Roof leaks are a major inconvenience for homeowners, can involve safety issues, and can cause significant damage to the home if not addressed promptly. Locating the source of leaks can be challenging as they can occur in areas not easily visible. Homeowners must not neglect even the smallest sign of leaks, as they can potentially lead to more severe issues.

Numerous factors contribute to the roof’s deterioration and poor performance in preventing water intrusion. Listed below are the most common causes of roof leaks:


Missing or Broken Shingles

Harsh weather elements and human-made causes can contribute to the deterioration of shingles. They endure wear and tear throughout their lifespan, and as they age, they become more susceptible to breakage that can lead to leaks.

Strong winds can lift shingles off the roof and expose the underlying materials to rain, snow, and hail. Varying temperatures can also wear down shingles over time.

Shingles can also detach and fall off the roof easily if not installed correctly. Poor workmanship can compromise the roof’s integrity and negatively affect its ability to protect the home from outdoor elements.

When homeowners notice missing or broken shingles from their roofs, they must immediately address the problem to prevent further structural damage.


Faulty Flashing

Flashing is comprised of thin galvanized metal strips placed at parts of the roof that are prone to leaks like the roof valleys, chimneys, and vents. It must be sealed properly to prevent the intrusion of water in the roofing system.

However, exposure to outdoor elements can wear down flashing over time, making it less effective in keeping out water.

Regular inspection, maintenance care, and timely repairs ensure that the flashing will perform as it should and remain effective in driving water away from the roof.


Roof Slope

The roof’s slope or pitch affects its efficiency in draining water. If it is too shallow, water tends to become stagnant and can be driven underneath the shingles. Eventually, water will find its way to leak inside the home.

Also, a shallow slope makes it easier for the wind to lift the shingles and expose the underlying roofing materials to rain.

The International Building Code stipulates the recommended ratio for roof slopes depending on the materials and design to ensure its proper performance. For instance, asphalt shingles are recommended to have a 2:12 roof slope.

Ensuring that the roof has the ideal pitch ratio improves its capability of driving away water. Proper installation and the quality of roofing materials also play a role in keeping the structure leak-proof.


Clogged Gutters

Leaves, twigs, and other forms of debris can get lodged in gutters and impede runoff. While gutters are made to be leak-proof with free-flowing water, they are not designed to hold accumulated water for a prolonged period.

When water stays too long in gutters, they can seep through roofing materials and enter the home. The collection of debris and water in the gutters can also weigh down the roof fascia, allowing water to flow off the roof and into the attic.

Homeowners must keep their gutters free from debris and regularly check if the water is flowing normally through the downspout.


Damaged or Uncovered Chimneys

Water can seep through cracks and holes in chimneys because of flashing problems, erosion of brick and mortar joints, and damage to the chimney crown. Moreover, rain can easily go down an uncovered chimney and enter the home.

Residents must ensure the proper installation and sealing of construction materials to prevent water from entering the chimney. Having the chimney covered adequately not only prevents water leaks but also helps keep out debris and pests.

In addition, regular inspection and maintenance also contribute to keeping the structure’s integrity. Signs of damage must immediately be addressed before they develop into more severe issues.


Poor Ventilation

Roof leaks from improper venting can happen in two ways: through excess moisture in the attic and water flow in the vents.

Without sufficient ventilation and insulation in the attic, temperature fluctuations can promote water damage from unnecessary condensation. If left unchecked, the excess moisture creates an ideal environment for moss and mildew growth that can further damage the roofing system.

If the roof leak originates from the attic, homeowners will notice the presence of mold and a musty odor coming from this area.

Furthermore, if the venting system is not sealed correctly or is damaged, water can easily get into cracks and gaps until it enters the home.

Homeowners must ensure that their roofing systems are properly vented and sealed to prevent water leaks. Likewise, observing a maintenance routine allows residents to determine signs of damage in their venting system.


Ice Dams

Ice can accumulate along the roof’s edges and prevent melting snow from draining, resulting in water seeping through the shingles and entering the home.

The weight of ice dams can also weigh down gutters and peel off shingles, providing an opening for water to enter.

Homeowners can use a roof rake to remove at least four feet of snow from the roof’s edge. They can also use an ice melt product according to the manufacturer’s instructions to treat ice dams.


Skylight Leaks

Skylights are windows installed in roofs to help create more natural lighting in the home, increase ventilation, or even serve as emergency egress.

Roof leaks from a skylight often originate from improper installation or damaged flashing. Homeowners must ensure that skylights are measured correctly and have sealed properly during installation.

If water is dripping from a skylight, homeowners should consult with a professional roofing contractor for a thorough assessment and repair.


Age of the Roof

When roofing materials age beyond their rated lifespan, they become less effective in keeping out water. While proper maintenance and care can prolong a roof’s life expectancy, they cannot stop it from wearing down over time.

If homeowners know that their roofs are already at the end of their service life, it is better to get a replacement instead.



Roof leaks can result from natural occurrences or human-made causes like improper installation, weather elements, and natural wear-and-tear of roofing materials.

Homeowners must ensure that each part of the roof is fitted, installed, and sealed properly to prevent water leaks from arising.

Likewise, it is also essential to have proper ventilation and insulation in the roofing system to prevent unnecessary accumulation of moisture in the attic.

It is imperative to address small problems before they develop into extensive damage that is often too costly to fix.

To keep their roofs in tiptop shape, homeowners can hire professional roofers to inspect the structure and conduct necessary repairs.


Request a Quote at Long Island Roofing and Chimney Today!

Long Island Roofing and Chimney is a reliable and trustworthy roofing and chimney contractor on Long Island. With over 15 years of high-quality professional services, they are among the best companies to take care of roofing, chimney, gutters, and other home maintenance and improvement projects. Contact Long Island Roofing and Chimney today at 631-205-6177 (Suffolk County), 516-605-6108 (Nassau County), or click here to request a quote.