When can you fix a roof leak and when do you need a professional?
Mailmen may be known for striving through the wind, rain, snow and sleet, but roofs aren’t often as resilient.
They pucker, blister, pitch and, as a result, leak. With fall soon turning to winter and the holiday season about to start, a lot of folks are soon going to be looking up at soggy plasterboard and down at puddles on their floor. What are the most common causes of roofs leaking? And which of these problems is worth trying to fix and when must you call in a professional for a roofing estimate?
Many problems are caused by poor installation. Fixing those systematic concerns can turn into a game of Whack-a-mole. Some of the reasons for those big problems are listed below, but during installation you need to be mindful about picking experienced roofers such as Precision Roofing Inc, whose workers understand the materials they’re using. If you weren’t around the last time the roof was redone, you may be in for a guessing game. When you have several leaks to worry about or you fix one and another appears, it probably makes sense to call in a roofer.
The smaller problems are more manageable to do yourself. Here are tips to research and figure out what you can do
1. Find out where the leak is coming from. This may be more complex than it sounds. Just because there’s a drip in your kitchen doesn’t mean the leak is directly above it. Worn or torn shingles, flashing and punctured membranes are the first consideration when it comes to a leaky roof. You must also inspect plumbing and HVAC systems and take note of any condensation occurring in the attic, crawl space or other spaces near the top of the house. One way to uncover a roof leak is to get a friend or family member to spray water on the roof with a garden hose and check when water comes through.
2. Used fixed measurements to help identify the location of the leak. Once you’ve discerned that faulty roofing caused a leak, measure from a wall or other fixed reference point to the location of the leak in your living space, which will help find the problem area when you check in your attic or roof. You may need to take into account the width of the walls when applying the measurements to a different point in the house.
3. Roof check. Surveying the roof from underneath or above, you’ll want to inspect anywhere the membrane is sealed together or terminated. When it comes to a built-up roof (BUR), these areas are the cause of a large number of potential problems. Also be mindful of backwater laps that can lead to leaks and moisture.
4. Signs of improper installation. As mentioned earlier, a lot of potential problems begin when a roof is first put on and you may not realize it until a leak or other trouble starts. Using too little adhesive or not enough fasteners (including roof nails); improperly stored materials and poor gravel embedding are just some of the elements of a roof installation that ends with blisters, buckling, shrinkage and, yes, leaks.
5. Natural wear. On an EPDM roof there may be shrinkage, deterioration and cracking of the membrane, some of which may come from age and some that can be hastened by sloppy installation.
6. Keep up maintenance. When you see small concerns like ponding water, slipped flashing and pockets, fix as soon as you have a chance. These can all lead to bigger concerns in time. Also be careful when you’re inspecting the roof because walking on the weak spot can certainly cause damage.
7. What’s easily fixable. Once you’ve identified the problem as shingles or a small hole in the membrane you can probably buy the materials and tools to fix it, including new shingles, flashing, roofing primer, lap sealant, a roller, release paper and tape. (Of course there are plenty of safety precautions you should take if you’re going to attempt to work on your roof. At the very least consult with the team at your home repair store.) For bigger problems you’ll probably need to bring in a roofing expert.
This post was created in partnership with Roofers Utah and Precision Roofing.