Prepare For Winter, Avoid Roof Leaks.
The source of most roof leaks is hard to find because it originates away from where the leak shows up. In order to find the source of a leak, follow a roofer’s advice and “think like water.”
Water typically comes in through worn, broken, or missing shingles; where nails have worked loose; or through corroded or poorly sealed roof flashing around vents, skylights, or chimneys or along the intersections of roof planes.
Roofing materials deteriorate with age and become less effective at keeping water out. Temperature fluctuations and weather conditions may cause roofing materials to become brittle and crack over time. Exposure to direct sunlight can melt the tar that seals shingles together.
It’s important for any penetration through the roof to be sealed properly to prevent leaks. Inspect the gaskets around vent pipes for cracks or gaps and check for missing nails. Plastic vents may crack after years of exposure to the weather.
If the roof slope is too shallow, wind can lift shingles and drive rain underneath. Roof slope, or pitch, is measured as a ratio of its vertical rise, in inches, over a horizontal distance of 12 inches. The International Building Code stipulates that the roof slope must be at least 2:12 for installation of asphalt shingles. If the slope is between 2:12 and 4:12, a double layer of underlay material must be used. Ensure that your roofing materials are appropriate for the roof pitch and have been installed properly.
A buildup of debris such as twigs, leaves or pine needles can trap water against the roof and allow it to seep in by capillary action. It’s important to keep the roof clear to permit water to run off quickly. Trimming overhanging tree branches will make it easier to keep your roof free of debris.
Metal roof flashing seals roof transitions where large amounts of water run down or where absorption may occur. Flashing is placed where the roof joins a dormer, where a chimney penetrates the roof and around the edges of skylights. Flashing sections may slide out of place if nails are missing and caulk may dry and crack over time.
Ridge Caps, Gutter Backup, Holes, Excess Moisture, and Missing Shingles all contribute to leaks.
The best plan is to find yourself a Certified Roof Inspector. They can perform a comprehensive inspection, provide you with a report and even give you some guidance. Be sure they are Certified. You can contact the NRCIA (National Roof Certification and Inspection Association) for the nearest Certified Roof Inspector. www.nrcia.org