A leaky roof can create an entry point for mold – a common allergen. Breathing in mold spores can aggravate asthma and other allergy symptoms. Symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, sore throat, and runny nose can be signs that mold is in your home, especially if more than one member of your household suffers the same symptoms. By identifying and repairing roof leaks, you'll not only prevent further water and mold damage to your home, you will be protecting your health and that of your family too.
How Water and Moisture Get Into Your Home
Mold growth occurs where there is moisture, and roof leaks give water an easy way into your home. Moisture can get in through the roof in other ways as well, as water from clogged rain gutters and spouts can back up and seep into the roof deck.
Even if your home has only a small roof leak, the damp air can cause condensation. If your attic or overhead crawl space has inadequate ventilation, poor air flow keeps moisture in that area from drying out as quickly.
Although mold can begin growing quickly, if you don't know it's there, it continues to grow, particularly if the area isn't properly ventilated. Neglecting to repair roof leaks allows water and moisture to keep getting into your home.
Eventually, mold can spread to the rafters supporting your home's roof. As it grows, mold can penetrate deep into the wood and weaken the beams over time, causing the roof to sag.
If you suspect you have a leaky roof that is letting moisture in:
Hire a professional roofing contractor to do a thorough inspection of your home's roof. Signs of a leaking roof may include cracks in the roof, water damage in the attic area, water stains on the ceilings or walls of your home, mildew odor, or wet and moldy insulation in the attic.
Have any roof leaks repaired. Take this step as soon as possible to prevent more water from getting in. If there are leaks in your roof, automatically check for signs of mold. Detecting even a small patch of mold in your home means there is enough moisture present for mold to grow. Chances are there is more mold growing somewhere in your home.
Clean any mold growth you discover from your rooftop. If it's only a small patch, it can be cleaned with a solution of water, bleach, and detergent. You may need to hire a professional roof cleaning contractor to clean away mold that you can't get to or that has spread beyond a few feet.
Treat mold on wooden beams. It may even be necessary to have a licensed contractor replace timber support beams or rafters structurally weakened or rotted by mold growth. Depending on the severity of the mold problem, you may need a mold remediation contractor to kill mold growth present in your home with a fungicide.
Dry out your attic. Use fans and a dehumidifier to help remove the moisture. Installing vents along your roof ridge and soffits will help ventilate your attic and keep humidity levels lower.
Go to sites like this one to learn more about dealing with leaky roofs.