Blog » What Causes A Roof Leak?

There’s no doubt that leaks can be tricky to pinpoint, but pair that with the unknown of what’s happening on the roof and you’re probably in a puzzling situation. Perhaps you want to troubleshoot the source of the leak. While we don’t recommend you get on the roof yourself, you can inspect the interior of your home for signs that indicate where the problem is rooted. However, more often than not, the problem is clear as day—way up on the roof.

We’ve talked before about identifying ceiling leaks and how to temporarily relieve the situation while waiting for a professional to take over.  But what’s the real problem?  There are several diagnoses for a leaking roof.  Here are some of the most common ones...

A Failed Pipe Collar

It’s pretty typical for the cause to be a failed pipe collar.  The pipe collar is the vent pipe that protrudes out of your roof. It’s made of a metal base and rubber boot which functions as a seal between the pipe and your roof to keep water out of your home.  It’s not uncommon for the rubber material to wear and lose its strength.  Fortunately, a failed pipe collar is not a complex or expensive fix.  A professional roofing contractor can easily patch it with caulking or replace the damaged vent.

There Is A Ridge Vent Leak

The ridge vent that runs along your roof’s peak is a common place for leaks to develop.  The ridge vent functions as part of the attic ventilation system and allows hot, humid air to escape from your home.   Oftentimes the problem isn’t with the vent itself, rather the nails used to install it.  The correct way to install a ridge vent is with 3” nails.  Too frequently, we see nails that aren’t long enough—sometimes half the length of what’s recommended.  Nails that are too short don’t fasten properly to the decking and even the slightest bit of inclement weather can lift the nails (and the ridge vent) right off.  Not only does this affect the attic ventilation system, but you now have water reaching the wood components of your roof.

Leaks In Your Skylight Flashings

While skylights add to the appearance of your roofing system, they can be a common source for leaks. Skylights may start leaking due to improper installation, but damaged seals or flashings can also be the culprit.  

Note: It’s easy to mistake condensation that has built up for a leak.  There is a difference!  

Depending on your climate, and recent weather conditions, condensation can accumulate on the underside of the glass.  An actual leak from the skylight will be noticeable during periods of rain, ice or snow. This suggests the flashings are not creating an impermeable seal as they should.

Faulty Chimney Cricket Seals

Chimneys are another location where leaks can originate.  If it’s not fully sealed, or has a faulty seal, water will collect around the chimney and eventually leak into your home.  Unless your chimney is positioned at your roof’s peak, it should have a metal, triangle-shaped cover, called a cricket.  The cricket is placed on the high side of the chimney where the stack joins the roof.  Damaged crickets can cause water to pool at the base of the chimney.  If your chimney isn’t outfitted with a cricket, it’s highly likely that the water in your fireplace is a direct result.  

Leaks From Nail Holes

Nail holes in a roof are the result of two things—nails that have pulled out from the shingles over time, and nails that were never caulked or properly sealed during installation.  In either case, the holes can eventually allow water in through the roof.  It’s also possible if you have an antenna or satellite dish mounted to the roof.  This is a likely place for a leak to start.  Remember that fastening these devices to your roofing system can affect, if not void, manufacturer’s warranty.

Trust in roofing repair experts

If there’s one thing you should know about your home’s roofing system, it’s that a variety of factors can cause leaks.  Don’t try to troubleshoot a leak from the roof.  Whether it’s the result of faulty vents, uncaulked nails or a greater issue with roofing system installation, you can count on our team of experienced professionals to locate and repair any issue.  Contact PRS Roofing & Siding to schedule an on-site consultation and estimate today.