6 Dangers of a Leaky Roof

Leaky Roof

Roof leaks can result from a broken tree limb shattering shingles during a storm or simply from wear and tear as outdoor elements take their toll on roofing materials. Though plumbing ruptures, sewage backups and other dramatic incidents cause more acute damage in the house, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, roof leaks represent the most common cause of slow, incremental water damage that accumulates over a longer time frame.

This gradual drip-by-drip process can steadily harm structural materials in the house and eventually become an issue in living spaces below. Here are six common risks associated with a leaky roof:

You’ll find out too late. Unless you regularly inspect your attic for signs of leaks—or hang out up there during heavy rain—intermittent roof leakage may recur silently over an extended period before you become aware of it downstairs. By then, significant damage may be a fait accompli.

Wet insulation won’t insulate. Water-soaked insulation loses its heat-resistance qualities. Cellulose loose-fill is usually permanently ruined. Fiberglass batts can be dried out if removed, but this must occur quickly before mold growth spawns inside the fibers.

Mold contamination is a sure thing. Dark and dusty attic, microscopic spores, dribbling roof leaks: It’s mold nirvana. Prepare for widespread contamination as mold growth in a wet attic frequently spreads down into living spaces.

Fire is a possibility. Electrical components present in the attic including wiring, junction boxes and ceiling light fixtures aren’t waterproof in any way. Water + electricity = short circuits that cause fires.  

Homeowner’s insurance won’t compensate you. Unless the leak is caused by a single event occurring recently, long-term unrepaired roof leakage—and any indoor water damage associated with it—is usually classified as negligence and not compensated under the terms of a standard homeowner’s policy.

You’ll fall off the roof. Any issues associated with exterior roof materials should be handled by an experienced roofing professional qualified to climb up there, identify incipient leakage and/or repair any existing leaks safely. If you’re not one, call a roofer to handle it.

Tags: , , , , ,

Return to the Blog Home Page