4 Common Causes Of Roof Leaks That Aren't Your Shingles

Not all roof leaks are caused by broken shingles or a degrading main roof. Often, the problem is quite small and only requires a little fix, but it can cause major damage if you try to ignore it. If you're worried about leaks or suspect you have one, knowing the most common causes can help you pinpoint the problem so you can get it fixed promptly. 

#1: Damaged Flashing

Flashing is the narrow metal strips installed around your chimney or along the valleys in your roof. These metal strips prevent leaks from occurring at the roof joints. Flashing sometimes degrades more quickly than the rest of the roof, especially if it's damaged by wind, ice or hail. A quick inspection of the flashing will usually reveal any problems. If the flashing is missing, pulled up, or is otherwise damaged, chances are it is the cause of the leak.

#2: Vent Pipe Collars

The various vent pipes on your roof are a necessity, but they can also lead to leaks. Each pipe has a collar around it designed to form a waterproof seal between the pipe and the roof. Much like flashing, these collars can degrade or become damaged. A quick visual inspection will identify any problems that could be resulting in the leak. The fix is as easy as replacing the collar.

#3: Skylight Failure

Skylights are a common cause of roof leaks. The seals around the skylight may give out so that water can flow freely into the home. The issue can affect any side of the skylight, but the edge at the top of the slope is most prone to problems since water can collect on this lip. Skylight seal failures will require resealing of the skylight. Your contractor may also install a lip above it to route the water that flows down your roof away from the skylight.

#4: Gutter Issues

Finally, your gutters can be the root of your leak problems, especially in winter. Dirty gutters or those that aren't installed properly may cause water to collect on the roof, which then freezes and forms an ice dam. As the dam thaws, a leak occurs. In summer, the issue with gutters is that water can overflow and cause the wood of the fascia boards behind the gutter to rot, which can lead to water inside the attic. Both problems can be prevented with proper gutter cleaning and maintenance.

Keep in mind that leaks sometimes happen down slop from where the water is getting in, since the water may get beneath the shingles but then flow downward for some distance before it finds a breach it can leak through in your sub-roofing. A roofing contractor (such as one from Stevens Roofing Corporation) can repair the leak at its source so your home stays dry.