The roof is one of those parts of a house that we take for granted. We often don’t remember it unless something goes wrong and one of the most common roof problems is springing a leak. If you have an old, leaky roof, it can quickly get frustrating having to keep your eye on the weather or running for a drip pail whenever it rains.
A small leak or drip is often a sign of a larger issue and the longer you leave it unattended the more damage you’re likely to incur. Since leaky roofs never fix themselves, the longer you ignore them, the more money you’ll spend to get them fixed.
Dangers of Waiting
Quick action is needed when it comes to a roof leak. Sometimes the signs of leakages from an old roof are obvious. For instance, you may notice stains or discoloration on the ceiling. Alternatively, the ceiling may bulge or sag in spots. Either way, once the telltale dripping starts, you know you have a problem on your hands. Left unchecked, a small issue could quickly snowball into a much more serious one. To prevent this, it’s recommended that you get a professional roof inspection done about once or twice a year, especially if it’s an old roof.
Finding and Fixing a Roof Leak
If you know what you’re doing, you can take care of some small roof leaks by yourself. Some of the leaks from an old roof can be caused by gaps in the shingles or blocked gutters which you can easily take care of.
Tracking Down the Leak
The first step is to pinpoint the source of the leak. This may be difficult since the source is often in a different location from where the leak shows up. As we roofing professionals often say, to find the source of a leak, you have to “think like water”.
Water often travels downhill on a roof so to locate the source of a leak, start by looking at sections of the roof that are uphill from the stains or signs of leakage. Good places to start include around roof penetrations such as plumbing or roof vents, dormers, or around chimneys.
If you have access to your roof, go up there with a strong flashlight and look for water stains, mold, or dark spots. If the attic can’t be accessed, you may have to climb up on the roof itself to check for missing, warped or broken shingles, holes in the roofing materials, or clogged gutters.
Fixing Common Roof Leakage Issues
- Fixing leaks from shiners
A common cause of small leakage in old roofs is shiners. These are nails that were hammered through the roof but missed the framing member. They are commonly found in the attic and when moisture from the house condenses on these nails, they develop frost. When it heats up during the day, the moisture melts and drips. Fixing this issue is as easy as clipping the shiners with side-cutting pliers.
- Fixing small holes in shingles
Tiny holes in the shingles can be hard to spot. This means they can cause leaks and damage for years before being noticed. Some of these holes are left over from antenna or satellite dish mounting or other punctures to shingles. It might be tempting to fix these small holes by injecting caulk into them but this won’t work. Instead, fix them using flashing. Get a small piece of galvanized sheet metal flashing and push it underneath the punctured shingle to cover the holes. Ensure you replace any nails you’ve pulled with rubber-washed screws.
- Fixing clogged gutters
Gutters are meant to lead water away from the roof and safely direct it to the ground. Clogged gutters are unable to do this so water pools on the roof, giving it enough time to seep through cracks into the house. There’s no other way to fix this other than getting up there and unclogging and clearing the gutter. That should restore the flow of water and stop further leakage.
- Fixing vent boots
Roofing vents are small pipes sticking out from the top of the roof. These are used to expel excess moisture from the house. However, those with broken seams or torn rubber boots can allow water to work its way into the house. Fixing this means replacing the torn rubber boots with new ones. Use a pry bar to break the seal connecting the shingles around the boot, then install a new one. Make sure you secure the shingles with rubber-washed screws and put some caulk underneath the shingles to further seal them.
- Fixing step flashing
Step flashing is used along walls that intersect the roof. This flashing channels water over the shingles that are downhill from it. Unfortunately, these can rust or come loose, allowing water to find its way behind the flashing into the house. Fixing this means replacing the flashing. This involves removing the neighboring shingles, prying the shingles loose then removing and replacing the step flashing. Once you’re done ensure that you secure and seal the shingles.
Get Your Roof Repaired Today
Fixing roofing problems can be a dangerous job, especially if your roof is high and steep or you’re not sure about what you’re doing. While fixing leakage from an old roof may appear simple, you may make things worse if you attempt repairs without the necessary experience, tools, and confidence. That’s why it’s better to leave the job to roofing professionals.
Here at Christian Brothers Roofing, we have an experienced team of roofing specialists who can easily fix your leaky roof. We offer a variety of roofing services in Georgia including roof inspection, repair, and replacement. We uphold high standards and our work speaks for itself. We have a reputation for doing excellent work and ensure that our roofs stand the test of time.
If you’re dealing with an old, leaking roof, call in the professionals and let us sort it out for you. You can reach us at 770-734-6700.