Northeast Property Restoration

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9 causes of roof leaks

9 Causes of Roof Leaks

Have you noticed water stains or paint bubbling on ceilings or walls? The cause is most definitely a roof leak. Roof leaks can cause mold growth, rot framing and sheathing, destroy insulation and damage ceilings. If the issue is not dealt with and repaired right away the cost can be tremendous.

How to Find the Source of the Leak?

  1. Check your Attic: Bring a flashlight with you to check for staining, water, or mold.

  2. Check the Roof: If access is limited to your attic you will need to examine your roof. Look for holes or small crevasses on shingles, around plumbing, roof vents, skylights, and chimneys.

Can't Find the Leak?

Perform a Water Check: A water check should be done during dry weather and during the day. Do not attempt if there is ice, snow, or rain on the roof.

  1. Have someone to help you

  2. One person would get on the roof with a hose taking extreme safety precautions. Do not attempt if you have never been on a roof. Please hire someone if needed.

  3. The other person goes into the attic with a flashlight watching the roof carefully.

  4. The one on the roof floods the roof with the hose, starting at the bottom and slowly working up the roof until water from the leak appears in the attic.

  5. Once the leak is discovered push a nail up through the hole to mark its location and mark the surface of the roof with chalk.

  6. Repair the roof.

If you do not feel comfortable going onto your roof, hire a professional. Roofs can be dangerous. If you do not have the proper tools and experience please avoid

What Can You Do ?

9 causes of roof leaks

Temporary Fix Exterior Roof

  1. Purchase a piece of sheet metal flashing.

  2. Slip the sheet metal up under the damaged shingle and push it up underneath the shingle so it covers the hole.

  3. Secure a tarp on top of the roof.

Temporary Fix Interior Roof

  1. Grab a bucket or any other container and place it under the drip or the suspicious site.

Do Not Wait

It is very important to act quickly. Many homeowners will notice a stain or bubbling on their ceiling and/or walls and ignore the issue. However, avoidance will further the damage.

A roof should be inspected twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. If you keep up with inspections you can avoid the causes of roof leaks.

Don't Turn on the Heat just Yet!

1. Cracked Flashing: Flashing are thin pieces of metal that are installed under shingles and on the ­joints of your roof in order to create a water-resistant barrier, which can be concealed or exposed.

Why It Happens: The seal around the flashing can corrode over time. If the flashing is exposed creating a crack or crevasse outdoor elements like rain can make its way in. 

Broken Shingles

2. Broken Shingles: Shingles are the exterior layer of a roof. Identifying a missing or missing shingles by seeing is easy, just look for different-colored patches on your roof or shingles on the ground.

Why It Happens: High winds and heavy rains can break the shingles or tear them from the roof.

9 causes of roof leaks

3. Valleys Are Not Sealed Properly: An area where two planes of roof come together. If the seal wasn’t correctly placed, rainwater can get inside. You can detect a problem by looking for wet spots by the seams.

Why It Happens: The seal may not have been done properly. Also the valleys could have cracked from being stepped on or weather elements like rain and ice can cause the seal to corrode.

Vent Booking Cracked

4. Vent Booking Cracked: Roof vents are pipes that stick out of the rook. They help relieve the moisture from the attic below. Water leaks from this area may put off a musty smell.

Why It Happens: Roof vents are sealed with flashing of a rubber seal. These can decay over a period of time.


5. Clogged Gutters: Leaves, twigs, and other debris can fall into the gutters and potentially clog them.

Why It Happens: When gutters are clogged they can block the water from flowing down them. This water can then pool up and overflow into the siding or down next to the base of your foundation. Clean your gutters out regularly to avoid issues.

Ice Dams

9 causes of roof leaks

6. Ice Dams: An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof.

Why It Happens: This ridge stops the water from flowing off the roof. The water than can get in through the shingles. The ice could also weigh down the roof.

7. Cracked Chimney: Cracks and eroding seal can be seen around the top of the chimney.

Why It Happens: Materials to seal the chimney can erode over time due to weather conditions.

Skylight Improperly Installed

8. Skylight Improperly Installed: If you see stains or water leaks around the skylight the seal may be damaged or the skylight was installed incorrectly.

Why It Happens: Ill- fitted and skylights installed improperly can cause water to enter through an open seal.

9 causes of roof leaks

Attic Condensation

9 causes of roof leaks

9. Attic Condensation: Condensation can form on the wood within your attic.

Why It Happens: The attic holds in temperatures from inside and outside the property, thus creating moisture problems. Mold can then form due to ideal conditions.



At Northeast Property Restoration we have seen many properties with water damage or mold growth due to roof leaks. In Upstate NY and Northern PA, the weather can be very unpredictable. To avoid water damage from roof leaks have your roof inspected twice a year. If repairs need to be done, have them resolved as soon as possible, thus avoiding more damage and a costly expense.

Service Areas

Broome County, Tioga County, Tompkins County, Cortland County, Susquehanna County, Lakawanna County, Chenango County and more!

Relax, Restore, Resume Your Life

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