Common Causes of Roof Leaks

Common Causes of Roof Leaks

rain on roof

If you are a homeowner, there is no doubt that the roof over your head is one of the most crucial parts of your house. Not only does it provide protection from the elements and other potential sources of damage, but it can also be an attractive feature for potential buyers if you decide to sell.

Unfortunately, roof leaks are a common issue even in well-maintained homes – so understanding why they happen and how to address them early is essential for homeowners looking for long-term solutions. Let’s take a look at some of the more common causes of roof leaks and what you can do to prevent them before major repair or replacement work becomes necessary.

Top Causes of Roof Leaks

Noticing water rings in your ceiling? Or maybe your attic is damp or there is excessive moisture in your home? Chances are you have a roof leak! Knowing the most common causes of roof leaks can help you develop a plan to address the issues before they start.

We inspect hundreds of roofs each season, and here are the most common causes of roof leaks we see in Central PA:

Dry Rotted Plumbing Boots
By far, one of the most common reasons for a roof leak is an old, dry-rotted plumbing boot. A plumbing boot is an essential roof component that keeps water sealed off from your home, and when it’s compromised, you’re vulnerable to roof leaks. Plumbing boots reach their end-of-life around 7-8 years. At this stage, they deteriorate and can let water penetrate the roof. If left unaddressed, water can leak into the ceiling below and cause water damage and mold issues.

Builder Grade Metal Ridge Vents
After aging plumbing boots, the other top cause of roof leaks we see is undersized, builder-grade metal ridge vents. A ridge vent is an air exhaust system on the peak of a roof that allows an exhaust ventilation at the highest portion of the attic. This piece of equipment is one of the most important elements of a roof system, however many builders opt for undersized, metal ridge vents to save on costs. Unfortunately, these types of ridge vents can lead to roof leaks.

Missing or Damaged Shingles
Shingles serve an important role in protecting a roof from the elements. Unfortunately, missing or damaged shingles can be one of the top causes of roof leaks. This type of damage to shingles can be caused by natural occurrences such as high winds and extreme weather, but old age is another potential cause.

Clogged Gutters and Downspouts

When leaves, twigs, and other debris clog gutters and downspouts, they can’t move water away from your home as intended. Clogged gutters and downspouts can quickly cause a roof leak.

Damaged Chimneys

Out of sight, out of mind! Many homeowners don’t realize their chimneys are damaged until its too late. A damaged chimney can allow water to seep into an attic or into the ceiling of a home.

Improperly Installed Flashing

Flashing is a flat, thin piece of metal installed around areas of a roof such as a chimney, window, and vent pipe, which are vulnerable to water intrusion. Flashing helps keep water away from the seams and joints of a roofing system. Roof leaks can happen when flashings were not installed properly or when the seals on the flashings break down.

If you’ve noticed signs of a roof leak, chances are one of the above causes is the culprit! The good news is there are ways to prevent roof leaks when you adopt a maintenance mindset for your home and roofing system. Contact our team for a free roof assessment so we can help you determine the cause of the leaky roof.

How to Prevent Roof Leaks

We get it – spending your free weekends trying to prevent roof leaks isn’t high on your to-do list. But when you adopt a maintenance mindset and spend a little time keeping your roof in tip-top shape, you can extend the life of your roof and prevent roof leaks.

Here are some ways to prevent roof leaks:

  • Inspect Your Roof: Just because your roof came with a 20-year warranty doesn’t mean you can ignore it for two decades! Keep an eye out for things like missing or damaged shingles; wear and tear on plumbing boots, ridge vents, and flashing; and tree branches or fallen debris that may cause damage. Pro tip: when working with a contractor, make sure they are using quality materials like a good shingle-over style ridge vent and pipe flashings such as an Ultimate Pipe Flashing.
  • Don’t Forget to Peek in the Attic: When you inspect your roof, don’t forget to take a peek in the attic. If you see any signs of mold or rotting plywood, it’s time to take action to prevent further leaks from occurring.
  • Clean Your Gutters: Don’t wait until it’s too late to clean your gutters! Get in the habit of regularly cleaning your gutters so they can do the work they were meant to do and carry water away from your home.
  • Ask a Professional for Help: It’s a good idea to have a roofing expert inspect your roof once a year to look for roof defects or issues that can lead to roof leaks. Professional contractors know exactly what to look for and may find an issue you didn’t notice during your own inspection. When asking a contractor to do an assessment, ask them if they do repair work, and not just replacements. Some companies may suggest a full roof replacement when all you need are a few small repairs.

Your Roof Maintenance Experts in Mechanicsburg and Central PA

When water runs into your home from a leaky roof, it’s time to call in some help! At Roof Maxx Mechanicsburg, we can find – and address – roof leaks to help get your roof back into great shape! We know how stressful and time-consuming a roof leak can be for a homeowner – let us take on the task of roof repairs for you!

Call us today for a free roof assessment so we can share with you what you need – or don’t need – for your roof. As one of the few roofing contractors in the area who do roof repairs, we can help you extend the life of your roof, rather than replacing your roof altogether. Call/text us at 717-487-8752 or reach out to us online.