Contrary to what you might think, a roof leak is not always caused by missing or damaged shingles. In fact, most of the time when a roof is leaking, the shingles will appear to be just fine! Here's a look at some more common causes you should consider when water starts trickling in from above.
Cracked or Damaged Flashing
Flashing is sheets of metal that are fitted around chimneys and into joints in your roof. If the flashing becomes damaged, water can seep in underneath it and ultimately leak into your home. Flashing damage can range from rust to cracks in the metal and peeling of the flashing away from the home. You can fix small spots of damage by applying a coat of roofing sealant over the damaged area. (Follow package instructions on the roofing sealant). However, if the damage is over a larger area of the flashing – for instance if a crack runs through the entire piece of flashing – you may want to have your roofing company replace the flashing entirely.
Gutters are supposed to direct water off of the roof so it does not pool. If they don't work properly, water may accumulate on the roof in stagnant pools. And a pool of water can slowly seep through tiny cracks and nail holes. Climb up onto a ladder and check to ensure there's no debris like leaves or dirt clogging your gutters. If you spot debris, scoop it out. Check to make sure your downspouts are working by pouring water into your gutter and watching to make sure it runs out the downspout. If the downspout itself is clogged, you can remove it and use a long wire, broom handle, or similar item to push the debris through it.
A Poorly Sealed Skylight
If you have a skylight and your roof is leaking anywhere near where the skylight is installed, you can bet the skylight is the issue. The water won't always come in right by the skylight. It may trickle down a support beam and then leak into your home a few feet away. Skylights need to be carefully installed in order to prevent water from leaking in around them. If your roofing contractor did not seal the skylight properly – or if they did not install wide enough flashing – this could be letting water seep through. If your skylight is older, the leak is a sign it's time to have it inspected and re-sealed.
If your roof is leaking, don't just assume it's the shingles. Often, the flashing, gutters, or skylight are to blame. For more information, contact a professional in your area or visit a website like http://www.kcmetroroofer.com.