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How Do You Know If A Roof Leak Will Mean A Repair or Replacement?

November 12, 2020
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We all depend on quality roofing, but how much time do we spend thinking about our roofs?

We only seem to think about roofing when something goes wrong, like when we find a leak.

Finding a leak in your roof can cause alarm, but sometimes it can be a simple fix, as long as you act quickly.

A leaky roof is something that doesn't improve over time. It gets substantially worse every day it goes untreated.

It's always in your best interest to have roof leaks repaired right away, so they don't turn into the monumental job of roof replacement.

If you have multiple leaks along with other signs of roof damage, it could mean it's time for a new roof.

Replacing a damaged roof will prevent more leaks from springing up and prevent water damage from occurring in your home.

Sometimes you may be tempted to try and replace your roof yourself.  Before you try install a new roof yourself read our article DIY Roof Replacement vs Professional Roofing Replacement to see if it's something you want to try yourself.

In the article below, we will discuss if a roof leak means it's time to repair or replace your roof.

How To Find Roof Leaks

Step one in deciding whether you need to repair or replace your roof is finding the leaks.

And finding it isn't always as easy as it sounds.

A leak in your roof tends to be higher than the obvious spot you can see on the inside.

Water gets in under the shingles and travels down the rafters before finally dripping down onto your ceiling.

Once it starts dripping, it can begin to pool, causing sagging or bubbling, but it could keep traveling until it finds a light fixture or another opening to seep through.

Here are a few tips for finding pesky leaks in your roof:

  • Get into your attic and locate where the water is leaking through the ceiling. Move aside any exposed fiberglass insulation. You should wear long sleeves, goggles, and a dust mask to protect yourself from the insulation.
  • Now start looking for water damage. Check above the ceiling leak and look around the sheathing that leads to the peak of the roof. This might not be a direct line, but it will always be above the location of the ceiling leak.
  • Get a friend to climb onto the exterior of your roof and start running water. This could take a few minutes until you can notice water coming through.
  • Once you find where the water is coming through, mark the location. Then have your friend measure from the ridgeline of the roof down the same distance. Now you know where your roof is leaking.

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Common Causes of Roof Leaks

The first step in repairing roof leaks or replacing a roof is knowing what caused the leak in the first place.

Weather like high winds and hail can easily damage your asphalt shingles. 

Falling branches during a storm can also cause leaks in your roof. The older your shingles are, the more prone they are to leaks after large storms.

But bear in mind that misdiagnosing a leak can lead to further damage.

If you aren't 100% sure of what is causing the leaks, get the help of a professional roofing contractor.

Depending on what caused the damage, your insurance company may cover the replacement of your roof, but they will require a licensed professional to do the work.

A missing shingle creates an easy opening for water to get through. 

Many shingles come with wind ratings, and they typically exceed local weather requirements, but it is still possible for the wind to rip shingles off of your home.

Even a cracked or damaged shingle creates an easy opening for water to get into your home.

To reduce the chances of your shingles being damaged, keep all nearby trees trimmed and get shingles with a high hail rating.

As your roof ages, wood can swell and settle, causing gaps to form around flashing, creating an entry point for water.

Your flashing itself can also fail, and when it does, you need to replace it immediately.

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There are a few tell-tale signs that your roof needs to be repaired or replaced

Signs You Need Immediate Roof Repair or Replacement

Below are a few signs you need to immediately repair a leak in your roof or have your roof replaced.

Missing or Damaged Shingles

The shingles on the roof of your home are the front line defense against water leaks.

If you're missing a shingle, have damaged or cracked shingles, whether they were blown away by the wind or damaged by falling tree branches, they can easily be replaced. 

And they should be replaced as soon as possible.

Any part of your roof left exposed to the elements due to missing shingles can allow water to seep in through nail holes. The nail holes should be sealed.

One tiny leak isn't much to worry about, but if you have multiple significant leaks in your roof, it may be time to start considering a complete roof replacement.

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Leaks in Flashing 

Tile roofs are especially prone to leaks in the flashing or underlayment in your roof.

A tile roof is designed to last a very long time, but flashing and seams need constant maintenance and upkeep to repair and prevent leaks.

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Sagging Areas

If you notice that your roof is sagging, you need to stop questioning whether it can be fixed and call a professional roofing contractor.

They will need to inspect your roof to determine whether you have a problem with your roof's decking.

The foundation of homes has also been known to cause roof sagging.

The only way to know what's causing your roof to sag for sure is to hire a professional to inspect it.

Damage to the decking of your roof could require an entire tear down and a replacement of your entire roof to protect your home from further damage.

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A Damp Attic

A damp attic in your home is usually caused by one of two things.

It may be a result of your attic not being ventilated properly, or it could mean that you have a leaky roof.

Maybe you notice the dampness only after heavy rainstorms, or maybe it is fairly consistent.

Either way, you need to use the tips above to inspect the roof yourself, or you might need to call in a professional to do it for you.

You should never turn a blind eye to a damp attic because you could end up paying for expensive repairs or needing a new roof altogether if you do.

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Contact TK Roofing and Gutters If Your Roof Is Leaking

No matter how minor you think a roof in your leak may be, it is always better to be safe than sorry and call a professional.

A seemingly minor leak, especially if left untreated, can worsen as time passes, ultimately leading to damage to your home and a complete roof replacement.

And if your roof isn't obviously leaking, roof inspections should still happen every three years just to make sure everything is in order.

Once you start to notice multiple leaks or other signs of roof damage, it may be time to replace your entire roof.

To make sure your roof is healthy and your leaks are harmless and can be easily repaired, contact TK Roofing and Gutters, so a roofing contractor can find your leaks and suggest repairs. 

And if your roof needs to be replaced, they can go over the costs involved and find the right plan for your new roof. 

To schedule your Free Inspection and Estimate with one of our certified roofing contractors, click on the button below.

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