People put off household repairs for many reasons and for the most part, procrastinating on certain things such as repainting the living room or getting new carpet doesn’t have many consequences. Other repairs however, should always be addressed immediately to avoid further damage.
Particularly when it comes to roof leaks. Unlike what you see on TV or the movies, homemade patches or using buckets to catch dripping water won’t buy you much time to get your roof repaired before the damage happens. In fact, if you have a leaky roof, it should occupy the highest priority on your list of things to do and get fixed immediately.
Many homeowners don’t understand the risks of ignoring a roof leak but even the smallest leak today can become a major threat to your home tomorrow.
Once water is able to penetrate your house it will eventually make it’s way through the structure down to the foundation causing costly and oftentimes dangerous, problems all the way down. The hole that let the water in is only part of the problem, once inside the real problems begin.
Roof, Attic, & Ceiling Damage
The first things that are damaged are the areas directly around the entry point. The roof and attic (if you have one) are usually the first to get hit followed by the ceiling. Damaged ceilings are usually easy to spot as they will darken and the plaster may form bubbles. Once it’s soaked through the ceiling it gets into the walls damaging paint and even damage to the structure and items such as ceiling fans and lights. For each area that it reaches, the cost to repair increases.
Mold & Mildew
Especially in the warmer months, after water gets into your house and sits for weeks or months, one of the most serious consequences of a roof leak is mold and mildew. Mold and mildew not only grow where the water hits, it also spreads though the home as it gets into the HVAC system and vents. In the vents mold spores are blown through the home getting on everything from rugs and furniture to clothes and even your lungs!
Aside from the physical damage to your home, mold and mildew present serious health risks(not to mention the smell!). Especially for people with medical issues such as asthma, mold spores continue to reproduce once it’s present and can get into the lungs aggravating existing medical conditions and even causing new ones like allergies and asthmatic symptoms in those without asthma.
Sounds a little crazy saying a water leak can be a fire hazard but modern homes have all kinds of wiring snaking their way through the walls and ceiling. As water finds it’s way through the house, it will come across the wires and pose a fire risk from short-outs. Turning off the electricity in affected rooms will mitigate these risks until an electrician can come out and examine them properly.
Increased Energy Bills
Insulation is the stuff the put throughout your home to make it more energy efficient. From the attic to the walls, insulation is everywhere. When the roof leaks and water gets into the insulation it’s gets saturated rather quickly and can take a very long time to dry out. Saturated insulation reduces it’s effectiveness to the point where it is simply ineffective. This results in higher utility bills as people crank up the heating or air conditioning to compensate for the loss in heat or cold air.
Perhaps the most costly damage from a leaking roof is damage to the very structure of the home. From the frame to the foundation water can damage these to the point where repairs can be very, very expensive. Chronic roof leaks lead to wood deterioration in the rafters, wall framing, and even fascia boards and exterior trim to the point a professional contractor will have to come out to fix it all.
Structural damage is inevitable from a sustained, long neglected roof leak risking damage not only to your property but to the people in the house as well! The last thing you want is to come home to a collapsed roof that damages your new flat screen TV but even worse if it happens while you are watching it.
Walk around your home and look for any signs of water damage and call a local roof contractor for an immediate inspection if you find anything. Putting it off will only cause more problems and cost you more money.