The Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks

Friday, July 20th, 2018 by Sydney Stewart

Common Causes of Roof Leaks - Image 1

Finding a water spot on your ceiling and drywall can cause a moment of panic for many homeowners. One of the biggest questions homeowners ask themselves is what is the next step after detecting a leak? Though important, another question to ask is what is causing the leak in the first place? Let’s look at some of the common causes of roof leaks that could be affecting your home.

1. Aging Roofs

An aging roof can lead to deterioration of roofing materials over time from harsh changes in weather and storms. Additionally, roofs simply do not last forever and will start to fail and need replacement.

A common issue in an aging roof that can cause a leak is loose, cracked, and rotting shingles. Shingles will wear down over time, an event often referred to as “delamination” of the shingles. This delamination means that the roof is no longer going to do its job and may cause leaks.

As time goes on, roofing nails can back out of the material, leaving holes in the decking. These small holes can allow water through, especially when close to the edge of the roof.

Other roofing materials and components can succumb to aging and weather. Flashing can crack and allow water through. Since the flashing is often installed with tar, the tar can corrode over time and break the flashing pieces or allow water through to already susceptible areas. Any plumbing vents or other protrusions from the roof are often covered in rubber boots, which over time can crack and lead to water damage.

A chimney is another aging roof component that can lead to leaks. The mortar used to build the bricks is a combination of water, sand, and cement and is easily eroded in harsh weather conditions.

2. Severe Weather

In the winter months, harsh conditions can lead to issues for homeowners in the warmer months. A major issue from winter weather is the development of ice dams. An ice dam is when an improperly ventilated attic causes snow to melt on the roof and re-freeze once it reaches the eaves. This causes severe damage to the shingles and can lead to leaks.

Hail and wind storms are another major cause of weather-related roof leaks. Hail punctures can allow water into the home and great bursts of wind can dislodge shingles and expose the underlayment or decking. This exposure, especially when unnoticed, can cause multiple leak areas.

Though not a direct result of severe weather, clogged gutters can cause leaks in the aftermath of a storm. Clogged gutters can lead to pools of water on the roof the ultimately seep into the decking and create a leak.

3. Installation Issues

Not knowing who installed the roof on a recently purchased home means that new homeowners don’t know if the roof was properly installed or not. Companies cutting corners by not installing proper ridge cap, synthetic underlayment, or ice and water material. This improper installation can lead to leaks inside of the home.

Skylights are another common installation issue. Skylights can succumb to age issues, but if they were improperly measured and fitted upon installation, can lead to major leaking issues.

Improper attic ventilation can also lead to water damage to your drywall. Attics that are not properly vented can result in condensation. Not only will this condensation create water issues, it can lead to mold growth or mildew.


My-Pros operates throughout the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin region, in cities like Rockford, Machesney Park, Belvidere, and Beloit. Give us a call at 1-815-957-0770 or click here to schedule a free estimate!

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