No matter the size of your home, the last thing anybody wants to find is that dreaded brown spot on the ceiling indicating a roof leak. Then, before you know it, you are running around your home searching for buckets of any sort to catch the water breaking through.

Pesky leaks can cause more harmful damage than you may be aware of. The leak can be a fire hazard or a health concern if it causes mold to grow.

Roof leaks seem to come out of the blue, but to tackle the issue, you need to know what could be causing your roof to leak before you can repair it. You may be thinking, but where do I look first? How do I make sure there is no long-lasting damage? Don’t worry; we will share the most common reasons and factors you should consider when facing this problem.

Here are the 7 most common roof leaks, where they show up, and the right ways to fix them.

1. Pipe Boot That Doesn’t Work

You need to check to see if a boot around one of your pipes has failed. This is the most common cause of roof leaks. A pipe boot is a type of roof flashing used to surround the base of the pipes that come out of your roof to waterproof them.

There are many types of material boots roofers use. Although plastic and lead boots are the most common, there are also copper boots or retrofitted flashings. Regardless of the material, the purpose of a pipe boot is to stop water in its tracks. Do this by following the pipe through your roof and into your home. Professionals find that neoprene pipe boots are the most likely to crack and cause a leak.

This type of leak will show up wherever the pipe is located on your roof, so be sure to inspect the general area of the leak to track down the culprit. This type of leak is common because pipe boots, even updated ones, only last approximately 10 years, possibly shorter or longer, depending on environmental factors.

How To Repair This Roof Leak

The quickest roof repair for a pipe boot that has cracked is to buy a rubber collar and install it over the old pipe boot that has failed. If the collar is installed properly, it should last you another 10 years at least.

2. Debris Obstructing Your Gutters

Cleaning out your gutters is less than a glamorous task, but it is a very important one. It’s common for falling leaves, sticks, and dirt to get stuck in your gutters, whose purpose is to make water move away from your roof. However, when debris from nature gets in the way, rainwater or melting snow water will not be able to drain or fall away from your home freely and cause a leak.

If your problem is due to this particular cause, you may notice leaves poking out of your roof’s gutter. When it rains, it’s also a good idea to check out if there is a lack of water drainage from the downspout.

The most cumbersome gutter clog is when it happens on a gutter that stops over a roof-line under a valley, meaning when two roof slopes meet in a “V” shape. In that valley, there is a gutter that allows water to continue flowing down and out to the ground.

This particular type of natural gunk clog is most vulnerable to leaking if there is no flashing applied to the fascia board. Although this type of leak should not occur under normal weather conditions, if you experience extreme rain and the gutter is filled with leaves and other debris, the water will naturally seep through the path of least resistance.

When the rain or snow water makes its way behind the gutter, it is free to go anywhere it wants, causing all sorts of damage.

How To Repair This Roof Leak

The first advisable thing for your roof repair is to clean out everything that is stuck in your gutters. Then, loosen the gutter and install three pieces of flashing: one behind the gutter, the second onto the roof, and the last (if this is where your problem is) tucked beneath the valley.

3. The Chimney Is Damaged

Early detection of chimney damage is important to prevent intensive roof repair. There are several ways chimneys can leak due to wear and tear.

If you have a brick chimney, weather elements like intensive rain can cause the mortar joints to get so soaked that water can start creeping into the inside of your home, causing water damage to the walls and ceilings. In this case, you should check the mud cap on the top of the chimney and the mortar joints for deterioration.

All chimneys have an opening at the top for smoke to escape your home, keeping you protected. However, this also means that water can drop in through the chimney top and into your home.

There are many different ways your chimney top can malfunction. For instance, a masonry top could crack from being too cold or wet, or an old metal top could rust, and the fasteners may have come loose.

You will be able to tell if your chimney is saturated because the leak will drip into the walls around the fireplace. If the chimney cap is causing the issue, you will discover the leak inside of the chimney.

How To Repair This Roof Leak

A quick and easy fix for eroded mortar joints is to use patches, or you can call a roof repair person, and they will put in a water repellent to seal them.

However, a roof repair company will not be licensed or insured to be able to take on more major work on the chimney. They will most likely be able to diagnose the issue, but you will need to find someone who specializes in chimneys for the best fix.

If the chimney siding is causing leaks, you will need to hire a knowledgeable and experienced carpenter. But if you need to fix the top, go ahead and find a quality chimney sweep company to handle the repair.

4. Improperly Driven Nails

It’s not unlikely to have a nail or two on your roof that has missed its mark. Generally, if the nail hits solid wood and holds tight, then it should be golden.

If one of the nails on your roof isn’t driven in far enough or at the wrong angle, it will cause the head to creep back up through the shingle. Since the nail is not tightly driven, water can follow the nail right inside your home.

This type of leak can happen anywhere in your home. Therefore, if you find a leak in your ceiling, try tracking the place on your roof that aligns with where the leak is to see if your nail is sticking up. If you find that it is, you will probably need roof repair.

Another improperly driven nail you can find is a roof shiner. This is one that missed the rafter when being driven in and now protrudes into the attic. Cold nights can frost up the nail, and the next day, the frost melts and leaks onto your ceiling, causing one of those annoying brown spots.

These shiners may also indicate that your attic is not insulated or ventilated properly, and you must correct this to protect your roof deck.

How To Repair This Roof Leak

If you find a not secured nail, you will need to call a roof repair company to have a professional come and break the single seal to fix the problem.

How they will do this depends on the way the nail was driven in. If it was driven in sideways, the person repairing will lift the shingle and pull the nail out and drive it in properly. They may also need to reseal the shingle.

For a shiner, you can opt for a short-term solution by using a pair of side-splitting pliers and pulling them out yourself. Unfortunately, this fix is only temporary. For a full fix, you will need to contact a professional roof repair person.

5. Broken or Missing Shingles

If one morning you find yourself walking across your lawn only to trip over a shingle lying there in the grass, then the chances of water making its way into your home during the next rainstorm are likely.

Shingles help protect your roof and guide water down your roof and into the gutters. They can break or fall off the roof for several reasons, like storm damage, heat damage, or faulty materials, but usually, it’s because the shingles are old and brittle. When shingles are broken or fall off, your roof will be vulnerable to rain, snow, and hail that can cause more damage.

Since a leak caused by missing shingles can show up anywhere in your home, if you find a leak, you’ll need to check the place on the roof where the leak is coming from to confirm the cause. Best practices would be to inspect your roof now and again to make sure your shingles are strong and intact.

How To Repair This Roof Leak

If you are a pro at handy work, you may be able to replace the shingle yourself. To replace a shingle, you need to pry off the nails that the shingle has left behind and put a new single into the empty space.

Remember, the shingle must be nailed in properly, or it could fall off again or cause other leaking issues. Not 100% confident with your roof repairing skills? Then you should definitely call a contractor who you trust.

6. Skylights That Were Not Installed Properly

Skylights are a coveted home feature for being a nice way to let natural light into your home, but they are also a common cause of a leaky roof that needs repair. It’s important to remember that not all skylights will cause a leak problem if they are fitted and installed properly.

However, leaks can occur down the sides of the skylight when they are poorly fitted. The rubber seal around the glass, which acts as a water barrier, runs the risk of drying and wearing out as well.

If you suspect you need roof repair and are wondering what the culprit is, a telltale sign is if the water is dripping down from wherever the skylight is in your home. Check for cracks in the flashing all around the skylight, as well as any missing or damaged shingles around it. You can also inspect to see if the skylight was installed at the correct angle.

How to Repair this Roof Leak

If you need to repair the skylight flashing, take the cladding and flashing kit off, and put an ice and water shield around it, and then put the flashing kit back on. This will give it a watertight seal to keep the water out. You can also do a temporary repair by applying high-quality caulk.

If the situation is more severe, you may need to hire a professional roof repair company to re-shingle and re-flash your roof and ensure your skylight is properly installed.

7. Damages To Your Gas Vent

Any roof vent is

prone to crack after being exposed to weather conditions for a few years.

Usually, mechanical vents for water heaters and furnace flues aren’t installed by roofing repair companies but rather by HVAC technicians. Since their specialty is HVAC services and not roofing, they usually are not trained in the correct roofing techniques.

At times, these technicians will install the gasket that surrounds the vent pipes by sliding it over an unsealed pipe, thinking rain will slide right off of it. For light drizzles, this should work just fine! However, heavier rain pours will potentially splash underneath the gasket and run down the pipe leaking into your home.

You will find this type of leak around the appliance that the vent is connected to. Gas vents are there to keep poisonous carbon monoxide gas out of your home, so it is not wise to try to investigate too far into this yourself. It’s best to use a professional to find the gas vent that may be causing the leak and fix it, so you and your family stay safe.

How To Repair This Roof Leak

This is one of the more tricky roof leaks to fix since it involves roofing and an HVAC component. Someone skilled in roofing repair will raise the collar and seal it properly and slide it back down.

These pipes are extremely important to the safety and function of your home, so the person working on your roof mustn’t let carbon monoxide leak into your home.

When To Hire A Roofing Contractor To Repair Your Roof

If you are particularly handy or have some form of construction experience, you probably will be able to repair some of these types of leaks yourself. There are online tools at your disposal to guide you through the process.

However, before putting on your hardhat or heading to the hardware store, keep in mind that an incorrect repair job can lead to far bigger problems. A contractor is a trained professional, so the quality of the job might be better than a DIY fix, and a higher quality job will determine the lifespan of your roof.

Another thing you should keep in mind when choosing to repair your roof yourself or hire a contractor is your safety. Climbing on a roof, especially a damaged one, can be a tricky job, and spending the money to have a professional come in is definitely worth your safety.

Once you notice a leak, it’s best to act fast. You don’t know how much damage the leak has already caused, and you do not want the damage to multiply. One leak usually indicates that another problem is sure to spring up.

Contact a Team of Professionals

If you are on the fence about the root cause of the leak, it’s best to call a roof repair company as soon as possible to take a look and diagnose the issue. Then, you can decide whether you can fix it yourself or have the contractor fix it for you. At Liberty Roofworks we have over 15 years of experience repairing roofs of all types. Our team of expert Charlotte roof repair specialists can help you to keep your roof working like new for years to come. Call us today at (704) 463-8177.

Remember, the best way to protect yourself from leaks is to get your roof inspected by a contractor from a roof repair company you trust. Try to do this at least annually for preventative measures. These trained professionals will be able to do a full analysis of your roof to nip any potential problems in the bud before they cause any other issues.

No matter the cause, leaks are troublesome and can cause some major concerns. That’s why caring for your roof is one of the best things you can do for a healthy, happy house that can weather any storm.

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