There are all kinds of signs that are indicative of actual and potential roof leaks, some of which become evident long after water has started entering the structure and others that can provide warnings before breaches in the roofing system occur. Generally speaking, the later stage signs will exist on the interior of the structure and include relatively subtle warnings such as water stains and musty/mildewy odors, as well as the ones that can’t be ignored such as water dripping or pouring through the ceiling.
Rather than waiting for signs of a roof leak to become apparent on the inside of the structure, the best way to protect your property is to take a proactive stance that starts with regular inspections of the exterior aspects of the roof. Here are some of the warning signs that may call for proactive measures to prevent future leaks:
- Pooled water – Whether the incline of the roof is steep or flat, pooled water most often indicates that drainage is being blocked, either by leaves or other objects lodged in the gutters and downspouts or the formation of ice along the eaves of the structure. Pooled water that sits long enough can start processes of deterioration in a number of ways including backing up under shingles to break down adhesives, rotting roofing materials, and adding to the weight that the structure must bear. While you may be able to dislodge an obstruction in a gutter, defer to a roofing professional if pooled water is the result of an ice dam.
- Bubbling under the roof cover – The bubbles under a roof cover may be indicative of water that has found entry through a leak in the surface or air that that has been trapped after escaping the interior of the structure through the roof deck. In either case, these types of separations are indicative of an issue that should be handled quickly due to the diminished capacity of the roof cover system to protect the structure.
- Damaged flashing – Flashing is used to prevent leaks in a variety of areas on the roof including its installation around protrusions through the deck such as vents and climate control systems as well as on the perimeter of the roof where it meets the cover. Damaged flashing can result in leaks but can make a roof cover vulnerable to lifting off of the deck in extreme weather and/or high wind events. Flashing should be inspected on a regular basis and after extreme weather events to facilitate fast repairs.
While flat and low-incline roofs can be inspected without bringing in the professionals, as the degree of roof slopes increase they also become more hazardous. Icy roofs also present a variety of dangers, so call a professional roofing company for inspections on steep roofs or for the removal of an ice dam that has formed on the eaves.