After spending a fortune installing a new roof, the last thing you expect is a roof leak. A new roof should last 20-25 years. However, some new roofs develop leaks a few months after installation, which can cause a stir.
You’ll probably be shocked, given the money you spent on the new roof. Then there’s the likelihood of water damage which can ruin your furniture, carpet, and other property in your home, not to mention mold growth compromising your home’s air quality. So, what do you do when you notice a water leak on your new roof? Read on to find out:
Investigate the Source of a Water Leak
The first step is to identify the source of the water leak. You may head to the attic to look for areas of light penetrating through the roof or use a ladder to climb up the roof to identify areas where water leaks.
It would also help pour water over the roof to see areas where it drains. You can use a garden hose to soak the areas where the leaks appear in the house. You may soak the downhill side of the chimney, roofing vent, or other area and ask your friend to identify any drips in the house.
Alternatively, look for any roof penetrations. Items that penetrate the roof, e.g., roof vents, plumbing, chimneys, and dormers, are the most common causes of roof leaks. Mold growth, water stains, and black marks near these areas are telltale signs of a leak.
If you still can’t find the leak, remove the shingles near the suspect area to see if there’s a leak. This technique allows you to identify the exact source of the leak. The area may be water-stained, or the wood directly below it could be rotten.
You must be cautious when climbing the roof to avoid slipping and falling. Non-slip shoes can prevent slipping, but you also must avoid climbing roofs with steep angles. You can ask a friend to help you or enlist the help of a roofing contractor to help with roof repairs and fix the leaking roof.
Search for Multiple Roofing Contractors
Now that you know the leak’s location contact the roofing company that installed the roof. Their contacts should be readily available, especially if they installed the roof a few months or weeks ago. If the damage results from poor installation, it’s likely to be covered under warranty. Licensed roofers usually offer warranties for work done; otherwise, you’ll likely pay for the roofing services out of pocket. Some common causes of new roof leaks are:
- Cracked shingles tiles: The contractors could have rushed the installation process and left one or more shingles broken. A broken shingle can cause a roof leak
- Flashing: Flashing happens when the metal strips between the roof joints and the shingles aren’t sealed properly, causing leaks
- Proximity to the chimney or HVAC unit: Areas around these components are prone to leaks, especially when the roofing material doesn’t adhere to their form. Roofs with steep pitches or valleys are more likely to develop leaks around such areas
- Poor installation of seams: Sometimes the seams of the roofing membrane aren’t well-secured, allowing water to seep through the small gaps
Working with an experienced roofer can save such problems because they have done roof installation multiple times. The best way to find one is to research multiple roofing contractors before hiring one.
You can start by asking your friends and family members or get referrals from the Homeowner Association. Call two or three and schedule consultations to ask important questions, such as if they offer warranties. It’s also an excellent opportunity to check references, compare bids, their qualifications, and negotiate the final price.
Read the Customer Reviews for Several Companies
Even after getting referrals from reliable local roofers from credible sources, it’s important to check what customers say about the company. Roofers may try to impress you during a consultation, but it’s not easy to tell if they will keep their promises.
Customer reviews can help you get such information. You’ll know if the roofer addresses complaints promptly and if they handle them professionally. A BrightLocal Consumer Review Survey survey found that 49% of customers rely on four-star online reviews before trusting a business.
Online reviews can also help you keep off false claims. Customers’ experiences working with clients can help you determine their trustworthiness.
Notice if the Roofer Does Both Commercial and Residential Roofing
The next step is determining if the roofer does commercial and residential roofing. This is particularly important for property owners who need commercial roofing services. Although both categories offer roofing services, they differ in the type of properties they can handle.
Residential roofing contractors install and repair roofs on homes that are often designed according to decor designs, colors, and patterns. They’re also more acquainted with working on roofs that stretch over a small area, unlike commercial roofs. This also means installing a residential roof takes less time than their counterparts.
On the other hand, commercial roofing contractors can handle the complexity associated with commercial roofs. For example, commercial roofs have multiple layers of insulation and metal that must be installed. This means specialized tools, safety equipment, and materials are required, unlike residential roofing.
Commercial roofs also require more maintenance than residential roofs. Commercial roofs are often flat, hence more prone to leaks than steep-sloped residential roofs. Their designs don’t allow water to drain quickly, causing moisture to collect on the surface for extended periods.
Routine roof inspections are also necessary to identify any roof damage and perform repairs promptly before minor problems escalate to water damage. The roofing membranes on commercial flat roofs are particularly prone to splitting and cracking as they bear the brunt of nature.
As a result, water seeps through the membrane making the roof insulation waterlogged, which turns into water leaks over time. Such water leaks are challenging to identify except if the commercial roofing contractor inspects the roof membrane regularly.
Inquire if Chimney Repair May Also Be Necessary
Since roof leaks around the chimney are common, you may wonder if your local roofer offers chimney repair services. The truth is only a few roofers have the experience or knowledge to perform repairs on chimneys.
Chimneys must be connected adequately to the roof structure to prevent wind loads based on the wind exposure and speed category. Also, they need waterproofing to resist water leakage during high-wind events like hurricanes.
As such, if the roofer identifies a roof leak around the chimney, it would help to research reliable chimney repair companies near you and hire one to repair the leak. When you schedule an appointment with the technician, ask them if they have experience repairing chimney leaks.
Find Out if the Roofer Also Repairs Gutters
You must determine if your roofer repairs gutters as these parts are intertwined. The gutter system is always replaced during new roof installation and inspection. Gutters help rainwater drain away from the roof and your home, preventing water from pooling and infiltrating the walls, attic, and basement.
They also have holes where pests like squirrels, raccoons, and insects use to get into the attic. These holes can allow water to seep through hence replacing defective gutter systems ensures rainwater is drained away from the house effectively.
You also need to inquire if the roofer offers gutter repair service to ensure the new roof matches the gutter system. Since roofing materials have unique requirements and dimensions, a new gutter system comes with a new roof. If it’s not replaced, there’s likely to be a mismatch rendering the seal ineffective, which causes water leaks.
Compare Prices Between Your Roofer and Other Gutter Companies
In case the roof leaks result from an old gutter system, you may need to engage the local gutter company to do it. As mentioned previously, roofers can replace gutter systems like professional gutter companies.
However, if you’re torn between hiring the roofer or the local gutter company, it would help to compare their rates. The roofer will likely charge for the service and other services they offer. For example, if the roof leak results from an old gutter system, they didn’t replace it.
You may need to be more thorough by comparing line-by-line items like the roofing materials and labor. These items impact the final cost of the project. You don’t want to pay for more overhead or labor costs on a new roof. Ask the contractor to clarify costs that seem unclear.
Sometimes, roofing contractors leave off important roofing materials or replace them with substandard ones to reduce costs while charging the same rate. If hiring a gutter company, it would help to compare prices from different local gutter companies before hiring one. Check their testimonials, references, experience, and if they’re licensed.
Decide if the Contractors Offer Services Within Your Budget
You’re probably looking to cut costs, having paid for a new roof a few months or weeks ago, but it shouldn’t be too low to compromise on the quality of the services provided. It’s tempting to enlist the help of a roofing contractor offering the cheapest estimates, but they’re likely using inferior roofing materials or engaging inexperienced roofers to do the work.
A good rule of thumb is to communicate your budget and ask the contractor if they offer roof repair services within that budget. General contractors are often flexible to accommodate your budget, and the charges are modest.
Although leak repair costs vary depending on the cause, they shouldn’t exceed $1195 (the national average). Most repairs fall into the $390-$2000 range, but some factors can escalate the cost. For example, leaks that result from chimney problems or old gutters may be more expensive to repair. On the other hand, minor repairs like sealing a vent can cost as low as $150.
Choose a Contractor Who is Available Soon
Working with a roofer who will be available soon is important. Roof leaks can cause water damage destroying the property in the house hence the need for them to start work as soon as possible.
A good rule of thumb is to find a local general contractor within your neighborhood. Such contractors are reputable and experienced members of the community who won’t disappear into thin air. Such a roofer will likely be available when you need the roof replaced or repaired. They’ll also notice minor roof problems and repair them preventing them from becoming major ones.
For example, if the roof has a loose flashing and remains unattended, it will cause a roof leak into the attic and destroy the ceiling, drywall, insulation, and more. When working with a reliable roofer, you can hire them to make quick repairs, saving you thousands of dollars.
Hire a Contractor Who Has the Most Experience
Experience is critical when hiring a roofer to repair a roof leak. Although new roofing companies know the basics of installing and repairing roofs, they might not have the experience of a seasoned professional.
They have years of industry experience and can handle the eventualities of fixing a roof leak. For example, when an old roof is replaced, it’s common for a roofer to identify additional problems. If it happens, an experienced commercial contractor is better prepared to deal with the issues due to their experience.
What’s more, you can leverage their expertise in identifying high-quality materials. They have developed reliable networks of suppliers over the years, providing them with a broader selection of roofing materials, including metal, synthetic, cedar shake, and more.
Generally, shingle manufacturers certify roofing contractors to offer better roof warranties. The warranty adds to the workmanship warranty that protects a roof from installation errors. This means the roofing contractor should pay for the cost if the roof leak is due to poor craftsmanship.
On the other hand, the manufacturer’s warranty protects you from defects in roofing materials during manufacturing. For example, a warranty on asphalt shingles is 30 years pro rata.
A roof leak from your new roof doesn’t always necessitate a roof replacement. These ten points discussed can help you deal with the leak without breaking the bank. Remember to contact your roofing contractor and thoroughly research if you must engage a different one. Compare multiple roofing contractors and vet them before hiring one.