Top 8 Reason Why You Have A Roof Leak

If you are reading this now, I’d hazard to guess you are experiencing a leak. And I’d hazard another guess that you’ve never been up on your roof. We’ll I’m going to take the mystery out of what’s up there. I used go up with a clipboard to scout a roof leak repair. Now it’s all by memory. And I’m going to tell you the areas I check for causes of a roof leak.

After this you’ll know enough to either check it out for yourself, or call a professional. Small jobs can be handled out-of-pocket. Larger ones you’ll need to see if you qualify for insurance coverage or if you are pinched, there are finance options available.

We are A1 Local Roofing, and we will service both residential and commercial needs in the Austin area.

This article was originally written sometime ago and posted for homeowners with questions. So after having “seen it all”, I’ve cobbled together a short list, eight reasons why you are calling a roofing contractor (me) to check out an emergency roof repair.

Here is an excerpt with a link to full article, starting with the first cause: age.


Here is my check list of areas I’ll look for issues:

Age of Roof
Exposed Fasteners
Installation Problems
Vulnerable Areas
Multiple Layers


Age of Roof

When a roof reaches the end of its life expectancy, they are prone to leakage. And most causes are obvious.


Today’s low level modern asphalt shingles are only manufactured to last roughly 15 years. Other materials that do not deteriorate as fast such as slate or clay tile roofs, can last over 100 years. A good example is a church in England that has a slate roof that is 1,200 years old!


If you’ve just bought a house, chances are that the roof may be as old as the house itself. If the house has had a new roof replaced since its original construction, it may have more than one layer if the contractor decided to lay the new over the old.


One trick to determine if there is more than one layer is to check in the attic for nail patterns. With asphalt shingles nails are placed 12 inches apart. Two nails will be close together every three feet. If the pattern you see doesn’t match this, it may indicate the old shingles were not removed prior to the new roof being installed. On the other hand, a lazy contractor may have just ripped up the original shingles while leaving the nails in. Just beware.



I will visually check the condition of the roof shingles. To me it’s more important to check the condition to determine how much more life remains than to base it on the age of the shingle alone.

When I look at the condition of the roof, I will know the typical signs of aging for the material. I can quickly sum up what has caused it to age and fail. The following are factors with many common roofing materials-


Exposure to ultraviolet light: This is generally an orientation question. Does the roof face north, south, east or west?


Color: Some believe that darker-colored asphalt shingles wear out before light tinted tiles. This may be dependent on climate. Hot typical summertime temperatures and long hours of direct sunlight, especially here in Texas, will have an impact.


Ventilation: Good ventilation assists in keeping the roofing system cool in the summer season, and timber shingles as an example, assist the tiles to dry after a rainfall. Poor ventilation could cause fast aging.


Exposure to winds: A residence situated in a seaside area or on top of a hill is exposed to different winds than one surrounded by high trees and various other residences in a fully grown community. High winds can trigger instant damage if roofing materials are torn off, or can affect the life span of the roof through the abrasive action of wind-driven rainfall, hailstorms, snow and also particles.


Pitch (incline): Usually, steeper roofs last much longer compared to shallow roofing systems. Water runs faster off roofs with more pitch and dries much faster.


Complexity: The more complex the roofing structure, the shorter the life expectancy. Roofs with many different changes in direction, many valleys, penetrations and or roof-mounted equipment will have a higher incidence of roof failure resulting in leaks.


Foot traffic: Roof coverings that have consistently heavy foot traffic will not last as long as other roofing systems. This is more of a concern for residential roofs than with commercial ones. If there is equipment on the roof that requires servicing, foot traffic from service individuals may deteriorate the roofing system.


Discharged water on to the roof covering from a drainage system: Upper level roofing with a gutter or downspout that discharges into a lower level roof will wear out the contact point.


Tree Branches: Branches that touch the roofing system will result in abrasion damage causing it to fail early. If branches don’t touch the roof, the overhanging trees drop debris on the roof. Along with the added shade that the branches bring, this mix will slow down the drying process and shorten life expectancy.

I would encourage you to check out all eight causes…see what category you may fit in.

Are you suffering from a leaky roof?

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