September 12 was a lousy, but tolerable rainy Thursday night in Dubuque as the Rauen Family weathered a torrential thunderstorm that was pouring down an inch of rain an hour on Iowa’s Key City.
The Rauens huddled inside the comfort of their sure-fire rain repellent 15-year-old home in Dubuque’s midtown.
Then water came cascading down from the hallway smoke detector. The next room to strangely burst into tears was the garage, then the kitchen ceiling started crying.
“OMG! It’s raining in the house,” Tom Rauen joked. “Our house is under attack by rain.”
Even the newest and and most upscale of homes can fall victim to the horrors of an unseen roof leak. After all, most leaks don’t shout their presence with a megaphone, but when they do announce their wet presence, they announce it with authority. Whether they are big or small, leaks can pummel your walls, foundation and the exterior of your home.
“A leaking roof is the most obvious sign that it’s time to replace your roof, but it’s hardly the only one,” HomeAdvisor stresses. “Many of these signs will eventually lead to a leaking roof, but identifying these problems early enough can prevent water damage and save you money for your roof replacement project.”
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a Roof Whisperer to detect that you may have a leak in your roof. Here are telltale signs your roof may be compromised.
Ceiling Water Art
Unless you’ve started using your ceiling as a canvas for water painting, you should never see water stains on your ceiling. They often look like large puddles ridged with brown. Water stains can be big and small. Smaller leaks could be signs of a much larger leak.
If you notice discoloration on your ceiling or walls, inspect them closely for mold, moisture and other sure signs of a leak.
Drips, Drips, Drips
Remember, by rule, healthy roofs don’t cry, even though they are asked to work 365, 24/7 against Mother Nature’s worst and angriest weather. If you notice occasional drips and moisture stains, you may have a leak in your roof. No matter how rare the drip, check it out.
If the drips occur during the winter or spring, you could have an ice dam caused by the freezing and thawing of melting snow and ice. The thawed water moves under the shingles, then freezes again, causing intermittent leaks.
The Drip Rule: If you see moisture, investigate. For chronic moisture problems can cause permanent damage.
The Exterior Walls Get Tattoos
Again, your home’s exterior walls should only be sporting the color paint or siding you chose for them. Look under your roof line every season for water spots, which can indicate problems with your flashing.
Mossy and moldy exterior walls can point to major problems with your downspouts or gutters. Downspouts and gutters serve as an integral part of your roofing system, redirecting water away from your roof and down into the ground. Erosion below the gutters and moisture on your building exterior are signs of erosion.
As comedian Jeff Foxworthy might joke, If you are pulling into your driveway one random day this fall and notice missing shingles or debris in your downspouts, your roof might be leaking.
Patchy roofs are prone to leaking over time. Even though you don’t notice a leak in your home, there could be a slow leak into the attic or crawl space. Any sign of roof damage is your roof screaming for a professional health inspection.
‘Don’t Wait Until Water Is Pouring Through The Ceiling’
The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends homeowners perform a regular roof inspection twice a year, in the spring and the fall. That makes right now the perfect time to inspect your roof for leaks.
Our home’s roofs are our selfless wing men protecting us against whatever harsh weather may come our way. Don’t let your roof fight this important battle while under the weather.
For as much as a roof cries when leaking, you’ll be crying twice as hard when you get the repair bill.
“Most people don’t really think about the roof over their heads .. until it springs a leak!” famed American home maintenance and restoration expert Bob Vila writes. “Don’t wait until water is pouring through the ceiling and you have to break about the buckets to pay attention to your roof.”