There’s nothing worse than looking up at your ceiling and noticing you have a roof leak. Leaks can cause a lot of damage to your home, and the repairs can often feel like a major inconvenience. That said, it’s important to inspect and evaluate as quickly as possible if you think you see evidence of a leak in your home. Taking quick action could end up saving you money by helping you avoid the costs related to prolonged water damage. The professionals at Signature Exteriors, a top-rated roofing contractor in Charlotte, have put together a guide of what to do when you notice a roof leak in your home. We will walk you through the interior and exterior signs that you may have a leak, and what to do when you see one forming.
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Signs of A Roof Leak
Roof leaks usually have side effects that are easy to identify, we’ve broken out common signs of a roof leak below.
Dark Moisture Spots – Often the first sign of a roof leak, brown moisture stains can appear on interior ceilings when there is a source of water in the area. There can be multiple culprits for this other than a roof leak, such as condensation on piping, but if the spot grows in size or appears darker after large rains, the roof is likely the cause. To be sure, you can reach out to roofing contractors in your area that offer free roof leak inspections to determine the source.
Punctures in the ceiling where outside light is visible – We recommend that homeowners check their attic space if they think they have a leak. Oftentimes, when the roof is the culprit, you may be able to see outside light through small punctures in the roofing system. It goes without saying – if light is getting through, so can water. If you notice this problem, we recommend you call a roofing contractor as soon as possible to waterproof the area until a permanent roof repair can be performed
Mold or Mildew – One of the more serious consequences of a roof leak is the potential for mold or mildew growth. Mold can grow almost anywhere there is moisture, and your home is no exception. If you are seeing microbial growth, it’s time to call a roofing expert to evaluate your roofing system. It could be a sign of a long-term moisture exposure that would need to be fixed right away.
Sagging Ceiling – Sagging or water-bubbled ceilings can happen slowly or suddenly and, either way, is not something to be taken lightly. As water saturates the ceiling material, the ceiling becomes weaker while simultaneously supporting heavier weight from the water saturation. This can cause the ceiling to sag while it’s trying to support the weight of the water. If you have a sagging ceiling, call a roofing contractor to help fix the problem properly.
Wet wood in attic – When your roof sheathing experiences prolonged moisture exposure, it weakens and becomes less supportive of the roofing materials attached to it (i.e. your shingles). Wet wood in your attic should be evaluated by a trusted roofing company to ensure the wood has not rotted. If so, replacing the wood sheathing and re-shingling that area of your roof may be required.
Sometimes, you’ll notice roof damage before you notice that you have a roof leak. We always recommend homeowners to walk around their home to check for damaged or missing shingles, clogged gutters or heavy leaf-fall on a section of the roof, or even the integrity of other roofing elements such as chimney flashing or skylight flashing. We’ve outlined signs of a leak on the exterior of your home below.
Damaged Shingles – Missing, warped, rotting, broken, blistering or buckling shingles are common exterior signs of a potential roof leak. Shingles are the first line of defense against water intrusion, when they suffer from any sort of damage it compromises the integrity of your entire roofing system and can allow water to leak inside the attic and home.
Clogged Gutters – Clogged or slow-draining gutters and downspouts can cause water to pool or settle in areas of the roof that aren’t designed to handle constant moisture. If a downspout is clogged, water can be backed up in the gutter and cause overflow that pushes water underneath your shingles. A long-term solution to this could be to install gutter guards to your home. We recommend using highly-rated gutter guard products such as LeaFree.
Wear and Tear of Other Roofing Materials – Loose material or wear around chimney and vents is something to consider if you think you’ve noticed a roof leak. Other roof structures such as chimneys or skylights have installation components (like flashing) that can become compromised or damaged over time. If you are missing bricks on your chimney or have found metal strips in your yard after a big storm, you may want to have your other roofing system components evaluated by a roofing company to make sure no water is getting through in these areas.
What To Do When Your Roof Leaks:
- Move things out of the way: As bad as a roof leak can be, the last thing you want is to ruin your personal belongings while the leak is active. Water damage can completely destroy your personal belongings it comes into contact with and some fabrics trap water and will create a mildew smell. Whatever can be moved out of the proximity of the leak, get it out of the way as soon as possible.
- Contain the water to the best of your ability: When you notice a roof leak, contain the water to avoid more damage. Do this by placing buckets, towels or anything else you can find to capture and contain the water to reduce the amount of interior damage.
- Relieve the water pressure if sagging is visible on the ceiling: Carefully use a screwdriver or similar tool to puncture the lowest part of the bulge and make sure to place a bucket to capture the water that comes out. If you leave it, the water could spread and cause more damage to your ceiling or eventually puncture on its own.
- Tarp the roof: If you are unable to schedule a roofing expert to come out and address your leak right away, tarping your roof will be the next best option for a very temporary repair. If you are able to determine the source of the leak on the exterior of the roof, when the roof is dry and safe to climb onto, place a tarp that is at least six millimeters thick over the problem area. Make sure that the tarp extends a minimum of four feet across the problem area and up to the peak. If you are unable to access the peak, tuck the edges of the tarp under the shingles to prevent water from leaking underneath the tarp.
- Take photos for insurance documentation: Even if you do not think the problem is serious enough to file an insurance claim, make sure to document and photograph the damage. You can use these photos to determine if the leak damage is getting worse over time. Not only will this show the severity of the damage, it will also document other items that may have been compromised such as your television, furniture, or bedding. Your insurance could possibly end up replacing any items damaged from the roof leak should you decide to file a claim.
- Call a professional roofing company: A leaky roof could potentially turn into a large project, the longer you wait, the worse the damage can get. Professional roofers can repair the damaged area effectively and assess your entire roof to look for any other problem areas.
If you notice a roof leak, don’t panic! While it is a major inconvenience to have a roof leak, reaching out to Signature Exteriors can provide all the relief you need. Our roofing experts will be able to identify the problems and provide you with a solution. We take care of it so you don’t have to. Give us a call today at (704) 729-4898 and connect with one of our professional office administrators to get started.