|Yup, it may look ugly, but that doesn't mean it will leak.|
On many types of roofs, the roofing felt
keeps out the water, not the shingles.
“No,” they respond.
Remember that old saw, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”? It applies nicely to roofs, too.
Many people confuse a roof’s appearance with its ability to keep out water. But many types of roofing—wood shingles and shakes, in particular—can look positively awful and still function perfectly well. So don’t automatically assume that a shabby roof is a leaky roof.
|Vents and other roof penetrations are notorious spot|
for leaks to develop. Look there first. You may
save yourself a ton of money.
What’s the answer? Find a roofing contractor willing to determine the cause of your leak rather than shotgunning the problem with a costly new roof. This may not be easy—understandably, most contractors would rather sell a big-ticket item like a complete re-roof—but there are a few out there who are still willing to hunt down a leak.
|The stain is here—does that mean the leak is|
right above it? Not necessarily.
Because water often travels sideways along rafters or runs down inside walls before appearing inside your house, water stains in ceilings or walls aren’t always a good indicator of a leak’s location. A discoloration in the middle of a ceiling might well be caused by a leaking vent ten feet away. That’s why it’s a good idea to leave leak-finding to a pro. Besides, a lot of careless stomping around on a roof can create more leaks than it fixes.
|You just spent $20,000 on a new roof.|
But was a tube of this stuff all you really needed?
Hunting down roof leaks can be frustrating, but in some cases it may put off the need to re-roof for many years. Once the leak is found, it’s just a matter of repairing it as recommended by your roofing contractor—sometimes, a tube of caulk or roofing mastic will be all that's called for.
If the leak can’t be easily repaired, or if the field of the roof leaks—or if you just can’t stand the way your roof looks anymore—then it really may be time to reroof. But until then, repairing isolated leaks can save you a great deal of money.
So don’t drive tacks with a sledgehammer. Before you resort to the expense of a whole new roof, try the simple solutions first.