A leaky roof can quickly escalate from an inconvenience to a major problem needing urgent repairs. While water dripping from your ceiling is an evident sign of a roof leak, it’s also possible that water is pooling out of sight.
A roof must be structurally sound and in good condition to protect a building and its occupants. To ensure that it stays that way, enlist water damage restoration professionals to stop the leaks and conduct all the necessary repairs. But first, it helps to know what to look for to make that call to a trusted water damage repair company.
Common Causes of a Roof Leak
It’s easier to spot signs of a leaky roof when you’re aware of the circumstances that can lead to them.
Water damage that starts from the roof is usually because a defect in the roofing material has allowed rainwater and condensation to penetrate. These defects include broken or warped shingles, cracked flashings, cracked chimneys, and rotten or clogged gutters. Unfortunately, repairs done by inexperienced teams can also lead to roof leaks: if they use the wrong kinds of nails to hold the roofing materials, water can enter the roof through the punctures.
Another possible cause of roof leaks could be ice dams that form in winter. Instead of allowing water to flow from the roof, the ice collects rainwater and snowmelt, letting the water pool long enough until it seeps through the roof system’s gaps, cracks, and seams.
If you know that your roof has some loose shingles or if you see thick ice forming where your gutters are and along the edges of your roof, consider them warning signs that water might be getting into your roof.
Five Types of Roof Water Damage
Leaks that are left unchecked or are detected too late can cause the following damage to your home:
- Discolored or deteriorating ceilings – The ceiling is the part of the roof that separates the interior of your home from the underside of the outer roof structure. It is usually made of wood, which means it gets saturated when water leaks from the roof. Although ceilings dry out when the rain gives way to a sunny day, the frequent wet-dry cycle will deteriorate the wood much faster. The sections that often get wet soon become discolored and warped and will quickly rot. Because they are vulnerable to water damage, ceilings are often part of water damage restoration projects.
- Damaged insulation – If leaks from the roof don’t end up on the ceiling, they drip down the walls and can saturate the insulation between the drywall. Spray foam, loose-fill, and batt insulation are especially problematic when they get wet. They are porous, so it takes a long time to dry entirely without fans (which can happen if the leak goes undetected for a while).
- Stained walls – If the insulation stays damp long enough, the moisture will eventually leave water stains on the visible side of the drywall. Water damage is most visible on wood, and like ceiling damage, water-damaged walls will have distinctive discoloration, warping, and structural deterioration.
- Mold and mildew – There are many good reasons why water mitigation is the first step in water damage repair, and one of them is to prevent microbial growth leading to mold and mildew infestation. Mold spores thrive in wet and damp environments and can grow as quickly as 72 hours. As mentioned above, wet insulation is an ideal breeding ground for microbial growth because the porous material stays damp long enough for the mold to take root. Of course, mold and mildew can also proliferate out in the open, like in dark, damp corners in the basement and even on glass windows where condensation frequently occurs.
- Structural damage – When it comes to roof water damage, there’s always the chance that the water has also penetrated the building’s roof structure, load-bearing walls, and even the foundation. Repeated and prolonged exposure to rainwater can destroy the soffit and fascia – the vertical and horizontal exterior boards that seal the gaps between the roof and the walls – and weaken the entire roof structure. The same goes for the wooden components of the interior walls. Water seeping into the foundation can also soften and erode the surrounding soil, causing cracks and severe structural damage due to uneven pressure distribution. This is why prompt action is necessary when dealing with roof leaks.
What to Do When Your Roof Is Leaking
Since the consequences of water damage can be severe in some cases, it’s important to act quickly when you discover that your roof is leaking. It can be distressing to discover a leak in your roof, but fortunately, there are some steps you can take to help minimize any further damage:
- Keep the water from spreading more in your home. Use buckets to catch the drips and avoid damaging your floor as well. If the leak flows along your walls, find the source of the leaks and plug them as best you can.
- Call your insurance company. They’ll want to assess the damage to evaluate what repairs can be covered by your insurance policy.
- Clear out the affected areas and make sure your soaked belongings get completely dry before taking them back inside.
- If the water is dirty, remove porous materials that are very hard to dry, like pillows, padded chairs, shaggy rugs, etc. Alternatively, you can have these items washed and disinfected by professional cleaners.
- If part of your roof gives out, cover up the hole with a tarp to prevent more water from entering the building in case it rains.
- Consult a water damage restoration company on what repairs you need to do and how to prioritize them if you have a limited budget.
Protect Your Home from Water Damage Due to Roof Leaks
If you have a leaky roof and believe your property might conceal extensive water damage, don’t hesitate to call Restoration 1 of Metro Detroit.
Our licensed crew can restore your home to its original appearance and integrity. We also offer other relevant services, like flood damage cleanup, storm cleanup, and water extraction. It doesn’t matter how slight or extensive the damage is, the water mitigation experts at Restoration 1 of Metro Detroit can handle it for you.