Insight on Roof Leaks

Skylights often get a bad rap, blamed for every leak that ever develops in a ceiling.

Before you assume it’s the skylight, I’d like to offer some information that
I hope will be helpful in determining who to call….me or your roofer.

Sources of leaks:
Roof vents and vent pipes–  Their installation may have been shoddy or the flashing has aged or been damaged.   I have seen roof vents so poorly installed that in the winter piles of snow develop inside the attic.

Nail holes– While they may seem minor, long nails driven through flashing or shingles can actually give water access to the attic.  Rusty nails are a sign that you have found a potential problem.

Anything with “flashing”-  Flashing is the metal material around pipes, vents, chimneys, or other protrusions on a roof.   Any such opening, poorly flashed and improperly sealed, can be the source of a leak.

Did you recently get a new roof?  Did the leak coincide with the new roof?  This happens quite often and is always the result of improperly roofing around an existing skylight.  Be sure your roofer has experience with skylights and guarantees in advance that he will return to deal with any leaks that occur after the new roof goes on.

 How to find a leak:
 An important fact to remember is that water can find an entry point on the roof then move many feet down rafters before it actually is seen as a ceiling leak.  Don’t assume the roof leak is near the point you see the leak in your ceiling.

If possible, take a trip into your attic.  Locate the water’s entry point to your ceiling below.  Check surrounding rafters for signs of water….is there any damp wood?  Can you find a water trail that has come down the rafter from another location? 

Do a “water test”….if it is safe, get out your garden hose and run water in one area of your roof to see if you can detect the water entry point, either in your attic or in your ceiling.  This can take some time and a bit of water.

If it’s feasible, check around your skylight or other flashed roof fixtures for nails through the flashing. The best clue is a nail that has become rusty. 

As always, I’m glad to help you with your skylight needs.


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