9+ Mistakes That Lead To Roof Leaks- (What To Avoid)
As a professional roofer, I often advise my clients to repair, inspect, maintain and replace their roofs on time. Neglecting any of these four things can affect your roof in the long run. However, these are not the only factors that cause leaks and damage to the roofing system.
Things like screwing/drilling the roof, sweeping it, using the wrong cleaning products, coating the roof with unnecessary liquid chemicals, pressure washing, etc. can also lead to leaks and long-term damage.
In this article I have highlighted eight mistakes, homeowners unknowingly make that harm their roofing systems and causes roof leaks.
10 Mistakes That Lead To Roof Leaks And Other Damage.
Avoid doing these eight things to keep your roof safe.
Don’t Screw/Drill Through Your Roof Shingles.
An ordinary shingled roof has three main layers. The underlayment, the flashing and finally the shingles. There could be optional protective layers above the underlayment, to prevent ice and water damage in extreme weather.
However, shingles are the topmost layer of our roof. They are designed to protect the inner layers of our roofing system. They could be compared to a shell, that protects the tender and vulnerable parts inside.
When we screw or drill accessories like satellite dishes, antennas, solar panels, anchor points for flag poles of clotheslines, CCTV cameras, etc. We make holes in the shingles, and willingly damage the most protective layer of our roof.
People often seal these holes with a sealant. But this is not a permanent fix. Whenever there is a hole in the shingle it is bound to leak, now or later.
Installers often sell specific accessories to steer the water away from these penetrations. But, no amount of caulking can prevent leakage in the long run.
It’s best to avoid drilling or nailing your roof.
Don’t Apply Coatings Over Your Shingles. (Mistakes That Lead To Roof Leaks)
Painting your shingles to transform the look of your roof, may seem like an interesting prospect. However, roll-on coatings do more damage to your roof than good.
When you paint your shingles, the natural moisture within the shingles and the ply gets trapped. This moisture destroys your roof quicker than any external element, as it does not find an exit.
Worst yet, if water somehow manages to get through the coating, it won’t find its way out. This will lead to leaks, as the only way out will be through your ceiling.
Don’t Broom/ Sweep Your Roof. (Mistakes That Lead To Roof Leaks)
If the rooftop is easily accessible, homeowners tend to sweep their roofs with a broom. This is an easy way to get rid of dried leaves, twigs, animal droppings and dirt. Without a maintenance crew.
But, did you know that sweeping your roof knocks off the coloured granules from the shingles? These granules are barely embedded in the shingles. They are meant to withstand the elements, not a broom.
When a roof is swept, the tar/bitumen is exposed to the U.V. rays, due to the lack of protective granules.
This speeds up the wear and tear of the roof, leading to an early roof replacement.
Don’t Pressure Wash Your Roof.
Pressure washing is a great method to clean your roof. However, it is not suitable for certain types of roofs. Especially, shingled roofs.
Sweeping the roof and pressure washing it has the same effect on the protective, coloured granules.
Pressure washing at any psi will surely leave your granules in the gutters.
Instead, consult an experienced and reliable roofer on how to best clean your roof.
Don’t Use Cleaning Products On Your Roof.
Chemical cleaning seems to be the last resort if your roof is infested with algae, moss or other similar vegetation.
Bleach is the most common chemical roof cleanser and is often used by homeowners, to clean their roofs. However, before exposing your roof to any chemical cleanser, make sure it is suitable for your roof.
For an instance, if your roof is made up of tar, you need to be extra careful while picking a chemical cleaning agent. As a lot of cleaning chemicals do not react well with tar. Some of these will immediately eat away at your roof and compromise it and perhaps your warranty too.
Moreover, each chemical cleanser comes with a set of instructions. The chemical needs to be diluted to a certain proportion before use. You cannot leave the chemical solution for longer than necessary. Or else it will decompose your roof. Rinse your roof with water after the process is complete.
If you are confused about chemical cleansing it’s best to consult a roofing professional. And if you do not know which cleaning method is best for your roof, check out How To Clean Roof Tiles? (Easy Step-By-Step Guide)
Don’t Attach Things That Will Blow Away On Your Roof.
If you have extreme climates and often face hurricanes, rainstorms or windstorms. Attaching objects to your roof will only make your roof an easy target for the speedy winds.
When a storm hits, the wind above your roof flows faster than the air inside. This creates low pressure above the roof, which thrusts the roof upwards. Which eventually blows away.
When you attach objects to your roof, these things are blown away by the wind first. Take the adjoint shingles or tiles with them. This may create a hole in your roof, and be a hazard for anyone below.
Don’t Place Objects Directly On Your Flat Roof Surface.
Roofs are designed to protect us from the elements, and not be treated as a store room. If you have a flat roof or a low-sloped roof, which is accessible. Do not keep things on it.
These things may not blow away but surely be affected by the sun and other elements. When the sun’s rays reach the object. It heats up and slowly slides off the roof either pulling the shingles or taking the granules with it.
This again exposes the bitumen/tar, leading to an early roof replacement.
Don’t Walk on your roof.
We always advise our clients against walking on the roof. Not because the roof is incapable of supporting your weight. But because it is unsafe for you to walk on your roof.
Moreover, not all roofing materials are flexible. Asphalt shingles are durable and do not crack under stress. Whereas terra cotta or clay tiled roofs are rigid and break easily.
Our home is built with structural integrity to support our weights. But a roof is not constructed similarly. You may not fall through your roof. But an old and undermaintained roof may have several damaged spots, which may be on the verge of giving away.
When it comes to getting over your roof call a professional to do the job.
Don’t invite animals to your roof. (Mistakes That Lead To Roof Leaks)
Animals are an essential part of our ecosystem. And if your home is surrounded by trees, you may be frequently visited by a few.
The internet and social media promote feeding animals. However, inviting them to your roof is equal to inviting roofing problems.
Leaving food over your roof encourages animals and birds to visit you regularly. They may not only eat and excrete on your roof. But also, will nest, chew or make a home in the structure of your roofing system or your attic.
Don’t Let your drain screens clog. (Mistakes That Lead To Roof Leaks)
Drain screens get easily clogged. However, it is necessary to unclog them from time to time.
If drains remain clogged, they stop the downward water flow during rains and ice melts. This adds excessive weight to the roof.
If a roof is new or in good condition, it can handle this weight. However, an aged roof may find it difficult to withstand such additional stress. It can severely damage or even collapse.
Roofing systems need care just as much as any other thing in your home. I hope this information helps you to learn the causes of roof leaks and take care of your roof better. If you wish to know more about sloped shingled roofs check out 9 Common Issues Causing Leaks On A Sloped Shingle Roof.
If you still have questions or if you would like to add to the topic please comment below. Also, call us anytime if you need an experienced roofing team.
LeakStop is a one-stop destination to meet your roofing-related requirements. We offer roof repair, replacement, maintenance and inspection services all over GVRD (Greater Vancouver Regional District).
We offer a free inspection to first-time clients. Connect with us TODAY at 1 866 777 0084 for immediate assistance!