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It is not uncommon to see a roof leak spring up only during a heavy rain storm, only to disappear entirely in light rain. Most of these roof leaks aren’t easy to recognize because their source is hard to track. A lot of people ask, “Why does my roof only leak sometimes?” The answer is fairly complicated, so we urge you to stick around.
The frustration accompanied by finding one of these “invisible” leaks is unmatchable, and you often never know where the water enters your home from looking from the inside only. Let’s find out why this happens!
Why Does My Roof Only Leak Sometimes?
Inconsistent roof leaks generally occur during severe weather conditions. While your roof might be waterproof against regular rain, roof damage or installation errors oftentimes can affect its ability to keep water out from certain roof areas.
These leaks might be visible several days into a heavy storm or never happen under similar conditions. You should always look out for water entering your home during heavy rain regardless so that you know what is happening.
Here are a few instances when you might experience a roof leak:
During rain and strong winds, you might have experienced rain that flies parallel to the ground. Since asphalt shingles are only designed to repel water falling perpendicularly, horizontal rain or what we call wind driven rain can seep between the shingles and or get behind the roof to wall or roof to chimney flashing.
This water will eventually seep through, even well after it has stopped raining. The reason that this happens is because it takes the water much longer to travel under the roof material through your attic, through your insulation and finally hitting the sheetrock, where you are able to see the water damage.
You might have experienced a roof leak at times of heavy rain if you haven’t conducted proper maintenance. Having leaves and debris build up in your valleys or around chimneys , skylights or any other penetrations can create water dams, allowing water to back up in heavy rains. If your gutters are clogged and if they can’t drain the water fast enough, water can also back up on the roof and cause it to leak there as well.
Did you know that 86% of roof leaks are caused by improper installation?
You should also consider having your roof inspected by a contractor before the rainy season to clean up all leaves and tree debris and any clogged gutters, at that time we would inspect for any damage that might cause the roof to leak in the near future, we have found that this would help prevent some of the most common roof leaks that we typically repair.
If you have ridge vents, they may leak during heavy rain combined with strong winds. While they are designed to prevent water from entering your house, some types are less water-resistant than others. Ensure that you research the types of vents and the waterproofing that suits your needs to prevent any damage to your home.
Leaky ridge vents may also indicate improper installation, and you should address them right away to prevent any serious damage.
Homes equipped with vent pipes can experience leaks during heavy rain. Vent pipes crack over time depending on the quality of the seal boot installed and its age. Always ask for premium vent pipes because cheaper ones break more frequently and can take up more of your time and money in repairs.
Many people dislike skylights because of their high tendency to leak during storms. No matter how tight the seal is, a skylight requires you to cut a hole in the roof.
Despite their water-resistant nature, skylights may start leaking after a few years due to natural wear. They can also gather up condensation and start leaking. You should call a professional roofer to make sure they are sealed properly.
One of the most common roof leaks are chimneys, they are prone to leaking and should be inspected frequently with the rest of the roof. With constant exposure to natural elements and the heat difference between burning wood in the fireplace and the cooler outdoor temperature, chimneys have a high tendency to crack and cause roof leaks, this is caused by all of the expansion and contracting from going to hot and then cold.
Other leaks can result from a poorly designed valley that prevents water from draining around the chimney or the siding material on the chimney sometimes fails and causes a leak. Worn out or rusted out chimney caps are another common cause of chimney leaks and should be addressed by your roofer immediately.
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Some roofing materials can withstand greater impact than others. A possible cause of intermittent roof leaks is that your roof might be damaged due to hail, wind or heavy objects falling on it.
Another cause might be an accumulation of debris or even walking on your roof if it isn’t designed for it. Call up a contractor if you think that it might be damaged for an inspection. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
“Why does my roof only leak sometimes? I have always followed a strict maintenance schedule!” If you can relate to this, then it might be time to have your roof inspected. Over the years, your roof is constantly exposed to the most extreme weather conditions causing it to wear out faster.
Some roofing materials can last over a century with proper maintenance, while others last 20 years or less. A good rule to follow is to plan to have roof maintenance at least once a year so that you know the exact condition of your roof and have time to plan before it might start developing serious problems.
Did you know that many insurance companies don’t insure a roof older than 15 years old?
Always be timely with your roof maintenance and ask a contractor to do it for you because improper maintenance techniques can lead to more problems.
Have a Leaky Roof? We Can Help!
Once you have identified that you have a leaky roof, call up a contractor. Even if you can’t track where the leak originates from, a roofer can, and they can fix the problem before it causes more serious damages to the wood decking, insulation and sheetrock.
At RoofCrafters, we have over 28 years of experience in conducting roof repairs and providing all types of roofing solutions for commercial and residential buildings. With thousands of satisfied customers, we can help you pick a new roof or fix the one you have.
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Operating in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina, our expert roofers, will get you started with a roof that suits your needs!
We hope that we answered your question, “Why does my roof only leak sometimes?” Now that you know what to look out for, you can call us or schedule your inspection now, and we will send out one of our trained estimators to help you get started!