Where Do Leak Roofs Come From?

As soon as a leak is spotted in a roof, most homeowners will assume that the cause or the culprit is their roofer, and that he or she must not have properly built or repaired the roof, resulting in some weak spot that has let in rainwater. But more often than not, it isn’t the roofer who is to blame for problems with the roof.

There are many different home contractors whose work requires them to get on rooftops and start tinkering around with shingles, support boards, and other parts of a home’s roof. Roofers are one such class of professionals, but heating and ventilation repairmen, electricians, plumbers, chimney workers, and many others also have to work on roofs. The difference between all these people, and roofers, is that only the roofers are actually trained to repair a rooftop.

Unprepared For Repairs
But even though they aren’t trained roof-repair professionals, many of these other contractors end up making alterations to rooftops in the course of their work. HVAC professionals, for instance, frequently must cut holes in rooftops in order to install heating elements, cooling systems, air vents, and other elements of air conditioning systems. And when it comes time to seal the openings around these parts, they aren’t always adept a building lasting, weather-tight seals. The result, all too often, is a leaky, water-permeable roof.

It’s for this reason that as many as 80 percent of the leaks caused by poorly-installed or repaired roofs are actually the fault of contractors who are not professional roofers. One solution for this is to work with a large HVAC company, rather than a lone contractor who handles everything by himself or herself. Often the larger companies will have professional roofers on staff, who are employed exclusively to come in after their colleagues and make sure they leave roofs in good, working order.

Internal Failures
Additionally, the equipment installed on top of a roof can often spring leaks itself, if it includes water cooling or heating systems, or water lines running to other parts of the building or home. Frequently these systems will spring their own leaks, which homeowners mistakenly identify as leaks caused by a poorly-installed roof. Then the homeowner calls a roofing contractor to come inspect the problem, and is surprised when the roofer reports that the roof is in fine condition. It’s not until the HVAC system, the plumbing lines, or the other systems are inspected that the real culprit is identified.

A Little Prevention
For these reasons, it’s wise to ask whether a contractor will be using a roofing specialist to seal up a roof that needs alterations, or if he will be taking care of the work himself. If the contractor is doing it himself, the homeowner should arrange for a roofer to come inspect the work and give a second opinion, just to be sure that there are no leaks and everything is ship-shape. Even if the contractor’s work looks good for the short term, there will often be vulnerabilities that, over time, will turn into leaks and become big, big problem. The best approach is to have a professional roofer inspect and detect these issues up front, so that they don’t balloon into something a lot bigger (and a lot more expensive) later on.

If homeowners remember that poorly sealed rooftop equipment is the most common cause of leaky roofs, they’ll get their roofs repaired quicker, and spare themselves unneeded expenses and frustrations.

Mark Roberts is a writer for JOIRoofing.com. Juneau Odenwald Roofing was founded in 1996 and is a premier Louisiana roofing contractor.