What Causes Roofs to Leak?

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A roof leak can cause significant damage to a homeowner’s property, including water stains, mold, and structural damage. While a small ceiling drip may seem innocuous, it can represent a sign of significant water ingress that can spread if left untreated. The best way to handle and prevent roof leaks is to understand how they happen in the first place. As such, we’ve put together a helpful list of possible causes:

1. Damaged roof tiles

Although most slates and roof tiles are built for durability, they may not withstand the impact of strong winds, falling debris, or wild animals. While you may not notice a broken roof tile at first, you risk allowing water to enter the roof space and seep into wooden structures if you fail to address the damage. For this reason, it is worth checking your roof tiles for damage after stormy weather.  

2. Natural wear and tear 

Many leaking roofs are simply old and in need of an update. Most roof tiles and slates last a few decades. However, factors such as high winds and extreme temperatures can significantly shorten the lifespan of your roof. 

3. Poorly installed roof windows

A poorly installed roof window or skylight can lead to leaks. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple problem to fix using silicone or resin sealant. It is worth noting, however, that a leaking skylight could also indicate that the flashing around the window is damaged, rather than the skylight itself. 

4. Poor roof maintenance

Failure to clean, inspect, and maintain your roof may lead to several issues, including dry caulking and tile cracks. To protect your roof, you should check your roof every few months and reseal any minor cracks. In doing so, you can prevent small issues from developing into major structural problems. 

It is also a good idea to keep your guttering system clean and clog-free, as poorly functioning gutters can impact the structural integrity of your roof. When gutters clog, water may pool on your roof and cause weak spots. To clean your gutter, you’ll need to physically remove debris such as twigs and leaves using your hands or a scooping device. 

5. Broken roof vents

Roof vents are vital for providing ventilation to the home and preventing moisture from building up in your loft. However, these vents are vulnerable to cracks and leaks. If you notice dark spots appearing underneath your vent, it may be the cause of your leaking roof. 

6. Loft condensations

If you struggle to control moisture levels in your home, condensation may build up in your loft and cause significant water damage to your roof timbers. In the long term, this moisture may pose a severe risk to the structural integrity of the roof. If you notice musty odors, damp timbers, or mildew growth around your roof, you should address the problem by improving your ventilation or installing loft insulation. 

The bottom line: Prevention and early intervention are key!

The best way to prevent costly roof repairs is to treat minor problems as soon as they arise. Remember to check your roof every few months and call in the experts to help fix any issues.

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