What causes a roof to leak – and what can you do about it?

27 Jan

The roof is an essential part any house. It not only protects you and your belongings but it can also add, or detract, from the value of your home. So when your roof starts leaking and is in need of some roof repairs, it is important to know the cause and the best course of action.

For the most part, weathering and lack of proper maintenance are the main culprits for roof leaks. The best way of preventing a leak is to ensure you keep your roof well maintained; this will not only halt the effect of weathering but save you time and money in the long term. Flat roofing is especially prone to leakages – ensure the material you are thinking of using for your flat roof is appropriate for your home, but do be prepared that no matter what kind of roofing it is, weathering will have an effect over the years. On top of all this, any additions to your roof – such as antennas, flag poles or any kind of equipment – will obviously compromise the roofing. Whether you’ve been using the services of a roofer in Birmingham or a roofer in Bristol, here an easy solution is to avoid mounting them on your rooftop in the first place and affixing them to a support structure instead.

More specifically, leakages can arise when problems with the flashing occur. Flashing is the seal between the roofing material and the other parts of the roof’s structure. If your roof is leaking, the flashing is the first place to check for signs of wear and tear. Its purpose is to be watertight and, understandably, if there is a fault with the flashing, leaks are more likely and can become quite serious. When it comes to roofing, the drain flashing is important and drain flashing problems can be caused by a number of things, including debris in the drainage system and too few drains being used. Of course, if the water cannot escape via the drains, then leaks will occur.

So what can be done to minimise damage to your home when your roof is leaking? Firstly, you should protect the interior of the house. Plastic sheets and buckets will help catch the water and protect your home. Of course, the next step is to locate the source of the leak. Check the flashing, the state of the roof and whether there any obvious sources for the leak. It may also be helpful to inspect the flashing around the chimney as this can be especially prone to problems. The drains are the next place to check – once you have located the problem you can begin to fix the roofing and stop the leak.

Now you know what can cause roofing to leak, you should regularly inspect your roof and maintain it properly. Weathering is of course something that cannot be avoided, but particularly in the case of flat roofing, you should carefully research the best kind of material to use for maximum protection against the elements.  It is perfectly possible to attempt to fix the leak yourself, but consulting a professional roofer is always recommended for something so essential to your home.

The author’s background: Tony Mallory runs a firm of roofers in Manchester and has experience with virtually all kinds of roofing material.

One Response to “What causes a roof to leak – and what can you do about it?”

  1. Aireborough Skip Hire July 25, 2012 at 9:15 am #

    I wish I could find someone to fix the leak on my roof. Why is it that all the tradesmen I seem to find leave me in a worse position than I was before

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