Leaky Roof But No Missing Shingles? A Look At Other Possible Culprits

When water starts tricking in through the roof, your first thought is probably to look for missing shingles. But what if all of the shingles are in place? The fact of the matter is that missing shingles are just one possible cause of roof leaks. Here's a look at some other possibilities you'll want to investigate.

Ice Dams                                                                                                                      

If it's winter, take a look at the edge of your roof. Are there big formations of ice along the edges? Known as ice dams, these formations can loosen shingles just enough to let a little water seep in underneath them. There's not much you can do until the current ice dams melt, but once that occurs, you'll want to have any loose shingles re-fastened. Then, add more insulation to your attic. This will prevent snow near the peak of the roof from melting and trickling down to re-freeze, forming ice dams at the edge.

Loose Flashings

Flashings are the sheets of metal around chimneys, in valleys, and around any other feature that protrudes from your roof. These sheets of metal often become bent, corroded, or otherwise loosened from the roof surface. When this occurs, water can slide beneath them and leak into your home. If you feel comfortable getting up on the roof, examine your flashings and make sure they're all in good shape and flush with the roof. If you spot a damaged flashing, you'll want to have a professional repair it, as doing so requires the removal and replacement of nearby shingles and is thus quite an involved task.

If you're not confident climbing onto your roof, get as good a look at the flashing as you can from the ground. If you can't find any other explanation for the leaks and think a flashing problem may be to blame, hire a contractor to climb up there and take a look.

Exposed Nail Heads

When roofers install a roof, they should make sure that all of the nail heads are covered by the next shingle layer. If nail heads are accidentally exposed, this can lead to leaks as water seeps in around the nail. In order to look for exposed nail heads, you have to get on the roof – or hire someone to do this for you. Start looking directly above where the leak occurred, and expand your search from there. If you see a nail head, apply a glob of roofing tar or cement on top of it to stop the leaks.

A leak that's not coming from missing shingles is likely coming from one of the sources above. Click here to learn more about roofing services.