Maintenance and Repairs

Common Causes of Roof Leaks

Stephen Vernon
April 3, 2023

Solving Sudden Roof Leaks Fast

A leaky roof usually catches everyone off guard. One day your roof seems indestructible, and the next day there's a bucket collecting water droplets from the ceiling. The good news is that the repair process doesn’t have to be complicated! There are several common causes of roof leaks, and while some have relatively simple solutions, others require professional services. Taking the time to learn about each cause and how to fix it can help you be prepared for future leaks.

A Lynchburg home with a beautiful new roof

1. Damaged Chimney Flashing

The most common cause of a leak is faulty chimney flashing or caulk. Flashing is the metal material that is wrapped around the chimney where the brick meets the roof to seal the area and prevent water from seeping into the seam. When the caulk seal that holds the flashing in place wears out, the broken seal allows water to seep into the roof and home.

How to solve: Chimney flashing and caulking damage can’t often be diagnosed from the ground, so a professional inspection is necessary. If the flashing is damaged or missing, the best solution is usually replacing all or part of the flashing and applying a fresh seam of caulk.. This will seal the area and prevent any additional water damage from occurring. The new caulk should be checked about every three years to make sure it is still in good condition and maintaining a seal.

2. Cracked Pipe Boot

Cracked pipe boots are the second most common source of leaks. Pipe boots are designed to seal the plumbing vent pipes that stick out of the top of the roof in order to allow the plumbing system to breathe. Roof vents introduce a puncture into the seal of the roof, so they are often sealed with a rubber boot to protect the roof from water damage. Over time, the boot can wear out and allow leaks to form. The vent boots should be checked every five years for signs of cracks or deterioration.

How to solve: The simple solution to this problem is to have the boot replaced by a professional roofing contractor.

3. Damaged Shingles

If your roof leaks in heavy rain, shingle damage may be the culprit. Shingles are the barrier between rain and your roofing system, so when a crack develops, rain has a pathway inside.

How to solve: Sometimes cracks or missing shingles can be seen from the ground, but in most cases, a professional roof inspection is necessary. Depending on the extent of the damage, they will recommend a repair or a total roof replacement to solve the problem.

4. Ice Dam Build-up

During the winter months, ice dams are a common cause of leaks. When an ice dam forms at the edge of the roof, water gets backed up and is eventually forced underneath the shingles, causing a leak.

How to solve: The best way to solve this problem is to remove ice dams as soon as you notice them forming. If a leak forms, you should schedule an appointment with a roofing company to diagnose the extent of the damage and do the necessary repairs. If ice dams are a recurring problem, consider installing ice and water shield or heated de-icing cables to help prevent them from forming.

5. Clogged Gutters

Clogged gutters prevent water runoff from draining properly. Over time, the water stuck in the gutters will overflow back onto the roof and seep into the shingles causing water intrusion into the roofing system.

How to solve: Clogged gutters can be avoided by cleaning your gutters out twice a year to prevent build up.

6. Age

Roofs don’t last forever. When a roof is reaching the end of its lifespan, it may be more susceptible to leaks due to natural wear and tear and disintegration of the roofing materials.

How to fix: When your roof is wearing out, the best solution is to have it replaced by a professional roofing company.

Leaky Roof? Cenvar Roofing Can Fix Your Leak

If your roof is leaking and you’re not sure why, our repair team would love to help you out. During the inspection, one of our team members will come inspect your roof, diagnose the source of the problem and explain your repair options. Schedule your free estimate today to get started.

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