Whether your home is big or small, the last thing anyone wants is a roof leak. No one wants to have to go running for a drip bucket every time it rains. Not only is having to stay on top of the weather forecast annoying and impractical, but that one small drip symbolizes a larger roofing issue – and we all know that roofing issues mean an investment of time and money. Take a look at this list so that you can catch issues with your roof before they cause too much damage!

roof leaks

Your Roof leaks because:

Flashing Has Cracked

What Does It Look Like: Flashings are thin pieces of metal that are installed under shingles and on the joints of your roof in order to create a water-resistant barrier, which can be concealed or exposed. If exposed, they will look like long runs of sheet metal and, if concealed, they will have a rubberized coating overtop. Broken flashing will feature large cracks and leads to roof leaks.

Why It Happens: Roofers often use tar to seal the flashing together and that can corrode over time. In the event that your flashing is left exposed, elements like wind and rain could be the reason behind its crack

You Have Broken Shingles

What Does It Look Like: Look up! This one is easy to spot. Since shingles are the exterior layer of a roof, you should be able to identify missing shingles by seeing different-colored patches on your roof, leads to roof leaks. Alternatively, you may find the shingles themselves littering your yard after a heavy storm.

Why It Happens: Again, weather. High winds and heavy rains.

Your Valleys Aren’t Properly Sealed

What Does It Look Like: An area where two planes of roof come together. Since these areas of the roof are usually sloped, if the valleys are not sealed together properly, rainwater can get inside as it runs down the roof leaks. You can detect roof leaks by searching for wet spots that run along the seams of your roof.

Why It Happens: A variety of reasons – the sealing may not have been done properly in the first place that is the main reason why roof leaks happen, it may have cracked when being stepped on, or an excess of rain and ice may have caused it to erode over time.

Your Vent Booting Is Cracked

What Does It Look Like: Roof vents are those things that look like small pipes sticking out of the top of your roof. They’re used to expel excess moisture from the inside of the house. Roof Leaks from this area will likely leave corresponding dark spots (and mustiness).

Why It Happens: Roof vents are often sealed by placing some flashing around the opening and slipping a tight, rubber boot over the area where the pipe peeks out of the roof. Over time, the flashing can break or the roof leaks can happen.

You Have Ice Dam Buildup

What Does It Look Like: An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off. The combined weight of the ice itself can damage the roof, as well as the water just sitting on the roof leaks.

Why It Happens: The heat from your attic (and the rest of your house) is above freezing, which causes some of the snowfall to melt, despite the cold temperatures outside. The water will then run between the roof’s surface and the snow and will re-freeze into ice once it hits the roof’s exterior edge.

Your Skylights Were Improperly Installed

What Does It Look Like: Leaks from this kind of problem should be super easy to spot. If you find yourself noticing roof leaks or constantly needing to place drip buckets around the sides of your skylights, you’ve found the cause. However, roof leaks and wet spots near the top of the skylight may be a flashing issue instead.

Why It Happens: There are two main causes for this type of leak. Improperly measuring and fitting the skylights upon installation or decayed insulation along the skylights edges

Your Gutters Are Clogged

What Does It Look Like: You may be able to see the leaves sticking out of the gutter when you look up onto your roof. But, if not, you should notice the lack of water trickling out of a downspout during a rainstorm.

Why It Happens: Your gutters are meant to help water travel away from the roof. When a blockage forms and they get clogged, that travel stops. Rainwater will then pool in one area of the roof and have more of an opportunity to seep through cracks.

You Have A Cracked Chimney

What Does It Look Like: Most often, you can look for signs of wear and tear along the mud cap, or mortared area around the top of the chimney. You should also look for any holes in the mortared joints where the chimney connects with the roof. Also, be on the lookout for loose flashing and shingles in the surrounding area.

Why It Happens: Mortar is essentially just a thick mixture of water, sand, and cement. It erodes easily in harsh weather conditions.

There’s Condensation In Your Attic

What Does It Look Like: A leak is most likely coming from your attic if the space shows signs of mold growth or mildew. A strong, musty odor  emanating from the attic is also a key that water has gotten inside.

Why It Happens: As the uppermost part of your home, the attic is trapped between indoor and outdoor temperatures. When those clash – think hot summers and cold winters – condensation will form and moisture will follow.

You’re Using It Too Much

What Does It Look Like: Unfortunately, there is no way to differentiate if this is the cause of the leak. However, all homeowners should be careful with how often they venture out onto their roofs.

Why It Happens: As you can see from the other causes in this post, a lot of roofing material is very fragile. You may accidentally step on a crucial element or crack an already precarious seal.