Your roof is one of the first lines of defense against the weather. Your roof, just like your walls, help keep the rain out. If your roof becomes damaged, or if parts of it are missing, that line of defense is weakened. If water gets through your roof, all sorts of damage can result.
Keep an eye out for these 5 signs your roof is leaking, and act immediately, to keep your roof lasting as long as possible.
1. Stain or wet spot on your ceiling
An obvious sign your roof is leaking is a stain or wet spot on your ceiling. More than likely, that water is coming from your roof. What's more, that water is probably from a damaged roof or missing roofing materials. If you see a stain or a wet spot on your ceiling, get your roof, and attic, inspected right away. The longer you wait, the more damage there will be and the more it will cost to repair.
2. Moisture or mold in the attic
If you have moisture or mold in the attic, it could be from a few things.
a. your roof is leaking from either damaged or missing roofing material.
This could be from an old roof. For example, if enough granules are missing from asphalt shingles, water can soak through to the underlayment and deck then into the attic. Similarly, if the roofing material is damaged or missing, rain can easily get onto the roofing deck and into your attic.
b. your attic isn't being properly ventilated
An improperly ventilated attic isn't necessarily a sign of a leaking roof, but it's worth mentioning here. More often we come across improperly ventilated attics in older homes, such as before the 1980s. If you have moisture or mold in your attic, and you don't have roof damage, and your appliances and vents from fans are venting directly to the outside, you might just need your current attic ventilation inspected and possibly add more vents, or upgrade your existing ones.
c. appliances or fans are being vented to your attic and there isn't adequate ventilation to the outside.
If appliances or fans, such as fans in the bathroom, are being vented into the attic, and if the attic isn't being vented properly, this can also cause mold to grow in the attic. It's important to vent appliances and fans directly to the outside, and make sure your attic is being properly vented.
Whether you have damaged or missing roofing material, or an improperly vented attic, have your roof and attic inspected right away if you suspect moisture or mold in your attic.
3. Wet roof deck
The roof deck is the 4' x 8' sheets of board your roof, such as asphalt shingles, gets secured to. The roof deck is visible from your attic. If the roof deck is wet, this is another sign your roof is leaking as rain is coming through or around your roofing material and underlayment. Which means your roofing material is damaged or missing. Most folks don't crawl around in their attic, therefore, they never notice if their roof deck is wet. However, if you do notice your roof desk is wet, schedule a roof and attic inspection immediately before further damage is caused.
4. Water or rust around a stove pipe
If you see water coming down your stove pipe, such as a fireplace stove pipe, or you notice your stove pipe is rusting, this means the flashing around the pipe on the roof isn't properly sealed and letting rain water in. If you catch this in time, it can be a quick and inexpensive repair by simply adding more sealant around the pipe flashing, or replacing a few asphalt shingles. As with anything, the longer you wait, the more damage there can be and the more costly the repairs. Again, if you see water or rust on your stove pipe, call a roofing professional for an inspection and repair.
5. Defective metal flashing
Metal flashing is a transitional material. That is, it goes between two other materials. For example, flashing goes between asphalt shingles and your chimney. A sealant gets applied to the joints between these different materials. Defective metal flashing is quite common, given the high winds we get along the Colorado Front Range. High winds can pull material loose, as can tree branches fall or rubbing on your roof. When metal flashing is pulled-up or damaged, rain can get underneath it and cause damage. Similarly, if joints are broken around the metal flashing, rain can get through and cause damage. Either way, if you spot damaged or defective metal flashing, call your roofing professional for an inspection, and possibly repairs.
The sooner you spot the above signs your roof is leaking, the sooner you can stop damage from spreading, and the lower your roof repair bill will be. It's a good idea to inspect, or have your roof inspected, every year. However, you don't want to walk on your roof frequently as walking on your roof slowly breaks it down. If you have an asphalt shingle roof, those granules come off as you walk on them. The above signs can be spotted from within your attic or room, or from a ladder beside your roof.
Tip: if you have a drone, such as the affordable DJI Spark, you can stay on the ground and fly the drone over your roof and inspect it safely. You can also take photos with most drones and inspect the photos on your smart phone or computer. 🙂