Question:

What are the most common sources of a leaky roof?

Common Sources of Roof Leaks

Every time it rains, your roof is under attack from liquid invaders from the sky, seeking to breech your home's defenses and steal your right to be warm and dry (well, that's one way of looking at it). Rainwater is quick to exploit any weakness in the integrity of your roofing defense system. Roofing materials can wear out, break, rust, blow off, or otherwise fail and give moisture the opening it needs to do its damage. Most commonly rainwater finds its way through the roof by way of a chimney, plumbing vent, exhaust fan or skylight, flashings when the sealant joints around these penetrations crack and fail. Look for potential chinks in your home's armor in the following areas:

• Old or defective shingles can curl and crack, allowing moisture intrusion. If old shingles aren't removed before new roof shingles are applied, it can reduce the life of the new roof.
• Chimney caps can crack allowing water inside the chimney.
• Gutter flashing can fail, forcing rainwater to set up camp between the roof and gutter.
• Flat or low pitched roofs have unique maintenance needs and are susceptible to water problems because they may not drain as quickly as roofs with a steeper pitch.

Flat roof drains or scuppers can clog and hold water on the roof, increasing the risk, not only of a leak, but of a possible collapse of the entire roof under the weight of the water. The price of dryness is eternal vigilance. Keep possible penetration points well sealed and maintained and you will have nothing to fear from raindrops falling on your roof. You don't need a guide to roof protection and repair to know that prevention is your best defense.

Waterproofing Frequently Asked Questions

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How to Hire a Waterproofing Contractor

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Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.