From expensive water damage to mold and mildew infestation, roof leaks can threaten your home in several ways. One of the most difficult parts of dealing with a roof leak is hunting down where the leak is coming from. If you have a leaky roof and are looking for the source, you should know that a few specific areas on your roof are where leaks are most likely to occur.

1. Chimneys

Chimneys are usually responsible for the largest opening in any roof, so you have great potential for a leak around your chimney if something goes wrong. Chimneys can start leaking in many ways, but one of the most common is damaged flashing where the chimney meets the roof. Flashings are metal strips around the base of chimneys and other roof penetrations to prevent leaks.

If the flashing around your chimney is in good shape, the next cause to consider is a crack in the masonry of the chimney. Cracks between bricks or in the bricks themselves can allow water to seep through and enter your home.

This type of leak is usually a slow trickle and will be most significant inside of your fireplace. Since water has leaked directly into the chimney, you may not see water stains or other signs of damage on your walls and ceiling.

2. Skylights

Skylights are an attractive way to let natural light into your home’s interior, but they also bring the potential for roof leaks. Skylights will usually leak when the caulk or flashing around the inside or outside edges of the skylight have started to degrade. This will often result in water stains running along your ceiling from the edges of the skylight.

In some cases, your skylight may leak due to direct damage to the glass. Hail, falling branches, and other impacts can cause hairline cracks in your skylight glass. In this case, you will often see water pooling on the glass as it slowly drips through the crack. However, you need to determine whether this is really a leak due to damaged glass or simply condensation buildup on the skylight.

3. Vent Pipes

Like chimneys, vent pipes have flashing where they meet your roof to prevent water from leaking through. Many vent pipes also have a rubber boot around the flashing for extra protection against leaks. Caulking around your vent pipes can temporarily stop leaks, but replacing the boot and flashing is usually required for long-term repair.

If your home has metal vent pipes, rust and corrosion are other possible causes for leaks. In some cases, plastic vent pipes will still have a metal collar around the base that can collect water and rust. Metal pipes will also expand in the heat of the day and contract at night, and this subtle movement can loosen nails and seams around the pipe that need replacing.

4. Missing Shingles

Missing shingles are the characteristic sign that your roof is in need of repair. Depending on where it’s located, even one missing shingle can sometimes be enough to allow water to leak through your roof. Shingles are staggered to cover the seams of adjacent shingles in layers, so a broken or missing shingle above a seam can allow water to leak through.

Missing shingles also increase your risk of roof leaks by causing the shingles around them to deteriorate more quickly. Even if it is not over a seam, a missing shingle can pool water and expose adjacent shingles to water indefinitely until they wear away. Repairing any missing shingles as soon as possible is essential to prevent roof leaks.

If you understand where your roof is most likely to leak, finding and repairing leaks in the future will be easier. Keep these tips in mind, and contact us at Empire Roofing and Restoration for all of your home’s roofing needs!