Repairing My Roof

Three Reasons Your Roof Is Leaking

When properly installed and maintained, a roof can last for up to 50 years, depending on the material. That's why it can be upsetting when your roof starts leaking, especially if it's fairly young. Here are three reasons why your roof may suddenly be letting water into your establishment and what you can do to fix the problem.

Improper Slope

When a roof is installed, it must be sloped properly to allow rain and snow to roll of the sides and onto the ground. Even a flat roof must be tilted slightly to direct water to a drain where it is then carried away. If the roof is not sloped the right way, a couple of things can happen.

First, the wind may force water underneath the shingles, particularly if those shingles are loose. The water eventually damages the material underneath, leading to rotting and eventually holes that let water leak inside the building. Second, with flat roofs, the water may pond in areas rather than draining away correctly. Over time, this can cause roofing materials to degrade faster and result in weak spots that break and leak.

Curing an improper slope is a job for a professional and will typically involve redoing the roof. If you don't have money, another option is to have the roof replace and reinforce the damaged areas and stay on top of the maintenance until you an afford to get the problem permanently fixed.

Clogged Gutters

A common cause of roof leaks are clogged gutters. No only does clogged gutters slow down how faster water is removed from the roof, allowing it to sit for longer than necessary, it can also cause debris to accumulate on the surface. Leaves, paper, and other environmental garbage that find its way onto your roof may absorb water and allow it to seep underneath the shingles via capillary action, leading to damage to the materials the shingles are sitting on top of.

It's important to inspect and clean your gutters on a regular basis to ensure water can flow unfettered to the downspout and out to the ground. Additionally, you should remove debris from your roof whenever you notice it's there. If there are trees around your facility, keeping them trimmed or removing them altogether may help minimize this issue.

Damaged Flashing and Vents

Flashing is used to prevent moisture, animals, and debris from entering the facility through seams and other areas where there are openings in the roof. For instance, flashing is typically placed around skylights and roof transitions. This flashing is generally made from metal. Although metal is very sturdy, it can become rusty and damaged over time due to the environmental elements.

Along those same lines, roof vents are installed to ensure the attic space is properly ventilated to prevent problems such as ice dams. If the vents weren't properly sealed or developed cracks and gaps over time, then they may let water seep into your facility.

The best way to avoid these problem is to inspect the flashing and vents at least once per year. Most of the time, you won't even have to get on the roof to do this. A good pair of binoculars should let you observe all you need to from the ground. You can also usually check vents by crawling into the attic if that space is accessible.

Flashing is fairly easy to replace and can usually be done by yourself or your maintenance staff. However, your vents may need to be replaced or repaired by a professional, especially if they're severely damaged.

For more information about these or other issues that could be causing your roof to leak, contact a local commercial roofing contractor.