Why Is My Roof Leaking? – Causes and Explanations

It all starts with that discolored ring on the ceiling. A sense of dread is sure to follow. Water damage in the ceiling could mean a great variety of things, and none of them are good. It could either mean there’s moisture collecting in your attic or crawl space, or your roof is leaking. Assuming it is a roof leak, there could be several causes. Identifying the cause goes a long way to helping you understand, and therefore resolve the problem. There are several common causes of roof leaking – some you may feel comfortable fixing yourself, and others for which you’ll probably want to call a professional.

Why Is My Roof Leaking? - Causes and Explanations

Weather-Related Roof Leaking

The material on your roof is constantly exposed to a variety of weather conditions and temperatures. Your roof endures extreme heat to extreme cold, and everything in between. Strong storms can bring high winds, and a barrage of pounding rain, along with the occasional fallen branch. Winter storms mean heavy snow just sitting on top of your house until the sun eventually melts it all away.


Your roof as a structure was designed to be sturdy and to hold up to these conditions. However, the individual materials that it’s composed of can be compromised. If you detect roof leaking, look for these signs:

  • Broken or Missing Shingles – Your shingles are like links of armor. If one is broken or missing entirely, then the integrity of your roof is compromised. Missing shingles create vulnerable places in your roof where water can seep in.
  • Cracked Flashing – Flashing are long strips of metal, sometimes with a rubberized coating, that are installed underneath shingles and on the joints of your roof. Flashing can develop cracks that can expand, especially when the tar used to seal the flashing begins to corrode due to weather and age.
  • Ice Dam Build Up – The heat from your attic or crawl space warms the snow sitting on your roof in the winter, causing it to melt and the water to run off. Freezing temperatures cause the water to turn to ice in the slopes of your roof, creating an ice dam. Aside from contributing additional weight on your roof, these dams can grow and prevent water runoff. The sitting water then sits and seeps into your roof.
  • Cracked Chimney – Chimneys can be fixed to your roof with mortar, which is a hardened mixture of sand, cement, and water. Mortar can erode from harsh weather conditions and compromise the water seal of your roof.

Maintenance-Related Roof Leaking

Not all issues with the roof leaking are strictly weather related, though it’s certainly a large contributing factor. Just like all areas of your house, your roof needs regular maintenance in order to aid its longevity.  If your roof is leaking, you can also look for these signs:

  • Clogged Gutters – In part of any spring or fall clean-up, you always want to make sure you clean out your gutters. As leaves, twigs, dirt, and debris fall on your house, rain water will wash all of it toward your gutters. If not regularly cleaned, clogged gutters prevent water from draining off your roof, so it just sits there. Add ice and snow, and you could have a serious problem on your hands.
  • Improperly Sealed Valleys – Valleys are areas where two panes of your roof join together. These joints should be sealed, but if the seal is compromised, water can seep in through the crack.
  • Too Much Traffic – While your roof was created to stand up to harsh weather conditions and assault from tree branches, it wasn’t created for constant human wandering. The materials protecting your home from the outside world are fragile on their own and are subject to higher risk of damage if you’re constantly walking around on them.

Why Is My Roof Leaking? - Causes and Explanations

Next Steps

Whether your roof is four years old or a decade old, it’s good to keep this list in the back of your mind. A year of particularly harsh weather can be enough to damage even the newest roof. Remember to clean out your gutters at least twice a year, and keep an eye out for broken or missing shingles.

If you were able to successfully identify the cause of your roof leak, you’re probably wondering what comes next. Unless you’re extremely handy, your next step is to call a professional. It’s not recommended to tackle a roof leak by yourself.

Your roof is delicate, and you risk doing further damage and compromising its integrity even further if you try to repair it without consulting a professional. Aside from skill level, repairing a roof is also dangerous. Even the most sure-footed person risks falling from a significant height. Locating the cause of the leak is dangerous enough – best not to expose yourself to prolonged visits to the top of your roof. In addition, if you do have water pooling on your roof, your added weight could be too much for your roof to bear.

Home Pro Remodeling is experienced when it comes to roof leaking issues. Our team is knowledgeable, and we’re dedicated to helping you. Aside from roofing, we have a variety of other services. If you have any questions, or to get your free estimate contact us today !

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