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What Are the Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks?

One of the worst experiences as a homeowner is noticing a leak coming from your ceiling. Water stains on your ceiling, the sound of dripping water, and excessive humidity can leave you with a pit in your stomach when you know how detrimental leaks can be to your home’s interior.

The best way to avoid roof leaks is to know what causes them and work to prevent those issues. Our American Home Contractor team has helped over 8,000 New Jersey homeowners with their exteriors, so we are all too familiar with the pesky roof leak. As a roofing contractor, our desire is to provide you with the information you need to keep your roof from future damage.

Here are some of the most common reasons roof leaks appear and what you can do to avoid them.

Clogged Gutters

Roofs are meant to shed water. But when your gutters become backlogged with debris, they clog, and the water being shed from your roof begins to pool, allowing water to rest on your shingles and make its way into your home. It can damage the structural boards by causing wood rot and other issues.

To avoid clogging, have your gutters cleaned out seasonally, especially before and after the winter months. Consider having a gutter contractor install a gutter protection system to help make maintenance easier. Have your gutters inspected annually to look for other issues like cracks, sagging, or pinched downspouts?

Ice Dams

Ice dams are the result of improperly insulated roofs that cause warm air to melt snow. That moisture then freezes on the roof’s eaves, and the wall of ice that is created prevents moisture from future rain and snow from being able to properly drain off the roof. The backlogging creates many of the same issues associated with clogged gutters.

If your home suffers from ice dams, don’t panic. Check out our guide to preventing ice dams, and keep them from becoming an expensive issue.

Cracked Flashing

Flashing is vitally important in the protection of water penetration on your roof. Flashing are the metal strips laid under the shingles in areas where water can collect or leak through the roof line—places like valleys, around chimneys and skylights, surrounding vents, and abutting walls from dormers.

They can corrode, rust, or even crack. When this happens, water can easily make its way through your roofline. Inspect your flashing seasonally. If you notice the seals around your flashing are cracked or lifted, have the seal replaced.

Storm Damage

Your roof takes the brunt of a storm, and if it does its job properly, protects your interior. But storms can perform their fair share of wear to your roof. Hail can dent or crack the backing of your shingles or cause granule loss on the shingle itself. Harsh winds can lift and curl shingle edges or even blow them off completely. Both weather elements are common occurrences in our New Jersey climate.

After a storm occurs, it is imperative to have your roof inspected by a professional, especially if you notice any signs of damage. You can also prepare for hail storms to help keep damage from occurring.

Damaged or Improperly Installed Skylights

Your roof can be experiencing a leak through other avenues than your shingles. Skylights are still a part of your roofing system, and if the seal on the window is broken, the window itself has an issue. If the skylight was improperly installed, unwanted moisture can penetrate your home regardless of the state of your roof.

Make sure to have the rubber seals and overall skylight inspected when you have your annual roof inspection, and make sure you hire a trusted professional for the initial installation, which will be the biggest way to avoid a leak.


The older a roof gets, the more likely it is to experience problems. Leaks can often occur simply due to wear and tear over time. Depending on the type of shingles installed, your roof can last from 20 to 30 years with proper care. Ensure that you are properly caring for your roof to help it reach its full lifespan.

But even a roof that is cared for properly will eventually wear down with time.

What to Do If You Have a Roof Leak

Roof leaks can lead to severe, expensive interior damage. So, if you notice a roof leak in your home, take action immediately.

1. Contact a professional for a roof inspection.

They can help determine the amount of damage your roof has experienced and can help sort out the roof issues causing the leak, preventing it from happening in the future.

2. File a claim with your insurance company (only when needed).

In certain instances, such as storm damage, your roof may be covered through your insurance. Not every home leak will be covered, so check your policy. Take pictures of the damage for reference in your claim.

3. Follow the professional’s recommendations for repair.

Most often, a professional can locate the source of the issue and restore your roof back to working order, but sometimes, the extent of the damage will call for a full roof replacement. Heed the advice of the professional to keep your home from further damage.

4. Enjoy peace of mind from your roof.

A professional will shore up any issue with your roof and reestablish your trust in one of your most valuable exterior elements. With peace of mind restored, you will love your home even more.

Move from Leaky Roof to Confident Homeowner

Our team of roofing contractors is ready to get your roof into like-new shape at the first sign of trouble. If you notice a leak or signs for potential leaks, contact our team for help. We want to restore the security of your home and give you confidence in your roof again. Request a quote with our team today.