A leaky roof is one of the easiest home troubles to ignore and procrastinate fixing, but the unfortunate fact is that a leaky roof can lead to much more serious issues than just an annoying drip. In fact, if there’s a leak that you don’t know about, there could be some serious issues brewing in your attic or other parts of your home. Leaks in your roof can happen for a variety of reasons, such as improper roof installation, going too long without maintenance, or wind and storm damage. You would never suspect that such a seemingly insignificant issue could cause so much damage. Here are some problems a leaky roof can cause if left unrepaired.
Ceiling & Attic Damage
If you have a roof leak that drips in your attic, it can be easy to miss if you don’t go up there a lot. If it goes unnoticed for too long, water can start to accumulate, damaging your stored belongings, and seeping into the attic floor. At its worst, this type of long term, unnoticed water damage can cause some serious structural issues. This can lead to things like drywall fatigue, which happens when drywall absorbs too much water and weakens. Water damage from a leaky roof can also cause important structural wood to rot, leaving your house vulnerable to severe damage under its own weight.
Mold & Mildew
Water damage from a leaky roof can also cause mold issues. Mold thrives in moist environments, so in the event that mold was already present in your home, a leaking roof can exacerbate the issue. Mold can spread throughout your home’s HVAC system, which can cause respiratory and other health issues for your family and your guests. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, mold in your home will especially affect those with nasal congestion, rhinitis, and asthma. In the worst of cases, toxic black mold can grow, which can cause much more severe illness and can even occasionally prove to be fatal (though it is important to note that this is very rare).
Electrical Fire Hazard
If any wiring is present in your attic or wherever your leak is, there is potential for water to cause a short circuit in your home’s wiring which can cause a fire. If there is water damage anywhere you know that there are wires, you should turn off the power to that section of your home and have an electrician take a look at it.
Higher Utility Bills
Water damage in your roof can cause your insulation to become far less efficient, meaning you have to spend more to keep your home at the right temperature. While you can try and dry out your fiberglass or cellulose insulation, they take a long time to dry, and if they aren’t dried completely, they become a great environment for mold to grow. This, of course, would also mean you have to pay to replace the insulation, compiling on more repair costs.
We briefly mentioned this earlier, but structural water damage is a very serious and potentially dangerous problem to have in your home. Water can leak into integral structural parts of your home such as rafters, wall framing, and ceiling joists. Over time, water permeates the wood, causing it to degenerate and weaken. Rotten house framing is a serious issue and would require the help of a professional contractor to fix your home. At it’s absolute worst, this type of long-term, unnoticed water damage can cause your home to collapse under its own weight.
The good news is, it’s pretty difficult for a roof leak to go unnoticed for so long that these more serious issues can happen, but it does still happen. Remember to check for leaks often, and as soon as you find one, get it fixed right away! If you don’t know how to look for leaks in your home, or if you suspect you may have one, give us a call! We specialize in water damage restoration and mold mitigation, and we can help with your leaks.