Roof leak is a leading cause of water damage in New Zealand homes. In fact, a couple of decades ago, it was a widespread household problem that particularly affected untreated timber-framed “Mediterranean” style houses with flat roofs and plaster cladding, which was trendy at the time. The problem was so serious it was later called “The Leaky Homes Crisis”.
Thankfully, with today’s leak-proof home designs becoming increasingly popular and improvements to the building code being strictly observed, the crisis has finally died down and affected families are coping. Then again, this doesn’t mean you can live a carefree life, as shifting to a modern home style doesn’t guarantee freedom from roof leak. After all, roof leaks may come from a variety of sources other than poor design, including the following.
Roof vents are made to prevent the transfer of heat and cool from inside and outside of your house. They consist of several parts, including pipes and gaskets. If any of these parts were broken, outside moisture or water can easily leak into the house. Make sure the pipes and gaskets are intact with no cracks, gaps, or even missing nails. If you discover issues, don’t hesitate to call in a roofer to fix them immediately.
Some homeowners opt for a low-pitched roof to save money, not knowing that reducing the pitch could affect the roof’s ability to resist leak. Although roofs can be made flat, a special technique is needed to achieve this without compromising leak tolerance. Residential roofing contractors understand that this technique can’t be used for other roofing materials, such as shingles and shakes. The minimum slope for asphalt shingles and wood shakes must be 2:12 to prevent water from backing up into the house.
During winter, ice forms underneath the pile of snow on the surface of your roof. If your roof lacks proper ventilation, the heat from your home escaping into the attic may melt that ice. The snow cloaking the roof dams the snowmelt. Instead of falling into the gutter, the snowmelt will seep underneath the shingles and into the roof deck.
Poorly Installed or Broken Flashing
Roof edges as well as the sides of your chimney are notorious sources of leak. This is why they must be sealed off with flashing. The problem is that over time the flashing deteriorates, opening paths where water can trickle into the house. You have to make sure the flashings are properly sealed and resealed on a regular basis. In fact, if you’ve just moved to a new house, flashing in those areas are among the first things you should check.
Wobbly or Bent Ridge Cap
The peak of the roof where two of the roof’s edges meet is actually open. It is closed and sealed with a bent ridge cap. The cap’s position makes it the most vulnerable part of the roof because it can be easily blown off by high wind if not installed properly. Over time, its seal wears away and some nails might go missing. When this happens, the cap will become less resistant to wind force and as it wobbles, water may seep through its underside.
Snow build-up is not the only cause of dams that wreak havoc in roofs. Debris such as twigs, leaves or pine needles can trap water on the roof as well and cause as much damage. Whether or not your house is surrounded with trees that might be the culprit to such occurrence in your roof, you have to stay alert and keep your roof free from debris at all times. Sometimes, these debris may even block the downspout, causing water to dam in the gutter and back up into the house.
Broken and Missing Shingles
Roof shingles’ single most important job is to guide rainwater or snowmelt into the gutter. If one of them has been damaged or worse blown off, nothing in the emptied zone will prevent water from trickling down into your house. Once water breaks into the roof deck, it will leave a trail of damage that’s difficult to repair. So it’s crucial to check the roof for broken or missing shingles every now and then, especially after a storm.
To ensure your safety, use the proper fall arrest when working on your roof. For guaranteed lasting solution to your roof leak problems, leave the job to a trusted commercial and residential roofing contractor, such as GMZ Roofing. Not only do they have the right skills for the job, but they also use advanced tools for detecting and fixing leak sources.