October 11, 2017

Take Care of Your Roof Leaks

A leak in your roof is no small issue.

Water damage can have very serious consequences that go beyond unattractive stains on the wall (though, no one wants those either). Here is the dangers of leaks, how to find it, and what to do about it.

Leaks can cause structural deterioration (and yes, that is as concerning as it sounds). When you are lucky, leaks will stay on the attic floor and just stain your ceiling. When you aren’t (and most of the time, you’re not), the water will travel down the decking and leak into the framing in the walls. The dampened wood will begin to rot, and the frame will become less strong, meaning the roof and walls will begin to sag. While this is a very worst case scenario, it is even possible that if put under serious duress, the roof could collapse. Even a small leak could cause this, even if it takes years going unnoticed or ignored.

Your insulation could easily be damaged by clumping when wet. In this case, your energy bill will be running up, as you crank the heat to keep your home warm. And while running up the bill is inconvenient enough, clumped insulation also creates mold, leading to possible respiratory issues for you and your family.

One of the more serious issues however, is the possibility of fire or shock due to leaking. When the water leaks, it has the possibility of leaking onto an exposed wire. That could lead to a fire or electrically charged water. If you are aware of a leak, then it is safer to shut off the power, that way whoever touches the water doesn’t get a good zap.

Unfortunately when trying to locate the source of a leak, it is not often directly above where water is dripping. Water certainly travels. Many roofers advise you to “think like water.” Leaks normally come through damaged or missing shingles, loose nails, or poorly sealed edges around vents, skylights, and chimneys. Then the water travels down rafters, sheathing, and/or ceilings.

You should look for a leak while there is still daylight outside. Take a flashlight up into the attic and step ONLY on secure framing boards. Insulation and ceiling is too weak to hold you! Start where you found your leak and follow the discoloration or dampness. Even when the weather has been dry, the leak most likely will have discolored or stained the wood. When you find this, turn your flashlight off. This will expose the damaged or missing shingle, because sunlight will seep in through the hole. If there is rain, simply secure a bucket or some other container where water is leaking in. Then you can have the hole fixed later.

If you are needing a quick and easy temporary fix, then purchase a twelve by twelve galvanized sheet metal flashing at your local hardware store. You can then wedge the sheet underneath the damaged shingle, though you may have to pry out a couple of nails to fix the leak. For a more permanent fix, unless you are a professional, it is wiser to leave it up to professional roofing contractors to avoid further damage to your roof and harm to yourself.

Leaks are a big deal. Treat them like one! Call a professional roofer to help you find and fix your roof leak today.

Thank you!

The Chicago Roofing Army