By Keith Loria
RISMEDIA, May 3, 2011--A leaky roof is one of the most common challenges faced by homeowners. And for someone with their house on the market, there's nothing quite so frustrating than to all of a sudden have water dripping from a ceiling or window. When the roof leaks, a variety of problems can follow, from infestations of mold and mildew to damaged foundations.
"A leaky roof is more than just a nuisance. A roof leak mean that water is invading your home or business," said Paul Bange, a roofing company owner. "Long before you notice that telltale spot on the wall or ceiling, water can cause rotting, mold and permanent damage."
Many times a roof leak can be repaired, with low expenses and minimal time commitment, so it's important to get to the problem early and bring in experts to discover the source of the leak.
"A minor leak can become a major problem in no time at all," said Jacob Liggett, managing partner of an exterior contracting company in Nashville, Tenn. "To the surprise of many property owners, many leaks can exist for years before any damages become obvious to the untrained eye. These leaks are usually slow at first, and if they continue to go undetected, they can cause harmful growth of mold, structural damage and, in some severe cases, a complete roof collapse."
Liggett said that common areas for roof leaks include skylights, wall step flashings, valleys or low spots in the roof, missing shingles and plumbing vent flashings.
The first sign of a roof leak is often wet ceiling tiles. Finding the source of the leak can be found simply by tracing the leak backwards to its source on the roof, keeping in mind that the source of the leak may be some distance away from where it is dripping into the home.
"If the leak is running along the wall, it may be necessary to remove the top tiling to get to the source of the leak," Bange said. "Some leaks may originate further up on the roof, making the source somewhat difficult to find. If the source of the leak turns out to be as simple as a missing block of shingles due to a recent windstorm, the solution may be as simple as replacing those missing shingles."
More complex problems may be more expensive but still necessary for getting your home in selling shape.
Nearly 99% of all roof leaks occur at transitions or penetration points, which are places where the roof meets a wall or an adjacent roof, and where equipment such as air conditioning units, vents, railings, drains, and even satellite stands are secured.
Often, a clogged gutter or downspout can cause the roof to start leaking, so it's necessary to clean out all gutters and downspouts on a regular basis to keep the roof looking like new.
Remember, most states require the seller to disclose all known issues, including roof leaks, so you don't want to hide it and hope to get away with it. Besides, the buyer's house inspector will see the signs of an undisclosed roof leak and this could leave one liable for repair costs or cause the house sale to fall through altogether.