Worried about roof leaks in Dallas-Fort Worth?
How to spot roof leaks and stop them?
And how do we prevent existing ones from getting worse?
We asked professional roofers over at K&M Roofing Services, the top roofing contractor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, for some advice on managing roof leaks and how to keep your roof sealed and solid for all circumstances.
We’ll dive into how to prevent the most common causes of leaky roofs, how to find them, how to fix them, and how to mitigate roof damage for the inevitable wear and tear caused by time and adverse weather.
Dangers and health risks of leaky roofs
Structural damage caused by leaks is a cause for concern for every homeowner.
Even if you know where the leak is coming out of, it can be difficult to figure out where it is coming in from.
A drop can run along the roof’s underside, down a wall, and finally onto the floor.
These little leaks will cause structural damage to your home if they go unchecked.
The wooden support frames will decay and lose strength over time. It has the potential to seep into your home’s walls, causing paint to peel.
By the time you identify these leaks, it might have already caused substantial damage that will cost you an arm and a leg to have repaired.
Insulation can also be compromised by leaks. Wet insulation will clump together and compress as it dries.
If your insulation becomes contaminated, it will lose its ability to retain heat inside your home, and you will likely have to replace it entirely.
If you see an increase in your energy bills, it’s possible that it’s because your heaters or heat pumps are working overtime to dry up the air since your insulation isn’t up to par.
Leaks can also become a major fire and electrical hazard.
A short-circuit can occur when a leak comes into contact with exposed electrical wiring, resulting in a fire.
Any materials in the immediate vicinity, such as insulation or flammable materials, will catch fire.
Electrical fires are difficult to extinguish; you may intuitively pour water on the fire, but the water will be electrically charged, putting you at risk of electrocution.
If a fire does break out, use a fire extinguisher or a thick blanket to put it out.
A leaking roof also puts your health and those of your family at jeopardy.
Long term leaks can cause issues such as mold and mildew growth.
Asthmatics are triggered by mold because microscopic spores irritate the airways when inhaled, causing cough, chest tightness, throat and lung irritations, as well as swelling in the nasal passages.
Mold not only poses a major threat to asthmatics, but it also causes fevers, headaches, skin disorders such as dermatitis, and sleep disruption.
The most common signs of a leaky roof
Water dripping out of your ceiling is not the only way to tell if your roof is leaking and can already be considered a severe case.
Leaks are sometimes hidden and silent, but can still cause damage to your home for months without you knowing about it.
The hard part is finding the leak; the roof leak repair is usually simple.
Even if the leak isn’t bothering you or you’re getting a new roof next year, you should fix it right away if you have a leaky roof.
Small leaks can cause major issues like mold, rotten frame and sheathing, lost insulation, and damaged ceilings in a short period of time.
Make sure that leaks are nipped in the bud before they become a nightmare to fix by recognizing the telltale signs of hidden leaks.
The emergence of wet spots on your interior ceilings is one of the most dependable early warning indicators of a roof leak.
These spots are frequently brown stains in the shape of puddles with faint rings around the borders, appearing in clumps where the water drips on.
Spots like these are most commonly found in the center of ceilings, but you should also pay special attention to corners and alcoves where they are more prone to be overlooked.
Water stains that stretch across ceilings or run down walls are a sure sign of a roof leak.
These usually appear as dark, unsightly stains that come out from the edges of the ceiling.
If there are no telltale flow lines and the ceiling stain is minor, search for ‘shiners’ on the underside of the roof.
A shiner is a nail that has missed the framing member.
Moisture from the rooms below condenses on chilly nails as it escapes into the frigid attic.
If you go up into your attic on a cold night, you could notice this.
Because the nails are frosted, they will seem white.
The frost melts and drips when the attic warms up during the day, then the nails frost up again at night, and so on.
Simply snip the nail with a side-cutting pliers to solve the problem.
Damaged or Missing Shingles
If you can’t tell by looking at your ceiling if your roof is leaking or not, you should go up and inspect your roof as soon as possible.
If your roof is leaking, water is entering through the shingles in some way. As a result, it’s critical to inspect your shingles for damage.
They may be leaking water if they have twisted upwards or downwards, maybe owing to faulty installation, or there might be entire shingles missing due to a storm or debris damage.
When shingles are missing, cracked, or otherwise damaged, water can flow into the house over time.
If a warning indication is disregarded, a leak can start small and slowly do a lot of harm.
Missing or damaged flashings are also a common entry point for leaks. Check the flashings around chimneys and pipings, as well as on the edges of your roof.
Small holes in shingles can cause rot and other damage for years before you detect the obvious indicators of a leak.
You can come across holes from a satellite dish, antenna mounting brackets, or anything else installed on your roof.
Furthermore, exposed, misplaced roofing nails should be removed and holes filled.
Small holes are easy to repair, but the solution isn’t to fill the hole with caulk.
With flashing, you’ll be able to remedy this.
An ice dam can also allow water to enter.
The constant thawing of snow over the warmer areas of the roof and refreezing over in the evening creates ice dams.
Water might build up behind shingles due to an ice blockage.
You can suffer leaks if your roof doesn’t have an ice and water underlayment put beneath the tiles.
Mold, Mildew, Fungi Growth
It’s also worth looking at your home’s external walls to see if there’s any evidence of extra mold, fungi, or moss.
These frequent growths flourish in moist environments, which can be easily induced by a leaking roof allowing water to seep into the walls.
It’s possible that these growths on your house are simply due to how damp or dark the areas of your roof are.
A leaking roof, on the other hand, could be the cause of growths in sun-exposed regions of your home.
Roof leaks are often indicated by wet or rusted pipes.
If the stove pipe on your fireplace is rusted or moist to the touch, you may have a leak on your hands.
This type of leak is usually the result of your stove pipe not being properly sealed, allowing rainwater to enter.
If you notice persistent odors in your house that remain longer than a few days, you’ll need to investigate further.
If your roof is leaking water, you may notice a musty odor when you switch on the heating and cooling system or open the windows.
Wet insulation can cause that odor, so check your attic to determine if any batts or rolls have been damaged.
How to fix leaks
Once you’ve spotted the source of the leak, it’s time to plug it up. Replace any damaged or missing shingles and flashings.
Use rubber or metal sealants on holes or gaps on your roof where water comes in from.
Take note that while replacing or repairing damage on the roof is relatively straightforward in most cases, the process of fixing a roof involves hazards like slipping and falling off.
If there are multiple issues on your roof, or if your roof is particularly difficult to access, it might be a better idea to hire a professional roofer to conduct the repairs for you.
If you’re living in and around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, consider K&M Services.
K&M offers the best roofing and construction services in Texas, whether it’s fixing leaks, installing new shingles or replacing your roof altogether.
We field highly-experienced roofers to assess and repair your roof, and we offer free and honest inspection of your roof.