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7 Causes of Roof Leaks [& How to Avoid Them]

A leaky roof is more than a minor irritant. If left unattended, you can expect gradual damage to your attic area, the interior ceiling, and the paint and plaster on nearby walls, not to mention items inside your home.

While having to repair a roof leak is not an uncommon problem faced by homeowners in Delaware, it is one that can often be prevented with precautionary measures, careful inspections, and regular maintenance.

What Are the Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks?

As a homeowner, it is better to be aware of the primary culprits behind roof leaks. With that knowledge, you are in a position to help prevent the problem from occurring in the first place. More importantly, you can fix the leak while it’s still minor rather than having to tear off and replace or overlay your whole roof. Here are some of the common factors that lead to leaky roofs in Delaware:

1. Weather Events

Exposure to the elements does a number on roofs, especially in the Northeast. Severe thunderstorms and the build up of ice and snow during the winter leads to water pooling on your roof. Even the steady, slow fall of rain or snow or the relentless beating down of the sun has a cumulative impact over the years. While you can’t prevent weather and its detrimental effect on your roof, you can use the best materials during your roof installation and monitor its condition, both regularly and after extreme weather events.

2. Human Error

New residential roofs are made to tolerate modest foot traffic and it’s alright to climb on your roof when you need to. However, there are certain areas—such as around HVAC equipment or on top of a seam—where heavy foot traffic can be a major issue. If you have to walk on your roof, watch your step and avoid spots that look worn down.

3. Cracked Flashing

Flashing is used as a water-resistant barrier that is installed wherever the roof plane meets a vertical surface and around various roof features, such as skylights and chimneys. It helps direct water away from critical areas on your roof. The tar used to seal flashing together can corrode or crack over time, creating a leak into your house.

4. Neglecting Maintenance

Roofs experience general wear over time. As caulking and pitch pans dry out and crack, they can allow water to seep in. You should be regularly inspecting and maintaining your roof so small issues that could have been easily fixed don’t swell into major problems that require you to fully replace the roof. Additionally, stay on top of cleaning your gutters, as clogging can increase the risk of rainwater pooling and seeping through cracks on your roof.

5. Seam Issues

The seams of your roof—where sheets of membrane are overlapped and joined—are often the weakest areas. Generally, the seams hold up well on flat open spaces. On the edges of the roof and around flashing and pipes, however, you may experience delamination that subsequently causes your roof to leak. Additionally, if the valleys on your roof are not sealed properly, rainwater running down the roof may penetrate the surface.

6. Shingle Damage

Over time, your shingles become damaged or powerful gusts of wind and heavy rains carry them away. If you have broken or missing shingles on your roof, that can quickly lead to water penetration. Periodically check your roof and replace missing or damaged shingles.

7. Cracked Vent Booting

Roof vents are used as part of the ventilation system, as they allow air to enter and exit attics and other enclosed spaces. They also prevent excess moisture buildup. Roof vent leaks are common, as the flashing used to seal the equipment breaks or the roof decays. You can often detect roof vent leaks through the corresponding dark spots they leave behind. The good news is you easily replace the rubber boot on your roof vent and other parts before the leak causes further damage that necessitates a roof replacement.

Calling in Roofing Professionals in Delaware

Whether you want to inspect your roof for potential damage, repair a minor leak, or replace the entire roof, you should contact a professional roof contractor near Wilmington, Delaware, to help take care of the issue. Be sure that you don’t become the victim of a roofing scam and verify that your roofing professionals are qualified to do the work. Bromwell Construction Company offers a wide range of residential roofing services to handle projects, both large and small, and keep your home safe and sound.

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