Water damage is serious business. It can wreck the structural integrity of a roof and cause mold and mildew indoors. This is why you must monitor the health of your roof and watch for leaks.
Sometimes, leaks occur without any real problems existing in your roof. For example, wind-blown leaks happen when an upward wind pushes rain underneath the roof. For this reason, you should consult a professional when you suspect your roof no longer protects your home. A contractor will know which areas to check and how to do so.
A field, also known as a plain, of shingles can contribute leaks when cracked or loose. Likewise, under and over-nailed shingles leave fields exposed to leaks and weathering. Thankfully, problematic shingles are one of the easiest leak culprits to catch. The evidence is usually detectable from ground level, especially if the water has caused discolouration.
When two fields form a valley, the bottom crease is particularly susceptible to leaks. Any shingles that were improperly trimmed or installed are at risk. Areas downstream of the valley can also pool if the water does not get channeled away. Full gutters sometimes trap water in such places.
Leaks down the side of your skylight indicate improper installation. Conversely, leaks along the top might suggest a problem with its flashing. Flashing is a strip of metal used as a water barrier under shingles and over roof fixtures. Flashing exposed on the surface uses a rubber coating.
Areas where the roof meets a vertical wall are prone to leaks if the flashing cracks, comes loose or rusts.
Over time, the rubber can crack on flashing around pipes and other roof protrusions. Worse, flashing that comes loose or warps provides an easy passage for water to collect below the surface.
Chimneys often use multiple types of flashing. It just takes one to malfunction for a leak to spring. To detect chimney leaks, you can also look for holes in the mortar joining the chimney with the rest of the roof.