What to Look for if Your Roof is Leaking

Why Is My Roof Leaking?

If moisture, in the form of a drip from the ceiling has made its way into your home, a closer inspection is definitely needed. We had a customer in Mill Valley call us once, with a roof leak that was running down his interior kitchen wall. Since the wall faced the backyard, under his big redwood tree, he thought his gutters might be overfull, keeping the roof from draining properly.

Where the leak is dripping inside is not always an indication of where the leak started.

Our customer had made a good guess, but not the right one. Since it was raining, I checked the crawl space in his attic first. I found an air vent above the kitchen area. When I peeled back a small area of insulation around the vent, I could see the wood beneath was moist and discolored. After a closer inspection I saw that the water was traveling down the plastic covered insulation on the sloped roof, which acted as a conduit. When it hit the eave where the roof met the top of his kitchen wall, it continued in its downward path. Luckily, for this customer, I found an easy solution to his leaking roof.

The next day, when the rain stopped, I inspected the roof from the outside and confirmed my hunch. The seal around the flashing of the air vent was badly cracked. This is one of the most common reasons for roof leaks.

The three top reasons your roof is leaking.

1) The seal around the flashing is cracked or the flashing itself is damaged.

Flashing is used around plumbing vents, furnace vents and around chimneys. It consists of sheet metal strips that go under shingles, or into mortar to provide a barrier, or up and over shingles for head wall flashing. Some flashing sits like a collar around pipe vents. Some flashing is sealed with tar. Over time the tar can weather and crack and the metal itself may crack. Compared to other forms of damage, flashing requires a fairly easy fix. Sometimes it is as easy as a reapplication of tar. In others, the flashing will require replacing.

2) Missing or torn shingles

Depending on the age of your roof and the weather conditions where you live, shingles may become damaged or get blown off in the wind. Replacing an area of missing shingles can also be a relatively easy repair, depending on the size of the area where the damage exists. Of course, you will want to consider the overall age of your roof to determine whether an area repair will be like putting your thumb in a dike. A professional roofer can help you determine whether a spot repair or a roof replacement might be the wisest choice.

3) Roof debris and clogged gutters

Sometimes, just making sure your roof is clear of debris and your gutters are clean, can prevent or help to alleviate a roof leak. Debris that collects on the surface of your roof can keep the water from draining properly. The same is true if your gutters are full of leaves, branches or pine needles. They can act as a damn, holding water in one place, so it has time to seep into any tiny cracks or crevices in your roof’s surface area.

If you are experiencing any ceiling bubbles, discoloration or moisture inside your home don’t hesitate to contact us. If the damage is already noticeable, you may have major water damage on your hands. One of our professional staff can provide a no-obligation estimate.

Booth & Little Roofing is the second oldest roofing company in Marin, established in 1923. Many of our staff have been with us for 20 years or more. When one of our team provides an inspection, you can trust you’ll be talking with a roofer and not a salesperson.

Let’s see what is causing your roof to leak. A free, no-obligation roof inspection is as little as a few clicks away.