Your roof should protect you and your home’s interior from inclement weather. If you notice leaks during heavy rain, your roof isn’t doing its job. This can pose health and safety risks for you and your family. The longer the problem goes unattended, the more structural damage and mold your roof will accumulate. All roof leaks and subsequent damages require the knowledge of a professional, but the first step is identifying the problem. To help you get the right help as fast as possible, let’s look at the most common causes of roof leaks during heavy rain.
Ice or Debris Dams
The way your roof angles allows water to flow freely to your gutters and out of the downspout. Any barrier that prevents this flow can cause water to back up and pool on the roof. Twigs, leaves, debris, and ice buildup can create a sort of dam. With enough time, water will always find the path of least resistance and eventually seep under the shingles. If you see large pools of water on your roof or in your home, this is a sign that your roof leak is an emergency. Don’t wait to get professional help.
Blocked Downspouts or Gutters
Even if your roof is clean and clear of debris, that doesn’t mean water can’t back up and pool on your roof. Your gutters and your downspouts collect the water that pours off your roof and directs it away from your home. However, if either of these parts becomes clogged, water will collect and back up. Much like an ice or debris dam, the longer the water sits and accumulates, the more chance it has to slip through any cracks it finds. It doesn’t have to be a complete blockage either—even a partial blockage can cause serious damage.
Missing or Degraded Shingles
Your shingles are your roof’s first line of defense against leakages, and if any of them are missing or broken, you can be sure that a leak will follow. Missing shingles are generally easy to pinpoint, but damaged shingles can often go unnoticed. It’s normal for shingles to crack, curl, wear down, or dry out over time, as they can’t last forever. However, damaged or degraded shingles are among the most common causes of roof leaks during heavy rain. If your roof sees lots of storms and rainy weather, don’t discount shingle damage just because it’s not immediately apparent.
Cracked or Poorly Installed Flashing
Pipes, vents, skylights, walls, valleys, and chimneys all require properly installed flashing. These areas are prone to water penetration, and flashing helps direct the water flow so that leaks don’t occur. Most flashing is galvanized steel, but cracks and holes can occur over time, as wear is natural. However, if roofers don’t install your flashing with great attention to detail, you may notice severe leakages. If this is the case, you’ll need a roof inspection ASAP to determine the true extent of the problem.