Unexpected Dangers of a Leaky Roof
There are many different household problems that can be procrastinated. However, a roof leak repair should take the highest priority on your list of home maintenance issues. Roofing leaks can develop for a variety of reasons: improper roof installation, wind or storm damage, and lack of maintenance. Keep in mind that most roofs are only meant to last 20 to 30 years so it could simply be time to replace your roof.
So why is even a small roof leak so critical for your entire household? Most homeowners think a leaky roof is just a structural problem, but it can actually pose many more safety and even health risks. Constant water intrusion will eventually work down from the attic area to the very foundation of the house, causing plenty of costly damage on the way. Here are some of the less-obvious ways a roof leak can damage your home.
Attic and ceiling damage
The initial dangers of a roof leak are damage to the attic area and items stored there. If there is no attic, or the size of the leak is really big, it will damage the interior ceiling. Affected ceiling paint will darken and ceiling plaster may bubble and expand. The leaking water also will damage paint and plaster on nearby walls. You can also expect damage on ceiling-mounted lights and fans.
Interior mold and mildew issues
In the longer term, one of the most serious consequences of a leaking roof is mold and mildew growth. Mold can spread throughout the home’s structure, to the HVAC system and then to the rest of the house through the vents where it can invade carpets, furniture and even clothing.
Black mold is the most common type resulting from chronic water intrusion. Toxic black mold growth is rare, but even non-toxic black mold attacks wood framing, ceiling tiles, and wall and floor coverings. Mold is difficult to get rid of, and it is rather costly.
Health concerns from mold
Mold and mildew can lead to serious health issues, especially for those with high sensitivity, including nasal congestion, rhinitis, inflammations and asthma, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Mold spores continue to be produced once it’s present and will lead to allergic reactions, asthmatic symptoms, and more serious health problems.
Fire hazard from water damage
If your electrical wiring is present in an attic or ceiling, a leaky roof could pose a fire threat from shorted wires. It is highly recommended to turn off electricity to the area that’s affected and have an electrician examine it.
Signs You Need a New Roof
There is no shortage of signs that you need a new roof. Some of the most common signs that your roof has gone bad are as follows:
You Have Missing Shingles
A sure sign that your roof isn’t getting the job done is if it’s missing shingles. If shingles are missing from your roof, moisture, heat, and cold are undoubtedly making their way into your home.
Depending on how many shingles are missing from your home, you’ll either need a minor replacement or a major replacement. If only a few shingles are missing, a partial replacement will get the job done. If a great number of shingles are missing, a full replacement will be needed.
Your Shingles are Curled
Take a look at your roof. Do its shingles look curled and frayed at their edges? If so, they have passed their expiration date and will need to be replaced.
Shingles typically curl in this manner after they’ve been exposed to excess amounts of moisture and sunlight. Allowing curled shingles to exist on your roof will almost certainly result in moisture, heat, and cold making their way into your home.
Your Shingles are Cracked
If your shingles are cracked, they are far past their expiration date. Cracked shingles have usually been past their expiration date for at least a few years. A cracked shingle is a shingle which has suffered extreme levels of deterioration.
Allowing cracked shingles to exist on your roof will not only allow moisture to seep into the wooden structure of your roof, but it will also allow heat and cold to seep in as well.
You have granules in your gutters.
When shingles begin to lose granules, it means they have reached an age where they aren’t as effective as they should be and must be replaced. Shingles lose more and more granules as they get older.
You notice several exposed or loose nail heads.
If nails begin popping out of place, the holes and spaces around the nails that remain are susceptible to water penetration and can lead to leaks in the roof. The damage this moisture causes might force you to replace your roof sooner than expected.
You have water damage inside your home or attic.
If you have water leaking into any parts of your home or attic, there’s a good chance that your shingle underlayment is inadequate or flashing on your roof has deteriorated. Mold and mildew can result from inadequate roof ventilation.
Mold Where Roof and Exterior Wall Meet
Kick-out flashing is critical where a roof edge meets a sidewall. Without it, roof runoff flows down the wall and possibly into the wall. This is worst when there is a door or a window below and water can seep behind the trim. You might not notice it for years, but eventually rot will destroy sheathing and framing. In extreme cases, the stucco is the only thing holding up the wall! Don’t wait for that to happen to you.
Holes Drilled on Purpose
Tiny holes in shingles are sneaky because they can cause rot and other damage for years before you notice the obvious signs of a leak. You might find holes left over from satellite dish or antenna mounting brackets or just about anything. And exposed, misplaced roofing nails should be pulled and the holes patched. Small holes are simple to fix, but the fix isn’t to inject caulk in the hole. You’ll fix this one with flashing.
Daylight Through The Roof Boards
Before you turn your flashlight on, see if you can identify any streams of light coming through cracks or holes in your roof. If you do spot any light coming through your roof, repair or replace your roof immediately. If light is getting through your roof, then water is getting through your roof.
Dark Streaks & Stains
This one is also extremely easy to identify. If you see dark stains or dark streaks on the underside of your roof or running down the walls from the base of your roof, then you’re roof is likely leaking and moisture is damaging both your roof, as well as your home’s interior structure.
In the same way that water will make a piece of cardboard soggy and weak, water can also make the structure of your roof begin to sag. If you identify sagging areas in your roof, use your hand or a broom to lightly prod at the sagging spot. If the spot feels soft and wet or bends easily with the prod of your broom, you know you have moisture damage.