Roof leaks can be a real problem to fix but if they are left unattended they can cause major damage to your property. Fortunately, some roof leaks are relatively easy to predict, particularly if you live in an older property with a roof that has been in existence for a considerable period of time. The key to keeping the roof in good repair and free of leaks and thereby protecting the rest of your home is to identify those parts of the roof that are more likely to be susceptible to developing problems. Careful inspection of these areas enable you to take the necessary steps to achieve a cost effective solution to your roofing problems.
Leaks at Penetration Locations
Flashings and sealants at insertions through the membrane of the roof are typical problem areas. conventionally, in a single ply roof, the flashings that are designed to counter penetration are made from similar material as the membrane of the roof and are connected to the membrane. Regular inspection of the laps, seams and sealants that exist in the vicinity of these points on a regular basis is highly advisable. Drains from the roof, through penetration of the roof’s membrane, can be especially problematic as a consequence of rainfall flowing over the seal of the drain. Therefore, any drains ought to be sufficiently large to manage significant rainfall and should, for additional protection, have a shield to prevent any debris from flowing down the pipe. The drain should be regularly inspected and, if necessary, cleaned to avoid blockages and the installation of drain sumps gives extra protection.
Perimeter Roof Leaks
Leaks frequently present themselves around the edge of the roof as a consequence of the changeover from the flexible roof membrane flashings to the less pliable metal flashings. Roofers should take care to make sure that the sheet metal laps are able to effectively shed any fluid and, of course, the sealants at these points should also be inspected on a regular basis.
Another location on the perimeter of the roof that is likely to be the cause of a roof leak is close to the expansion joints. Once again, this problem can be countered by regular inspection of the area in question and, if any early signs of a breach are apparent, by taking the necessary remedial action. As is almost invariably the case with roof leaks, prevention is better (and far less expensive) than cure.
Condensation Roof Leaks
Occasionally, a roof may seem to be leaking during the winter months especially when the temperature falls below freezing point. However, this may not actually be a leak. Rather, the cause may well be condensation. This condensation occurs as a consequence of the warmer and more moist air that is circulating within the house coming into contact with cooler exterior surfaces. It may also occur as a result of the leakage of cool air through the external skin of the house. The cause of this is likely to be the lack of (or breakdown of) any air barrier or, more frequently, insufficient insulation or ventilation in the house. It is essential to ensure that their is adequate venting of joist cavities and loft spaces. If natural ventilation cannot be achieved the simple introduction of a fan to move the moister air about is a reasonable inexpensive alternative.
There are, of course, other areas where the roof of a property is likely to break down and we have considered some of these in other articles on this blog. Having the roof reviewed on a regular basis by a team of professional roofers will go a long way towards guarding against the inconvenience and cost that is closely associated with a leaking roof.