Avoiding Roof Water Damage from Leaks and Weather

By Dawn Killough 09-09-2020
QUICK SHARE
Tag Icon

As the first line of defense between your home and weather, your roof should be able to give you a feeling of peace, comfort, and security. But maintaining that security means taking action at the very first signs of roof water damage.

Damage to your roof can let moisture into the home, which can create problems. If you do find signs of potential damage, such as water stains on ceilings or walls, it's important to contact your insurance company or a reliable contractor as soon as possible. Delaying repairs can lead to additional costs and compounding problems, but prompt action can keep the damage at a minimum.

Inspecting for Roof Water Damage

Water damage can look different depending on what it's affecting, but in all cases, it's important to take steps to lessen the impacts. Finding leaks early is key to preventing further damage and keeping repair costs down. The good news is, taking some simple steps now can help you avoid that process.

Regular inspections are the best way to prevent water damage. You should inspect your roof twice a year and after major weather events to make sure it's in good condition.

Try to conduct as much of your inspection as you can from the ground—climbing up and down ladders can be unsafe, especially if your roof is steep or you have multiple floors. When it's time to get a closer look, it's best to contact a professional who has all the necessary safety equipment.

When looking at your roof, try to gauge the condition of your shingles. If there is lifting, tearing, or missing shingles, you may have leakage. Also pay careful attention to the areas around any penetrations, such as pipes and chimney vents. These areas are covered by flashings. If there's any lifting or tearing of the flashings, there may be damage.

You may not see evidence of damage on the outside, so be sure to check the underside of your roof too. Look in the attic for signs of water infiltration like staining of the underside of the deck, ceiling, or walls.

The Truth About Insurance

If you do find signs of damage, prompt reporting to your insurance agency may save you money. Insurance payouts are based on the damage at the time the leak occurs. So if you wait several months to report a leak and additional damage occurs in the meantime, your insurance may not pay for those extra repairs.

So what will your insurance pay for? The exact answer will, of course, come from your insurance agency and depend on your insurance policy. However, there are some common trends to what's most likely to be covered or not covered.

Many homeowner's insurance policies will cover water damage caused by weather (with the exception of flooding, which requires separate insurance). If you have water damage caused by a tree falling on your roof, your homeowner's insurance policy will likely cover those repairs.

Nearly a third of homeowners think that their insurance will also pay for damages caused by lack of maintenance or ordinary wear, according to a study done by Erie Insurance. However, damages caused by lack of maintenance aren't covered by most policies. So if you have a leak in your roof caused by a maintenance issue, such as worn-out roofing materials, you may have to pay for the repairs yourself.

The prospect of dealing with roof water damage may seem stressful, but performing some proactive inspections, and taking quick action if you do uncover a problem, can keep you warm and dry—whatever the weather may be.

Need help with inspections or repair work? Find a local GAF-factory certified contractor.*

*Contractors enrolled in GAF certification programs are not employees or agents of GAF, and GAF does not control or otherwise supervise these independent businesses. Contractors may receive benefits, such as loyalty rewards points and discounts on marketing tools from GAF for participating in the program and offering GAF enhanced warranties, which require the use of a minimum amount of GAF products.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dawn Killough is a freelance writer in the construction, finance, and accounting fields. She is the author of an ebook about green building and writes for construction tech and green building websites. She lives in Salem, Oregon with her husband and four cats.
Don't miss another GAF RoofViews post!
LATEST UPDATES
Buying a home is the biggest financial investment many people will make. In a hot real estate market, homebuyers may be tempted to remove any conditions from their offer to purchase—including a roof inspection—so their bid wins the house.
A mansard roof is one of the more unique styles of roof, especially in a residential setting. Beyond its aesthetic, it offers a set of benefits that other roofs can't match—however, it also comes with some special considerations. On the right home, mansard roofs can provide both style and protection for you and your family.
Gambrel roofs, also commonly called barn roofs, are common across America. Brought over by the Dutch, some of the earliest gambrel roofs in America were found in buildings from the 16th century. Today, they fit in perfectly with the resurgence of the farmhouse style.
Since its inception a roof's primary purpose has been to shelter its inhabitants from the elements, but now the underutilized potential of roof surfaces is being realized. For roofs with large surface areas, the potential for large overburden installations, such as solar, vegetative roofing, or amenity decks can be exceptional. Even smaller roofs can have overburden that make a significant impact on the sustainability goals of a building including: increased energy efficiency, stormwater retention, energy generation, biohabitat restoration, food production, reduced urban heat island effect, and outdoor space.
Every roof is different, and that's especially true when comparing commercial vs residential roofing, also known as low-slope vs steep-slope roofing. Many roofing contractors start out installing residential roofs because they have a low cost of entry. The process requires minimal specialized equipment—most roofers are able to start out with a truck, a ladder, a nail gun, a compressor, and safety gear.
Roofers, are you ready? Here's your chance to help protect veterans who have protected our country. As a roofer, you know that a reliable roof protects what matters most. You're also uniquely qualified to support our troops by ensuring their homes and families are covered.
This blog contains information created by a variety of sources, including internal and third party writers. The opinions and views expressed do not necessarily represent those of GAF. The content is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute financial, accounting, tax or legal advice. GAF does not guarantee the accuracy, reliability, and completeness of the information. In no event shall GAF be held responsible or liable for errors or omissions in the content or for the results, damages or losses caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on the content.

Interested in sharing or republishing our content? We kindly ask you to adhere to our guidelines.