Some types of roof damage, such as missing shingles or hail damage, are fairly visible to even an inexperienced observer. But other roofing vulnerabilities can cause leaks without giving off any obvious warning signs first. Here are three of them.
1. Ice dams
While you're staying safe and warm in your house during a snowstorm, the snow may be melting on your roof and trying to find its way in. Ice-dam leaks happen when the heat from your attic escapes through your roof just enough to melt a layer of snow that will then turn back to ice and hold a thin layer of water against the roof. This water can then seep under the shingles in order to access the inside of your attic. One way you can reduce the chances of an ice-dam leak is by improving your attic insulation so less heat will escape during the winter.
2. Valley leaks and low-slope leaks
Low-slope leaks are leaks that occur due to the decreased drainage associated with flatter roofs, such as those on commercial buildings. Minimum sloping standards ensure that these roofs aren't truly flat, but they're still more susceptible to leaks than steeper roofs because gravity doesn't pull away the water as quickly. Valley leaks are similar, but they only happen when your roof has multiple peaks that form a "valley" between them. This spot doesn't drain as quickly as the rest of the roof and, in fact, gravity actually works against it by drawing the water from the rooftops down into the valley. Because these types of roof leaks don't come with any obvious roof damage, you may not notice them at first.
4. Flashing leaks
Flashing is crucial to the integrity of your roof, and if your flashing is missing, your roof is at risk of developing a leak. However, if the last contractor who worked on your roof installed the flashing incorrectly so that it doesn't form a tight seal, you may not be able to tell that something's wrong without climbing up for a closer inspection (especially if you're not experienced with roof installation).
Low slope or valley leaks aren't things you can totally do away with unless you change the design of your roof, so if your roof is vulnerable to these problems, you'll simply have to have more frequent roof inspections to make sure your roofing stays in good shape. Flashing leaks can be detected during an inspection as well and can easily be fixed by a professional roofing contractor.
Talk to a contractor like Palmer Roofing for more information about leaks you'll want to watch out for.