Roof Leak Detection: Six Most Common Causes of Leaks

roof leak detection

A leaky roof is a common problem. Each one of us has experienced it to varying degrees in our lives. In fact, roof leak is one of the most common problems for houses and buildings.

Leaky roofs occur because of different causes. Sometimes all it takes is a simple visual inspection of your roof to identify the cause; at other times, you have to call the services of a professional roofer just to determine the source of the problem.

To help you easily identify the causes of the problem, we listed below its six most common causes to make your roof leak detection easier:

1. Clogged Gutters

You can easily verify if your gutter is clogged when it is raining, and no water is trickling out of the downspout. Leaves, dirt and debris are the most common culprits of a clogged gutter. Regular inspection and maintenance cleaning will prevent this from happening.

2. Damaged Shingles

Shingles eventually degrade through time and constant exposure to harsh elements. The time will come when they finally crack, erode, sustain damage or be blown off the roof. Identifying broken or missing shingles is easy though since they are the exterior layer of the roof and can easily be seen.

3. Damaged Skylights

Skylights enhance the aesthetic appeal of your house and allow sunlight to penetrate the interior of the house for more natural lighting. They are, however, a common cause of leaks due to improper installation or damage sustained over time. Observing a regular maintenance schedule helps prevent this problem.

4. Cracked Flashing

Flashing is used to provide water protection to the roof and usually placed on joints, seams and other transition points. Since flashing is made of metal, it is susceptible to corrosion, rust, dent and bending from strong winds, accidental bumping or shift in structure. Damaged flashing could lead to tricky water leaks that only professional contractors could identify and repair.

5. Cracked Chimneys

One of the places first inspected for leaks are chimneys. Whether your chimney is made from brick, stone or metal, the material deteriorates with time and could sustain cracks, corrosion or swelling making it susceptible to water leaks.

6. Ventilation and Plumbing Leaks

Some houses have their plumbing and ventilation systems run through their roofs. While this is not advisable, it is a fact that many houses have such setup. If you experience a leak on your roof, and you have hoses and pipes used for plumbing and ventilation situated near it, the likely cause of the leak is from the ventilation or plumbing system.

Why are T-Lock Shingles No Longer Used?


One type of roof design and material no longer found on houses these days are the T-lock shingles. It used to be prevalent among houses when it was in vogue. Nowadays, houses with this type of shingle are rare.

What are T-Lock Shingles?

T-lock shingles looked like the letter “T” and interlocked with one another on the roof. They were the best in the market when they first came out decades ago. It had the best roofing technology at that time with capacity to resist strong winds. It used to set the standard in roofing and was a popular roofing material from the 1930s to the 1980s.

Problems That Beset T-Lock Shingles

Unfortunately, T-lock shingle had its fair share of serious issues that ultimately led to its demise.

No Standard Sizes. First, there were no standard sizes for the shingle until around the 1980s. The lack of standards presented its own problems.

Poor Quality. The early T-lock shingles were heavier and sturdier because of their asphalt content. Later versions of the shingle were thinner, lighter, more brittle and less resistant to high winds. The deterioration in quality was principally due to soaring asphalt prices – manufacturers put more fillers and other materials and less asphalt.

New Technology. The arrival and popularity of Architectural shingles further reduced the number of T-lock shingles users to a point that manufacturers found it no longer economically viable to continue producing them. T-lock shingles were, in fact, discontinued by manufacturers based on several issues, including those associated with their weight, or lack of it. Production totally ceased sometime in 2004.

Costly Repair. Since replacement T-lock shingles are no longer made, homeowners are forced to spend significantly more money for roof replacement. Roofs that required only minimal patch (and minimal expense) had to be replaced in their entirety for lack of available T-lock shingles.

Insurance Problems. Insurance companies are reluctant to accept insurance coverage on houses with T-lock shingles because of their potential exposure to liability since the entire roof must be replaced even if only one T-lock shingle is damaged. Those that agree to cover the house demand, higher premiums and more deductibles. Some insurance underwriters consider houses with T-lock shingles as major insurance hazard.

Difficulty in Selling. Because of this insurance issue, sellers are forced to replace the entire roof before they can sell the house, although the T-lock shingles are still in good condition. This type of roof on a house adds complication to real estate transactions.