upon the severity of the problem, it’s often possible to fix minor damage to your insulation on your own. You can purchase silicone sealants for pipes at any hardware store. Expanding foam insulation is also available for creating airtight seals around windows and doors, but be warned: it’s nasty stuff and will absolutely stick to everything it touches. Of course, if you’re unsure if you want to tackle this job on your own, don’t be afraid to contact a professional.

You Have Insufficient Insulation in Your Attic

The efficiency of your roof, as far as keeping warm air in (or cool air during the summer), depends largely on your attic. Even if you’ve carefully sealed every crack you could find and had your shingles repaired and maintained, your roof will never reach its full potential if you don’t have great insulation in the attic itself. Over time, insulation can lose its effectiveness, as holes develop, mold grows, and materials fall from where they’re attached. Occasionally, having a professional roofer inspect and, if necessary, replace the insulation in your attic will keep your energy costs lower and your home warmer.

There are several materials roofers use to ensure an attic is well insulated, each with its own particular benefits. Loose-fill insulation, made from fiberglass or cellulose, is sprayed into place using a type of hose. It’s great for insulating nooks, crannies, and other areas that are difficult to access. It can also be layered over other types of insulation, creating an extra layer of protection from the cold.

You’ve probably also seen insulation rolls. These are long lengths of thick fiberglass that can be ideal for large areas (such as attics). Foam board insulation is also popular. Usually made from polystyrene or polyurethane, this insulation medium comes in the form of large, rigid panels that can be attached over pipes, wood, and studs.

You’ve probably also seen insulation rolls. These are long lengths of thick fiberglass that can be ideal for large areas (such as attics). Foam board insulation is also popular. Usually made from polystyrene or polyurethane, this insulation medium comes in the form of large, rigid panels that can be attached over pipes, wood, and studs.