It can be relaxing to be cozy indoors while the rain beats down outside, at least until you notice a wet spot forming on the ceiling. A roof leak is a major concern. If left unaddressed, that small wet spot can become a hot spot for water damage. This damage includes mold, wood rot, and major structural damage over time. Before you can fix the leak, you have to find it. The following guide can help you learn about some of the most common areas of the roof that develop leaks.
The shingles are one of the easiest parts of the roof to check. Depending on your roof design, you may be able to inspect them from the ground or just from the top of the ladder—there's generally no reason to actually get on the roof. If any shingles are missing, damaged, or lifted up, water can get beneath them and can lead to leaks. A common cause of this is moss or debris on the roof getting stuck beneath a shingle and lifting it—remove the debris and the leak is fixed. For broken and damaged shingles, you may just need to replace them to fix the leak.
Pipes and appliances
There are multiple protuberances on your roof, including vent pipes, chimneys, and in some cases, HVAC systems. Each of these items actually pierces the roof. They are sealed to the roof around the base, generally with a combination of roofing caulk and metal flashing. Neither the caulk nor the flashing has the longevity of the surrounding shingles, which means it can degrade more quickly. If the caulk or flashing is cracked, peeling, or otherwise damaged, then having it replaced can prolong your roof's life and should stop the leak.
Hips and valleys
Where your roof joins at separate planes is called a hip or a valley, depending on whether it peaks up or down. The peaks are generally covered with a roof cap and aren't prone to leaks, unless wind tears off the cap. The valleys can be either shingled or covered in a strip of metal flashing. Water flows down these valleys and off the roof, which means they may experience much more moisture exposure than the rest of the roof. If the shingles become damaged or the flashing is aged and giving out, this can be the cause of a leak.
These aren't the only reasons for a leak, but they are the most common on newer roofs that should still have many years of service left in them. For more help, contact a company with roofing services near you.