Roof leaks are one of the most costly problems you may incur. There are countless causes of roof leaks but it is not so easy to discovery what causes your roof to leak. The surest way to solve a roof leak is to replace the entire roof. If you have recently purchased a home and now find that it has roof leaks, you probably had no idea the new home you were purchasing had a leaking roof. You may want to go back and look for signs that the previous owner may not have disclosed and that your inspector did not discover during their inspection.
To inspect for roof leaks, you should first look in the attic space. Try and determine where the water begins entering the attic. Signs of a roof leak are water stains on the underside of the decking and along rafters. Once you spot signs of a leaking roof in the decking and or rafters, try to follow the water stains and don’t forget to look down. Has the paper on the insulation in the attic become molded, darker or brittle? These can be signs that the roof leaks are reaching the insulation. Pull back the insulation and check the sheetrock/ceiling and see if there are water stains present.
If a home seller is trying to cover up roof leaks, they will usually patch and paint prior to selling the house. If water stains appear on ceilings in the living spaces of the house, the other side of that ceiling material in the attic will also have water stains from the roof leaks.
The most common places for leaks to occur are around vent pipes, chimneys or any other protrusion in the roof. Some roof leaks can be repaired without completely replacing the roof. Other more problematic roof leaks may require more extensive measures like replacing the roof.
Roof leaks in new construction or newly built homes occur quite frequently. When a roof leaks in a brand new house, it can be the result of poor construction or a bad design. Roof leaks in new construction usually are found in hips and valleys of the roof where the builder did not construct the roof structure properly. Another cause of roof leaks in new houses is inadequate or faulty flashing. Obviously, the roof penetrations like plumbing vents and chimneys are also possible suspects.