Leaks & Service Repairs

757-399-3066 ext 3 (Leaks & Service Repairs)

Reroof Estimates & Inspections

757-399-3066 ext 1 (Reroof Estimates & Inspections)

Tag: dark spot on ceiling

Leaks Don’t Always Start at the Roof

When you see water spots on your ceiling or water starts trickling down a wall, it’s common to assume that the cause is a defect or damage to your roof. But just because water is coming from somewhere above you, doesn’t necessarily mean your roof is to blame. Unfortunately, there can be many reasons for water leaks, so before you panic and assume you need a whole new roof, investigate some of these other alternative sources.

HVAC Systems
If you have an air handler system that resides in your attic, take a look at this first. There are myriad reasons why an HVAC unit may be leaking, so don’t dismiss it if it’s not obvious at first glance. First, check your unit’s drain pan. This is a metal pan that collects water and filters it to a drain, removing it from the house. Over time, the exposure to moisture can cause drain pans to rust and degrade, allowing water to leak out of the unit.

Another common cause of HVAC leaks is a clogged condensation drain. Over time, as water flows through this drain line, mold and mildew can build up, causing backups of condensation. If this is the cause of the leak, you will need to have an HVAC professional snake the drain, remove the obstruction and clean the line. Leaks can also be caused by faulty drain pumps or low refrigerant. If your HVAC is older or hasn’t been functioning properly, give this a look first and if you spot any issues, call in an HVAC maintenance company to inspect and repair the unit.

Hot Water Heaters
In an area like Hampton Roads where basements are few and far between, it’s not uncommon for builders to put hot water heaters in an attic. Yes, it means it’s out of the way and isn’t a daily eye sore, but it can become a big problem when (not if) it springs a leak. Hot water heaters are not meant to last forever, and they will eventually fail in one way or another.

If you have a hot water heater in your attic and have detected water spots, mold or mildew on the ceiling or in corners, check it immediately. Even a very small leak can cause major damage to joists, ceilings, insulation, and personal belongings. A licensed plumber will need to be contacted to safely remove and reinstall a new hot water heater if this is the case. You may also want to discuss with them the possibility of moving the hot water heater to a better location or switching to a tankless hot water heater.

Mortar Leaks
Mortar leaks can still cause damage to interior walls and corners as well as foundations, basements and along the length of an interior wall. Mortar joints in cinder block, stone or brick walls can deteriorate over time, allowing water to penetrate either through paths left by mortar gaps or directly through the stone. If your home is older and is brick or stone, take a look around the exterior of your house and see if you can spot any damp spots or visible gaps or missing mortar – especially around the areas where you’ve seen water damage inside. If so, you should contact a licensed contractor or mason to do the necessary repairs before the interior damage becomes worse and causes structural and foundational issues.

Siding leaks
Likewise, if you see stains like the ones described above, but your home is sided with vinyl or aluminum, there could be a similar issue. Openings at the lap joints of vinyl siding, as well as drain openings along the bottom edge of most vinyl siding products, allow the system to breathe and drain off any wind-blown rain that may enter behind the siding. If the house wrap or door or window flashing behind the siding is not properly installed or has sustained damage, the water that should be draining can enter the structure instead. These types of leaks can be slow to show up on the interior and by the time they do, they may have caused extensive wood rot, mold, and insect damage. To avoid this, do regular visual inspections of your home’s siding, looking for any gaps between planks or holes that may have been caused by storm damage or animals.

Burst Pipes
Any plumbing that runs through your walls, ceilings or attic may be the cause of water damage you spot inside your home. Particularly if your home is older and has not had any plumbing material upgrades done to it, deterioration may be occurring. Since most plumbing is hidden away behind walls, many people first detect a plumbing leak by spikes in their water bill. If your bill is suddenly significantly more than usual, it may be time to start a visual inspection of the pipes you are able to see or listen for areas where you may hear trickling or dripping. This is particularly common when you have a bathroom upstairs – toilets, sinks and bathtubs can easily spring slow leaks that over time create large, ugly water stains on the ceiling below. If this is the case, call in a professional plumber as soon as possible to fix the issue.

Window leaks
Old windows or improperly installed windows are common sources of leaks. If the casing around a window has rotted or was installed incorrectly, rainstorms can easily penetrate the exterior of your home. Often you will be able to see water coming in from the window casing, but other times the water collects between the wall and drywall, creating damp spots, mold and mildew. This can mimic the siding and mortar leaks we discussed above, so if you’re not sure what the cause is, call in a licensed contractor to help you determine the best way forward.

Gutters and fascia
Fascia is technically a part of your roof that covers the eaves above your gutter system. However, leaks in these areas are not always caused by the roof itself, but by clogged gutters. When a gutter system is full of debris, water can’t drain properly and will build up, pushing up against the fascia and causing rot. Over time this rot can allow that water buildup into the house, causing leaks that look very much like a true roof leak, with water coming down the sides of the wall or causing wet spots in corners. To avoid this, have your gutters cleaned regularly and the fascia board inspected and replaced if any rot has occurred.

If you investigate these other potential causes and still can’t find the source of the leak, it may be time to call in a qualified roofing professional. At Andrews Roofing, we provide roof inspections and repairs for all types of commercial and residential structures and on any type of roofing material. Don’t let a leak cause additional costly damage to your home. Contact us today.

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How to Know When Your Roof Needs a Checkup

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care, but that doesn’t just apply to your physical health. The same could be said for anything you maintain, including your house and its major systems such as your roof. While there’s no getting around the fact that a roof will eventually need to be replaced, there are many things that can happen over the course of a roof’s lifespan that should be serviced, repaired and maintained. This is especially true in areas prone to severe weather such as the Hampton Roads region.

But how do you know when you should call in a professional roofing contractor? Here are a few things to keep an eye out for to help extend the lifespan of your roof.

Curling, cracking or buckling shingles are a tell-tale sign that your roof needs some attention. You may also notice asphalt granules in your gutters, which have deteriorated from damaged shingles. This doesn’t mean you need an entirely new roofing system! While this type of roof symptom can sometimes be a sign that a roof has reached the end of its serviceable life, it can also be an isolated incident that simply needs to be repaired or patched.

While it may not necessitate a total replacement, shingles that are damaged or worn should be a high priority on your home to-do list. Just a few curling shingles can allow water to penetrate your roof causing leaks, mildew and other interior damage.

Speaking of interior damage, dark spots on your ceiling or walls also signal that it’s time to have a roofing professional come out and inspect. Even if you don’t see a hole or missing or damaged shingles from the outside, the leak may still be the result of a failure in your roofing system such as loose or missing flashing, backed up gutters or damage that simply isn’t visible from the ground.

Dark spots indicate that moisture has penetrated your roof, the sheathing, decking, and potentially attic flooring. These are serious signs that should be attended to as soon as possible by a professional to ensure additional damage does not occur and that harmful mold and mildew do not start to grow.

Moisture in your attic may also be a sign of problems with your roof as well as your insulation. If you find that the insulation, wood, flooring, ductwork or other items in your attic seem damp, it may be caused by a lack of proper ventilation and/or unsatisfactory insulation. But these issues, over time, can also affect the health of your roof by causing water damage to decking from the underside. An ideal attic temperature is close to that of the temperature outside. This prevents condensation, which is often the cause of interior moisture damage. A licensed professional contractor will need to address these issues if you find them.

Of course, sometimes all of these things indicate that a roof has simply reached the end of its lifespan and needs to be replaced. Most modern asphalt shingle roofs have a lifespan of 20-30 years. In the cities of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake and across the Tidewater region, many homes and large neighborhoods were constructed in the 1990’s, making them the age now to need total replacement.

A qualified roofing company can provide you with a roofing checkup to help you determine whether a repair or total roof replacement makes the most sense for your home and budget. At Andrews Roofing, we provide professional evaluations, customized quotes and affordable financing options as well. Whether you think your roof needs an ounce of prevention or a pound of care, we can help. Contact Andrews Roofing today.

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Anatomy of a Roof Leak

No one wants to hear that dreaded “drip drip drip” that means you’ve got a roof leak. Or looking up and suddenly seeing a big dark spot on the ceiling. But when you do, your first thoughts are probably “how did this happen?” and “where exactly is this coming from?” Understanding the answers to these two questions is the key to getting your roof leak fixed quickly and efficiently and also to possibly avoiding them in the first place.

How do roof leaks start?

Typically, a leak will start one of two ways: damage or deterioration. However, there are many different types of both damage and deterioration that may have occurred and that might not be immediately obvious. Here are several that are common for homes in the Hampton Roads area.

Storm Damage

This likely is the most obvious source of a roof leak and also one of the most common in the Tidewater region. Thanks to hurricanes, nor’easters, snow storms and torrential rains, there are myriad ways a Hampton Roads roof can be damaged. But storm damage isn’t always as obvious as a giant tree falling through your roof. Sometimes damage can occur that isn’t noticeable right away. Hurricane force winds can blow flashing off a house, which can eventually lead to water damage and leaks. Winter storms can cause limbs heavy with snow or ice to drop onto a roof and cause a hole that you aren’t able to see or hear right away. Torrential rain can cause gutters to overflow and damage roof decking.

Your homeowners insurance may cover this type of damage, but you have to identify it and file your claim in a timely manner. This means that after each major storm, you should visually inspect your property for any damage on both the inside and outside of your roof. If you believe any damage may have occurred, you should call a licensed roofing company to come and physically inspect and provide any estimates needed for insurance purposes.

Clogged Gutters

Clogged gutters are a common cause of roof leaks, but they are also one of the most preventable. When gutters are clogged, water can build up on the roof, getting under the shingles and causing water damage that could eventually lead to a leak. If you notice dark spots on your ceiling near the outer edges of the house, this may be a gutter issue. Cleaning your gutters (or having them cleaned by a professional) 3-4 times a year is the best way to avoid this issue altogether.

Condensation

Believe it or not, a leak can start inside your home, without the exterior of your roof being damaged at all. That’s because condensation build up in an attic can cause interior leaks. This happens when there is not proper ventilation or proper insulation that would prevent extreme temperature changes – something that is not uncommon here in southeast Virginia. In addition to causing leaks, this condensation build up can also be the source of mold and mildew. Ensuring proper ventilation and insulation is installed in your attic and along your roof line is critical to avoid this type of leak.

Missing or Damaged Flashing

Flashing is just as critical to the integrity of your roof as shingles. Flashing is the metal that covers joints and seams on a roof, and when it is not installed and sealed properly, water can enter and damage the roof decking. If flashing isn’t well attached, it can move or get blown away during a storm. It also ages just like shingles, so corrosion or cracks in the metal could also allow water to enter your home. If some of your flashing is visible from the ground, inspect it after every major storm. However, some flashing may be difficult to see or access and in those cases, a licensed roofing contractor can inspect those areas if you believe there is an issue.

Deterioration

If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, it may be deteriorating and causing leaks. Every roof has a lifespan, although that number can vary greatly depending on the material used. For traditional asphalt shingles, 20 years is usually the lifespan. Fiber cement shingles can last closer to 30 and metal roofing can last for 50 or more years. As roofing materials age, they can become brittle and shingles may crack or warp, allowing water to get underneath. They may also fall off more easily – even during a less than severe storm. If you know your roof is nearing the end of its life, it’s better to replace it before a leak causes interior damage, requiring you to repair multiple areas of your home.

What to do when your roof starts leaking

When a leak occurs, it’s time to bring in the professionals. Roof repair can be dangerous for the average DIY’er and if not done properly, can cause more damage or void material warranties. Instead, research your local roofing contractors and find one with a good reputation in your community. The sooner you contact them, the less damage the leak can cause, so don’t put this task off.

At Andrews Roofing, we’ve been helping homeowners in Hampton Roads repair or replace their roofs for decades. We have experience with the specific types of damage and leaks common in this area, and we have the knowledge, skills and experience to make it right, right away. Contact us today.

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