What Causes a Leaky Roof?

September 22nd, 2014

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There are many things that can cause a roof to leak, and it’s not always easy to detect both the source and cause of the leak. Even if you don’t have a leak, as a home owner, it’s a good idea to understand how leaks start so you can keep an eye on possible weak points and prevent a leak if possible. If you’re unsure, always call a professional to inspect your roof, as this can save you tons of money in the long run. 

Shingle and Flashing Details 

Torn or otherwise worn shingles are one of the most straightforward causes of roof leaks. When a shingle is missing or cracked, it allows water to enter. Other places water commonly enters a roof is wherever metal flashing is used to seal openings. Chimneys are notorious for leaking for this reason.  Improperly protected roof peaks, called valleys, and vent flashing that’s pulled away can also be common causes. 


Animals like rodents, woodpeckers, or squirrels can damage roofs when they either try to find a way into a dry attic or a place to hide acorns. 

Windows, Skylights and Other Openings 

Windows, skylights and doors are common areas for leaks to originate and sometimes even ice can cause leaks when it melts then refreezes to form a dam, backing up water that can flow into the house.  

Once the water is inside the walls, it can travel along beams inside the walls or ceiling. This means that where the water shows up inside as a leak may not be where the leak originates at all. The compromised spot on the roof may be several feet or yards away. All this makes repairing a leaky roof a much more complicated project than most people think. Of course, some leaky roofs are a straightforward vertically dripping affair.  A roof repair professional can help you determine the cause and source of your roof leak, as well as completing a long term repair.