Have you ever suddenly noticed a little discoloured patch in your ceiling paint? Or a more obvious water stain on the ceiling? Or maybe a full blown drip coming inside? Chances are you have a leak coming from your roof. If you have an obvious drip coming in – this isn’t great. You need to get on top of it asap. Because if it’s coming into your living room, what is happening above inside the ceiling and roof space that you can’t see?
Help explain the most common cause of a roof leak
Ok, you have found your way to this article so chances are you have a leak coming in your house, and house and you want to know what the most common cause of that leak might be. How am I supposed to know what is going on with my roof? Well, there are a few common reasons why your roof would be leaking.
These are your most common roof leak causes:
Neglect, rooftop equipment, weather, and people.
This simplest solution is to call someone who knows what they are doing as soon as you notice there is a leak in your roof. If you are in Melbourne, give At Your Maintenance a call – in the meantime, read on.
Alternatively, you can climb a ladder and explore your roof yourself. If you can, jump up the manhole, and take a little look around, so then you can let the professionals know where you think the leak is coming from.
Some Major Causes of Roof Leaks
1) Cracked Flashing
Flashings are thin metal pieces which are placed under/around the roof tiles/shingles. They are also placed on the joints of the roof. On a tin roof they are the metal bits around the edges.
They are meant to act as a water-resistant barrier, and help with water drainage.. They can be covered up or left uncovered.
Over time the flashing can corrode and crack.
You would need to remove the tiles and then replace the flashings to fix this. It is important to reseal the flashings to prevent corrosion.
2) Broken Tiles
If you have a tiled roof, tiles can break and crack. Over time tiles can become brittle and crumble, or tiles can come off. Missing tiles often happen after strong winds or big storms.
You would need to pull out any damaged tiles and replace them. With older houses this can be tricky to find replacement perfect matches. Have you had a tradie on your roof recently and you think they might have been a bit heavy handed (or in this case footed), maybe a tile has cracked.
3) Valleys are not Properly Sealed
Valleys are areas on your roof where corners join. These usually slope inwards. If the valleys have not been sealed properly, you will have leaks in the seams of your roof.
To fix this, you will need to call a professional. This is a highly skilled aspect of roofing and needs to be done properly.
4) Air vent is Cracked
Roof vents look like small pipes sticking out of your roof. Their purpose is to allow the escape of moisture from the roof.
These can leak if the flashing cracks. But also due to age.
To fix this, you would need to remove the rubber seal around the vent. Make sure to break the seal around any touching tiles.
Replace the seal and fit it into place around the vent and under the tiles. Use caulk to seal the vents and secure them to the flashing.
5) Skylights are not Properly Installed
This is easy to spot as your skylight will be actively leaking. This is caused by bad installation, or seals not installed correctly. It can also be due to erosion over time.
This can be fixed by resealing the skylight. Find out where the leak is coming from.
Check for anything growing out of your gutters. Blocked gutters can cause water to run back onto the roof.
It is essential to check your gutters and clean them regularly. Especially in Autumn going into Winter.
Side note – Keeping your gutters clean is super important in Australia, not only for blockages, but also to stop areas of stagnant water which can cause the breeding of unwanted mosquitoes. No one wants mozzies hanging around the backyard.
7) Cracked Chimney
You need to look for cracks around the chimney and wherever it joins your roof.
Cracks will allow water to seep through the roof.
You might just need to find the crack and replace a missing mortar to fix this. It is safer to contact a professional because the materials used in a chimney are different to those used in the rest of the roof.
8) Condensation in the roof space
If there is mould or a strong damp smell in your ceiling roof space, then it means that water has somehow made its way inside your ceiling.
Condensation can easily form due to the changes in temperature between summer and winter. Moisture can sometimes get caught in this open space due to the temperature fluctuation from outside and inside the house.
Make sure to clean all vents and ensure they are all open and working properly.
9) Using Your roof too Much
If you are climbing up onto your roof, it can often cause parts of the roof to move or get damaged.
Make sure that you are not exploring your roof unnecessarily. Remind your tradie to be careful up there, especially if you have older roof tiles prone to cracking or crumbling.
What to do if the Roof is Leaking
- Move Your Belongings
Make sure to move anything out of harm’s way of the water.
- Stop the Spread
Try to contain the water with buckets. It is best to have a central place where the water can collect and be removed.
- Turn off all Appliance Power
Turn off the power to anything that is in the leaks possible path. eg the tv, lamps, aircon.
- Relieve the Water Pressure
If your roof starts to bulge, then poking a small hole in it can make a huge difference. This can stop the water from spreading through the inside of your roof.
- Cover Your Roof
It can help to place a tarp or cover on the outside of the roof. This can slow down or stop more water from coming into the roof.
- Photos for Insurance
This is purely for record-keeping so that you can prove that you did not damage your roof willingly.
- Call the Professionals
It is always good to call out professionals to sort out a roofing problem. They have the correct tools, knowledge and experience to ensure the issue does not reoccur.
- Regular Maintenance
It is good to check your roof regularly to make sure there are no issues. Also, makes sure that you are checking your gutters.
It also helps to check vents and to look for any mould.
Be vigilant when it comes to your roof. It is protecting the rest of your house. If you have a sudden flash flooding kind of scenario in the middle of the night and it’s dangerous – in Victoria call SES on 132 500. They are there for the big-time crisis’.
In the midst of a small leak – make sure you are safe, anything valuable is out of the way.
To avoid leaks from happening in the first place make sure that everything is intact with your roof gutters and flashing – and that nothing is out of place. Regular maintenance is key in keeping your home strong and reliable.