How to Properly Navigate a Roof Leak

Photo by Jack Price-Burns on Unsplash

While green building has been mandatory in Singapore since 2008, new developments including plant life in the form of green roofs are on the rise. However, for homeowners who have traditional roofs, diagnosing and mending a leak can seem like a difficult task, especially if you’re not familiar with the matter. From why mending a leak as soon as possible is imperative to your options when it comes to fixing the problem — as well as when you should replace your roof altogether, here’s what you need to know.

The importance of finding the problem

While you should have your roof inspected regularly each year, noticing a leak may be cause for concern. However, while it might sound like common sense, determining the source of a household leak might not be all so simple, and what may be a plumbing issue can be mistaken for a roof leak — hence the importance of determining the source of the leak before doing anything else. As far as time is concerned, it’s imperative to do this as soon as possible, as leaving it unattended can cause water damage and can later lead to mold. 

After determining the source of the leak and ensuring that it is coming from the roof, it’s important to find a temporary solution until you can figure out your next steps in order to prevent any additional damage from being done. Thankfully, this can easily be done by safely getting on top of the roof and determining the area that’s leaking, and putting a tarp over it. While it’s certainly not a long term fix, it can be a great solution in keeping out any elements in the meantime — especially if you’re expecting rainy weather.

Choosing the right solution for you

After putting a temporary solution to the problem, it’s important to weigh your options for solutions, though the specific solution will largely depend on your roof’s material (for example, a shingled roof may just involve removing the damage and replacing it with new shingles), deciding whether or not to hire a professional is also a consideration. While any roof leaks can be mended by yourself or with the help of a friend — and at a significantly lower cost — it’s important to realize that roof work is often labor intensive and can be dangerous if you don’t possess the right skill set or experience. If that’s the case, or you’re simply not comfortable with mending the roof, it’s important to get a professional involved, which either a roofing company or a general contractor can do.

Determining the source of the leak

After fixing your roof’s leak, knowing why it happened in the first place is essential in preventing another instance. While some roof leaks may be due to damage from strong weather, others may be thanks to an old roof that simply needs to be replaced. In order to determine that, identifying telltale factors such as missing, cracked, or curling shingles (if a shingled roof is what you happen to have), as well as the age of the roof itself, can help you determine if you need to replace the roof altogether. 

According to Claude McGavic, executive director of The National Association of Home Inspectors, an asphalt shingle roof should last between an impressive 20 and 30 years. If it's time to replace yours, considering the benefits of different materials is a fantastic way to choose a roof that’s right for your needs. For example, rolled roofing is both quick to install and cost effective, making it a great choice if you’re looking for something easy labor wise. On the other hand, metal shingles last between 30 and 50 years, proving to be an advantage over traditional asphalt. 

Discovering a leaky roof might sound like a disaster in the making, though there are a few ways to go about the issue in a proper manner. From finding a temporary solution to considering involving a professional to determining the source of the leak, navigating the issue properly can save your home from any additional damage, and can help you to do the best thing regarding your situation.

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