If you have a severe winter and your roof isn’t insulated well enough to keep the snow from melting, it doesn’t have to rain for your roof to leak.
Have A Roof Leak? Call Us Today – (860) 216-2785
When a layer of snow on the roof melts, it first runs down and freezes over the eaves, which causes ice dams, and then the water backs up behind the dam and under the roofing shingles. Ultimately, water will seep in through your ceilings and walls. Obviously, you don’t want that to happen.
Is Water Damage Coming From A Roof Leak?
If you have water stains that extend across ceilings or run down walls, the cause is probably a roof leak. Tracking down the leak is the hard part; the fixes are easier. Here in Connecticut and the snowy Northeast if you have leaks only on warm or sunny days, you probably have ice dams. We’ll cover that later.
Minor Leaks Can Cause Major Damage
Don’t wait to fix any roof leak. Fix leaks quickly even if they don’t bother you much or you’re getting a new roof next year. In just a short time, small roof leaks can lead to big problems. You could have mold, rotted framing and sheathing, destroyed insulation, damaged ceilings, and more.
Preventive Measures: Roof Rakes & Insulation
Hardware and home improvement stores sell long-handled roof rakes. You can stand on the ground and reach the roof of many small and mid-size homes. Raking large amounts of snow off your roof prevents that snow from ever causing a roof leak. Do be sure that the snow isn’t so high and so close to your foundation that it might cause leaking in your basement.
A thick layer of insulation in your attic or crawl space provides an effective barrier against roof leaks. Insulation keeps warm air in your house where it belongs. The roof stays cooler so the snow doesn’t melt quite as fast.
Where Roof Leaks Occur
Many roof leaks occur around chimneys and roof vents. Flashing is supposed to go under adjacent roof shingles and then up the chimney or pipe for a few inches. The flashing joints have to be sealed. If they aren’t sealed, the water runs right down through the roof and into your house. What makes this tricky is that the water may travel a little down the roof and enter at a lower point. Roof leaks may make ceiling or wall stains far away from where the leak actually is.
Tracking Down A Roof Leak
When you’re trying to track down a roof leak, start by looking at the roof uphill from the stains. First look for any roof penetrations. Items that penetrate the roof are by far the most common source of leaks. In fact, it’s rare for leaks to develop in open areas of uninterrupted shingles, even on older roofs. Penetrations can include plumbing and roof vents, chimneys, dormers, sky lights, or anything else that projects through the roof. They can be several feet above the leak or to the right or left of it.
Use Your Attic Access
If you have attic access, the easiest way to track down a roof leak is to go up to the attic with a flashlight and look for the evidence. There will be water stains, black marks, or mold. But if access is a problem or you have a vaulted ceiling, you’ll have to go up onto the roof and examine the roof closely.
If the problem still isn’t obvious, enlist a helper and go up on the roof with a garden hose. Start low, soaking the area just above where the leak appears in the house. Isolate areas when you run the hose. For example, soak the downhill side of a chimney first, then each side, then the top on both sides. Have your helper stay inside the house waiting for the drip to appear. Let the hose run for several minutes in one area before moving it up the roof a little farther. Tell your helper to yell or call when a drip becomes visible. You’ll be in the neighborhood of the leak. This process can take well over an hour, so be patient and don’t move the hose too soon. Buy your helper dinner.
When snow and ice accumulate in gutters and along roof ridges, melting water is unable to drain properly. As water backs up behind these ice dams, it can seep under flashing or penetrate your roof shingles, tiles, ceilings, and walls—leading to major water damage. To prevent ice dams from ruining your home’s exterior and interior, remove snow from the roof using a roof rake (if it’s a safe option). In the long-term, it’s important to seal air leaks between your roof and attic, increase roofing insulation, and ensure that your ceiling is air tight.
Roof Inspections Twice A Year
According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, your home’s roof should be inspected twice a year—once during the fall and again in late spring—to ensure the best performance and maximize the roof’s lifespan.
Since your roof is the most weather-exposed part of your home, a thorough inspection should include an interior and exterior evaluation of the roof’s structure. Regular roof inspections include a look at interior walls, ceilings, and fireplace flues, assessment of leaks or visible damage, evaluation of downspout/gutter systems and examination of roofing materials (shingles, shakes, tiles, etc.). After inspecting your home from the inside and out, a qualified roofer can make recommendations about maintenance or replacement measures.
Remember, SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield is here to help. We repair roofs. So call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield (860.216.2785) anytime, 24/7.
At SERVPRO we’re trained in many restoration services. We know the safest, most advanced, and quickest ways to help you recover from damage to your home or business.
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