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Repairing a Leaking Roof: Causes and Fixes

December 21st, 2023

A leaking roof can be caused by various factors, including damaged or missing shingles, cracked flashing, faulty gutter systems, or even structural issues Here are some common causes of roof leaks:

Damaged or Missing Shingles: Curled, cracked, or missing shingles can create openings for water to seep through .
Cracked Flashing: Flashing, which covers seams and transitions on the roof, can develop cracks over time, allowing water to penetrate .
Faulty Gutter Systems: Clogged or damaged gutters can cause water to overflow and seep into the roof.
Structural Issues: Widespread wear and tear, rot, or mold on the roof boards or trusses can indicate structural issues that require professional attention .
How to Find the Source of a Roof Leak
Before fixing a leaking roof, it’s important to locate the source of the leak. Here are some methods to help you find the entry point:

Inspect the Attic: Look for water stains or signs of moisture in the attic. Trace these stains up the roof and rafters to identify the entry point .
Use a Garden Hose: Have a helper watch inside the attic while you spray water on different sections of the roof. Start low on the roof, just above where the leak is visible inside the house, and work your way up, isolating areas around each penetration until the leak is identified .
Fixes for a Leaking Roof
The specific repair methods for a leaking roof will depend on the roofing material and the construction of the roof. Here are some general fixes:

Repairing Flashing: If the flashing around chimneys or other areas is leaking, you can use roof sealant to repair cracks or glue individual pieces back down. However, this may be a temporary solution until the flashing can be replaced .
Replacing Shingles: If only a few shingles are damaged, you can replace them and reseal minor gaps. However, if there are patches of failing shingles or widespread wear, it may be a sign that the roof needs to be replaced, especially if it’s over 20 years old .
Applying Roof Sealant: Roof sealant or silicone caulk can be used to seal small leaks. Thoroughly apply the sealant to the affected area using a caulk gun .
Emergency Cover: In case of an emergency, you can create a temporary cover for the leaking roof using plastic sheeting and 2 by 4s .