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Proactive steps to help prevent a roof leak

Before and after storm season is a good time to check your roof for issues.  Costly roof repairs could be avoided by checking for potential roofing problems.

Penetrations are the most common sources of a roof leak.

A penetrating object will stop the natural water flow off a roof.  If you see signs of a leak, check these places first to find the source:

  • Chimneys. The top leak source. Does the chimney have a cricket? Is it properly step flashed and counter flashed? Does it need to be sealed?
  • Skylights. Water gets trapped behind them. Is the flashing in good repair? Is the skylight itself leaking?
  • Plumbing vents. Do the vent stacks have neoprene or rubber that has cracked with age? Do they need to be sealed or painted? Have critters chewed on the pipe or flashing?
  • Is the satellite or cable flashed properly?
  1. Living on the edge. A drip edge moves water to the gutters.
    • A common leak source in the eaves and cause of wood rot is a missing drip edge. Wind-driven rain will enter the gap between the roof deck and fascia board.
    • A drip edge also helps to keep out insects, critters, and snakes. Make sure to check the drip edge when looking for leaks.
  2. Every step I take. Areas where step flashing should be installed are a common leak source and maintenance item. Inspect these areas for damage:
    • Dormers
    • Roof-to-wall transitions
    • Wherever low-quality sealant or mastic has been used in the past
  3. Check your attic. Your roof may not be the issue. Problems can come from improper attic ventilation, plumbing, air conditioning, condensation, vent fans, and animal or bug infestation in the attic. Be on the lookout for:
    • Algae stains on interior plywood
    • The “M” word: mold
    • Soaked insulation when it hasn’t rained
    • Black rings or rust around nails, which is the first sign moisture is condensing in attic spaces
    • Is there a lack of ventilation that is causing the attic to overheat or accumulate moisture?
    • Are the intake vents clogged with paint, spider webs, dust, or insulation?
  4. In the gutter. Many homeowners do not realize the importance of their gutters. They need to be installed and sloped properly to drain, tightly fastened, and free of debris. Contractors should stress to homeowners that gutter maintenance should be left to a professional. Advise them of the risks of climbing onto a ladder.

If you do see signs of a roof leak or you spot other roofing problems, it is best to address the issues right away before they develop into larger, more costly problems.  Contact us to come out and perform a free roof inspection to keep one of your home's most valuable assets in peak condition.

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