The roofing system on your home protects all other components, and occupants, of the home. You can replace your roof; you can’t always replace what’s underneath.
Most people replace only 1 or 2 roofs in their lifetime due to the lifespan of shingles (15 – 30 years), and only do so because they’re experiencing an immediate issue with the roof system.
The roof of a home is one of the most important components of the structure; it is also one of the most vulnerable. North Carolina is no stranger to heavy rains, hailstorms, and hurricanes. We often meet homeowners with roof damage caused by the weather elements. Whether you’re dealing with a conventional roof leak, due to old age, or confronted with attic insulation that is badly contaminated, it’s critical to maintain the attic ventilation/insulation and roof properly. Like any part of a home, good maintenance will prevent potential damages and help avoid costly repairs. An inspection should be done regularly to check for leaks. It’s recommended that homeowners schedule one once each year.
A roof leak should not be underestimated, and repairs should not be put off. While some leaks can typically be spotted right away, many remain hidden under roofing material and go unnoticed until major damages occur from rot and mold. If you have an attic, you may not notice the leak right away, but water will eventually seep down into you home. The attic of a home, if vented, has a great deal of air movement occurring throughout the day and night. This will dry out most small leaks before they ever present themselves on a finished surface that you can see. It will not only cause significant damage to the roofing system of the house, and possibly the structural framing, but it could lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and other microorganisms. This could put the health of yourself, family, and pets at risk. In a case where there no attic, it’s very likely that the damages will be more significant and happen much faster. Not to mention, it’s also a very serious fire hazard if it has reached any wiring.
Most people consider a small leak as a minor problem, or they ignore it in favor of saving money short-term. Being proactive about your roof maintenance and repairing it when it has just begun can save homeowners hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Sometimes, a combination of smaller repairs and preventative maintenance can stop you from having major problems in the future.
We understand how frightening a leaking roof can be. So, let us walk you through the steps of finding your solution.
How To Spot a Leak & Common Causes
Identifying a roof leak is not always as straightforward as you may imagine. Often the source of the leak is nowhere near where the leak presents itself as a stain. Of course, if you find yourself with buckets catching water then it’s clearly time to give someone a call. When you have an active leak, there are indicators can help to determine how long it has potentially been going on for. Here are a few ways to tell the difference between a new leak and one that has been going on for some time.
A water stain on your ceiling is one of the first signs that your roof is leaking. These look like a small or large puddle which often has a brown tinge at the edges. When the stain has a single large ring around it, it is likely that the leak is new. If it has multiple rings, this could be an indication that the leak has been ongoing for some time. If you have drywall coming down, or if a black spot begins to appear inside the leak area, you may have a major issue on your hands.
Moisture on the Walls
You may notice drips and moisture on the walls one day, and not notice it the next. Just because the problem appears to have gone away, doesn’t mean that it won’t return. It is highly likely that it will return as your leak could be caused by an ice dam in your roof which freezes and melts water repeatedly causing intermittent leak signs on the outside facing walls of your home. Wind-driven-rain is also a likely culprit for the condensation on your walls. This occurs when the wind is high enough to push the water back up the roof line, and into your home. Either way, if you see condensation or staining on your walls, you need to move quickly to stop, or prevent, mold growth.
Mold or Moss
Moss or mold is a dangerous health hazard, especially when it’s on the interior walls of your home. If you notice any mold, it is not to be taken lightly. We advise that you seek help from a professional who can safely remove the mold and fix what is causing it. Fortunately, most roof leaks don’t lead to mold growth because the attic space moves so much air through it that it dries out the leak very quickly. Mold needs roughly 3 full days of moisture to start growing and will continue to need a source of water to stay alive, so the air flow in an attic often prevents this. That said, you don’t want to take any chances with mold. If you see a stain in the ceiling, contact a professional roofer immediately.
A roof leak showing on a wall is a different story. A water stain on the wall means that the water is traveling down the wall and sitting on the sill-plate of your home (against the floor), where it pools and stays until enough air flows through the wall cavity and dries it out. This is a very slow drying process because theirs practically zero air movement in a wall cavity. These factors are a great recipe for mold to begin growing and thriving!
Missing Shingles or Debris around Your Roof
Though missing shingles are not a clear sign that your roof is leaking at that moment, it is a precursor to roof problems, and a great indicator that you have storm damage to your roof. Damaged or missing shingles compromise the water shedding properties of a roof system and will increase the chances of water entering in. If you notice debris on or around your home, typically after a storm, it may be a good idea to get a professional to inspect the damages.
Choosing the contractor
The first step to scheduling an inspection is knowing how to choose the contractor. Unfortunately, the state of North Carolina doesn’t require roofing contractors to hold a license (in fact they don’t even offer a license) meaning that someone who is a landscaper today can be an “expert roofer” tomorrow. It is important to do your research and know that you’re hiring a trustworthy and reputable company. Your safest bet is to go with a licensed general contractor (GC). A company that attains a GC license has undergone extensive construction training, their books have been audited to ensure proper cash flow, they must carry workman’s compensation and general liability insurances, and most importantly is that they, and their workmanship, are beholden to the licensing board for general contractors.
What to look for:
Manufacturers certifications, licenses, referrals, reviews, and social media can all be equally important to check for. This can determine if you and your home are protected in the case that the contractor you choose can’t properly complete the work they’re contracted to do. It also speaks to the credibility of the business. Referrals and social media allow you to get a sense of the quality of their work and even hear testimonies from other customers.
Scheduling an Inspection
An inspection is necessary to establish what the issue is. The specialist will determine if you need a repair, replacement, or if the leak was a single event. Once you’ve chosen a contractor and scheduled for an inspection, you can take a deep breath. We understand that it is a stressful time, so Odyssey Contracting offers inspections at no cost to you. Inspections should be done a minimum of once a year to ensure that your roof is in good condition.
What to expect during an inspection:
Typically, a thorough inspection will take one hour, but possibly more if there’s significant damage. Our representatives will first explain what they’re going to be looking for, and then request to go into the attic to look for signs of leakage. If so, they will want to see the stain so they can identify the source once they go onto the roof. After this, we will do a “perimeter search” to identify any “collateral” damage to your home, such as hail hits to the gutters or holes in your siding. We then set up our safety equipment and begin the roof inspection. Throughout the roof inspection we will be taking meticulous photos of damages and notating their location. We will also be checking for basic maintenance issues, such as exposed nail heads or corroded sealants. Upon completion of the roof inspection, we will present the homeowners with our findings and give guidance on how to proceed with roof maintenance or repairs. If there’s storm related damages, we will walk you through the insurance claims process, and assist you with filing and handling the claim.
Getting the repairs:
First a foremost, a tarp or any form of barrier should be installed on the roof as a preventative measure until a proper assessment and repair can be completed. If you find yourself in need of a tarp installation, contact our home office to have an Odyssey team member come out immediately.
Depending on the size and location of the leak, repairing a roof can take anywhere from 1-3 days, though it is typically a 1-day project. If the leak is small and confined to one area, then patching it up may only take a few hours. However, if the leak has caused extensive damage or if it is in a difficult-to-reach spot, then the repair process may take longer. In any case, it is best to call a professional roofer to assess the situation and give you an accurate estimate of how long it will take to fix the problem.
“The roof is the most expensive maintenance item on a home that no one plans for”.
Have you spotted a leak? Odyssey Contracting can help. Our expert specialists can repair a leaking roof in no time. Contact us at 919-916-5640 and schedule an inspection today. Don’t forget to follow us on social media for our latest deals and specials & events!