Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How to Detect A Roof Leak

How to Detect a Roof Leak

As most people know the roof of your home or business is vital to the protection of the assets and belongings within.  The most obvious sign of a roof leak is water on the floor of the structure, however their are other ways to find a roof leak before it gets to that extreme.  When a roof is leaking bad enough that water is making its way to the flooring system, their is probably already a lot of other damage to other aspects of the building.  Most structures have a ceiling and insulation between the roof and the living space to help improve the energy efficiency of the HVAC system.  If a roof is leaking bad enough to make it through the insulation and ceiling material, then you have probably incurred a lot of damage already.  By this point your not only looking at the cost of a roof repair, but also cost to replace damaged insulation, sheetrock, and maybe even structural repairs as well.

In this blog post we hope to educate customers on how to detect a roof leak before it gets extreme.  We are going to list common signs of a roof leak, common causes of a roof leak, how to prevent roof leaks, and reasons why you should use a roofing contractor instead of hiring a handyman to work on your roofing system.  The first thing we want to talk about is how to detect a roof leak.  There are a lot of ways homeowners can inspect their home without getting on the roof.  Here are some signs we look for when inspecting roofs for homeowners.

  1. Checking the plywood or underside of the roof sheathing material for dampness or water stains. This is the easiest way to spot a roof leak, as the plywood will retain water for a short period before it starts to make it through into the structure.
  2. Checking the side walls or gable ends for water stains coming down the wall, especially where there may be a change in elevation on your roofing system.  If you have a leak in this area, your probably not going to see it on the ceiling in the home because it may be going all the way down the exterior wall of your home causing major damages.
  3. Looking for missing shingles, damaged tile, blown off metal, or any breaks or damages to the roofing material on the roof. These are obvious signs, but the underlayments on the roofing system will protect the home for a short period, however these repairs should be made immediately because underlayments are not designed to be exposed to the elements.
  4. Water marks on the ceiling of your home. Even though most leaks that make it this far into the structure can cause a lot of damage, if you catch it on the first time then you can save a lot of money by having your roof repaired immediately.
These are just a few ways to routinely inspect your home for roof leaks. Generally a roof leak can almost be detected immediately, however if a roof is installed properly, the underlayment will often offer some short term protection against a lot of water coming in your home.  When we say short term, we mean until the rain stops the same day you find out you have a leak.  Roof leaks come from a variety of causes, and can happen anytime, even after you get a new roof if your not using a qualified and licensed roofing contractor.  Flashing, underlayment installation, vent installations, and other penetrations on the roof confuse a lot of handymen leading to an improper install of your roofing system.  Not only will this require another trip from the contractor to repair the already new roof, it can also negate the roof warranty that most roofing material manufacturers offer with their products. Regardless of the age of your roof, a leak can happen at any time and for a variety of reasons.  Here are some of the most common causes of roof leaks:
  • Storm/Wind Damage - One of the most common causes of roof leaks on a properly installed roofing system still within the warranty of the roofing product.
  • Old Roof - Over the life of a roof, exposure to the elements begin to deteriorate the roofing system leading to failures in the product.
  • Improper Flashing - If steps in the roof, chimneys, skylights, etc. are not flashed properly then water will eventually find its way into the home. Flashing around these areas correctly are very important to installing a quality roof, so its important that you hire a roofing contractor that has the experience to know how to do this.
  • Missing Shingles/Damaged Tile/Raised Metal Panel - Sometimes roofing systems may be damaged by a neighbors limb, an animal, or a number of other reasons and obvious sign that your home or structure has a roof leak.  Also some roofing systems can be damaged from walking on the roof improperly as well.
  • Skylight Damage - A number of our roof repairs come from damage or aging of a skylight. Skylights have a lot of different problems over the life of the window, so sometimes roof leaks either get in through the skylight, flashing around the skylight, and sometimes condensation. In these instances the skylight should be repaired or replaced immediately.
We hope this blog post has been informative, and helps you in preventing roof leaks and major damages to your home or business.  The best way to prevent roof leaks if properly maintaining your roof system according to the roofing products manufacturer's recommendations such as cleaning the roof and keeping it free of leaves and debris. Maintenance recommendations vary from product to product, but the main thing is to keep your roof clean. Routine inspections, proper maintenance, and hiring a qualified and licensed roofing contractor can help make your roof last a long time and protect your home from the elements of the outside world.  The owner Retro Solutions Construction Company of Myrtle Beach, SC has been in the roofing business for 20+ years and we look for the same qualities in the people we hire as you should as a homeowner.  Training and hiring quality roofers is what makes us a successful and top rated roofing contractor in North Carolina and South Carolina.  If you live in North Carolina or South Carolina and would like a free roof repair estimate or a free estimate on a new roof then contact us through the information listed below.  Check out our other blog post for more home improvement ideas, product reviews, and other information on keeping your house in top notch shape.

Retro-Solutions Construction Company
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
Phone: 706-951-0158

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