The Number One Source of Roof Leaks

If you have had, or maybe you are currently afflicted by a leaking roof, the chances that the source of the roof leak is related to a chimney or roof protrusion is significant. As I recently stated in another post, the importance of a sound chimney flashing is crucial to the integrity of the entire roofing system and preventing leaks.  However, sometimes failed flashing’s have contributing factors which cause leaks.

Aside from the typical sources of a leaking chimney, such as failed metal flashing or the point that the chimney flashing meets the chimney itself, there is another problem that seems to be a common culprit to instigating roof leaks altogether, and that is rotten roof boards or delaminated plywood.

It seems that lately the majority of roof tear off’s that we perform have had substantial problems that are a direct result of a failing roof deck.  Whether it be rotten deck boards or delaminating plywood, when the roof deck fails it is most certain to cause problems throughout the entire roofing system; especially the asphalt shingles.

In most cases a home or building owner has no clue that the decking was compromised, because typically failed decking is not something that just happens over the course of a couple of days or weeks.  It takes months and even years for a roof deck to fail to the point that the barrier itself cracks, separates, or otherwise fails to create a water tight barrier.  In some cases a roofing system might have been leaking for months before the leak is even noticed.  Further, when it comes to repairing the leak it is important that you do it correctly, and this necessarily requires you to determine why the roof deck failed to begin with.  It would be foolish to address the symptom without addressing the problem.

Delaminated PlywoodEssentially there are two primary causes to a failed roof deck.  The first and most obvious is water infiltration.  This obviously happens when the barrier (i.e. shingle, rubber or metal roofing) or flashing fails and allows water to come into contact with the deck.  The second and least known culprit is dry-rot of the roof boards or delaminating of plywood, which is primarily caused from inadequate roofing ventilation.  Suffice it to say that it is very important to identify and address the source or problem of why your roof deck is failing and causing the roofing system to fail and leak. (* In my next article I will be discussing the importance of roofing ventilation so I will not get into that topic at this point.)


Choosing A Roofing Contractor To Fix The Problem

As such, when you make phone calls and contact a roofing contractor in the Waukesha area, it is best to first get a diagnosis from at least three different Waukesha roofing contractors before making your final decision.  Most importantly, if one contractor thinks it best to re-deck your roof, while the other two believe it is not necessary, ask the roofing contractor who recommends the re-deck why he believes it should be done and whether it’s possible to provide pictures that support his decision.

Most roofing contractors are more than happy to snap a few pictures while they are performing their inspection and diagnosis of the leak source. If any Waukesha roofing contractor is unable to provide pictures to support their recommendation that the roof deck should be replaced, then I would be very reluctant to choose that individual or company.  A picture is worth a thousand words – not to mention that pictures are essential when working with your insurance provider under a homeowner’s policy.