We recently worked with a customer who had significant water damage to their roof and had no idea until we began to tear off for their re-roof (see the above photos). You see, homeowners may think their roof will tell them when it is leaking and causing water damage. For example, they expect to see water spots on their ceiling or water actively be dripping down. But what most homeowners may be unaware of, is that sometimes there are no physical warning signs inside the home of water damage being done.
There are various causes that can make your roof leak. Here are just a few to keep an eye on.
A valley is the inside angle where two roof faces meet. It can be a particularly vulnerable area of the roof because rainwater is being channeled into it. If the valley is not properly protected and sealed, it can drain water directly into the home.
Flashing is the thin metal sheet installed at critical points of the roof. For instance, where the roof face meets a vertical wall that makes up the second story of the home. Over time the wood that the steel is installed upon and the sealing agents, i.e. caulking or bull, can shrink and expand in changing temperatures, and if it’s nailed to the roof and the wall, it can become deformed, which leaves a gap for water to enter. Warped, loose, or rusted flashing is a sign of water damage and needs to be replaced to uphold the integrity of the roof.
This one may be the worst of the three. Holes can be created on your shingle roof from a nail backing out or a screw backing out on a metal roof. The nails or screws can back out or stick up from weathering, vibrations, or high winds. These will all cause wear and tear on your roof, especially on an older home. Once these nails or screws come up, they leave a little hole that water can easily seep into creating a very small, slow leak to your underlayment. Your roof could be leaking for a very long time and you would have no idea until you begin to tear it off. Your decking can be completely rotted from this water damage. Therefore, a very tiny hole can be very devastating and make what you think is a small repair very costly.
An example of this happening is the picture posted above. The entire decking was rotted with water damage and all of it had to be replaced. An expense that the customer was not expecting.
How to Check for Water Damage
Leaks do not only damage your roof underlayment, but they can also cause mold in your attic as well without you knowing. So, the best way to prevent this from happening to your home is to get a roof inspection every year and check your flashing for any signs of deformation. Being proactive can help you save your roof and your money!