Facts of Leaking Roof

Water is the most insidious cause to a leaky roof.  It is destructive and could spread like a wild fire from the point of the initial attack to a total not salvageable effect unless you act fast.  And this is the only best way to avoid major repair bill in the future.  My advice is to attend to any small problem immediately.  You are lucky if you can find out quickly because most of the time, it is difficult to identify the source of the leaks.

Leaking roof will ruin the insulation of the house, creating a breeding ground for black mold and will slowly creep into your interior ceilings and walls and even rot out the wooden framing.  Mold is very toxic to health causing all kind of problem especially allergies, headache, sinus infection, congestion, lungs and liver disease just to name a few.

Let’s roll up the sleeve and dive into the not so fun facts of this villain.

Old Age

When a roofing material gets old, it is less efficient just like human.  Sickness will be creeping up.  In this case, the changes in temperatures causing expansion and contraction are the cause of the aging.  The material especially the asphalt will turn brittle and crack like an old bone.  The heat from the sun will melt the tar that holds the composition shingles together as well.  So, before the roofing condition exceeding its life expectancy, it is time to use your emergency fund to replace it.

Brick Chimneys

Brick chimney is usually the culprit of any leaks.  The mortar that binds the brick together is simply a mixture of water, sand and cement.  The weather aspects will cause erosion and crumble eventually.  If there is a sign of water, check the mud cap on top of the chimney and inspect the mortar joints where the chimney enters the roof for any cracks.  This is an easy fix if this is the problem.


Flashing is one of the composition of chimneys.  Flashing is the thin strip of metal installed at the danger points for leads around the roof to prevent leaking.  They are bent at a 90-degree angle to attach both the brick chimneys and roofing materials together.

As you can see, the flashing must be properly nailed in place and sealed to protect it against water intrusion.  Even if this is done perfectly, we still have the metal rust villain to run up against in this battle.  Luckily the cost of replacing flashing is in the range of hundreds by using caulking and roof cement.  But, this is just a temporary solution hopefully it will tie you over to save up enough money for a roof replacement.

Missing and Crack Shingles

Strong wind and changes of weather may send your shingles off its place.  If you discover a shingle in your yard or driveway, get on it immediately.  Just prying off the old nails from the course below and slide in the new shingle, nail it down and reinforce the shingles around it.

If you do not save some extra shingles from the contractor during installation, chances are you will not find the same exact matching color depending on the age of your material.  If that happen, take a breather, nobody will notice that.

Vent Boot

Vent boot is like flashing fabricated from rubber but, it can be plastic, metal or any combination.  It slides over the plastic vent pipes to waterproof the junction of the roof and pipe.  When the gasket stops working, the old boots must be pulled off with a knife and replace easily with a new one.

Holy Holes

Well, if this happen, we can’t miss that! A hole on the roof is usually cause by animals like squirrels and raccoons.  However, it could be also from misplaced roofing nails or left over from a previous antenna mounting bracket.

This can be easily taken care of by placing a piece of flashing over with a dab of caulking.

Steep Architecture Roofing

This sophisticated structure might gain you some traffic stoppers from the street but, the steep valleys and slopes could be a time bomb for disaster if they are not properly sealed.  Your best bet will be hiring a professional roofer to install a leak barrier that keeps the water flowing off the roof.

The other disadvantages of this dynamic roofing are the high possibility of forming an ice dam due to the configuration.  It is not only putting extra weight on the roof structure but also keep corrosive water in contact with the roof surface for an extended period promoting seepage under the shingles.  To solve this problem, installing a roof edge heating cables will be ideal or just use your muscle with a roof rake every time it snows.

Clogged Gutters

Clean your gutters and treat them like a lady.  Always pay first attention to them and ensure water flows efficiently at all time.  Read more about gutters cleaning from my other article.


It is nice to have a skylight but take extra care of the leaks that can sprout down the sides if it is not fitted tight and rubber sealed around the glass.  Always check the cracks in the flashing along the top and the sides of the skylights as well as the cracked or missing shingles around it.  The pitch of the skylight must be installed correctly, or you will be expecting raindrops keep falling on your head as you are gazing the starry night.


What is a shiner? Occasionally if one or two nails missed the rafters and protrudes into the attic.  It can frost up in the cold night and start dripping during the day.  Over time, you will see a brown spot in your ceiling.  This need to be addressed with side-splitting pliers instantly and fix the insulation and ventilation issues from the damage to prolong the roof lifespan.

There are some guides for in depth reading how to prevent a leaking roof here.