What’s the worst that could happen if you ignore a roof leak? Even a seemingly minor leak can cause a lot of roofing issues in the long run. Remember: moisture damage can easily affect other parts of your home, increasing the cost of what should have been relatively straightforward roof repairs.
Left unattended, a roof leak can cause:
Ceiling and Wall Stains
If too much moisture accumulates in certain parts of your roof, water stains may start to appear on the walls and ceiling. Keep in mind that these stains don’t necessarily indicate the location of the leak, as water follows the path of least resistance. That’s why it’s best to have a professional roofing contractor inspect your home if water stains start to form on the ceiling and walls.
If moisture gathers in parts of your roof that happen to be near electric wiring, it could short some of the wires.
Higher Cooling and Heating Bills
Trapped moisture can reduce insulation’s R-value (the number that gives you an idea of its ability to prevent heat transfer), forcing your HVAC to consume more electricity to keep indoor temperatures at a comfortable level. It doesn’t take a lot of moisture to significantly reduce insulation’s thermal performance; for instance, a 20 percent increase in moisture absorption can reduce your insulation’s R-value by as much as 55%. Not to mention heat or conditioned air can escape through leaks or gaps in your roof.
While roof leaks are one of the usual culprits behind a spike in cooling and heating bills, there are other factors that could be forcing your HVAC system to work overtime. For instance, your attic might not have enough insulation. That’s why it’s important that homeowners have a professional roofing contractor conduct a comprehensive inspection in early fall.
Formation of Mold
Trapped moisture creates a damp environment that’s the perfect breeding ground for mold. Mold is especially problematic because it eats away organic materials such as wood, potentially weakening your roof’s support structure or compromising your home’s structural integrity. Not to mention mold spores can drastically lower indoor air quality and trigger allergy flare-ups.
Why Routine Roof Inspections Are a Must
Deliberately putting off roof repairs is a bad idea. The sooner roof repair can be done, the better. However, the problem in most cases is that leaks aren’t detected fast enough. The tricky thing about detecting leaks is that it takes some time for the signs of moisture damage to appear. By the time the warning signs start to appear, it’s already too late to mitigate moisture damage. That’s why routine roofing inspections and maintenance are a must if you want to keep your roof in good condition.
Why It’s Important to Schedule a Roofing Inspection After a Storm
As a rule of thumb, you should always schedule a roof inspection after a storm. No matter how durable your roof is, it’s bound to suffer some form of damage after an extreme weather event. What if you haven’t noticed any leaks yet? As mentioned earlier, it takes some time for the warning signs of moisture damage start to emerge, which is why it’s best to have a professional contractor inspect your roof after a storm.
What to Expect During an Emergency Roof Repair
If your roof suffered extensive storm damage, you should contact your local contractor as soon as possible. Your roofer will visit your home as soon as the weather clears up. In the meantime, it’d be a good idea to document some of the signs of storm damage—you’ll need these when you file a claim with your insurer later on.
When your roofing contractor arrives, they’ll cover the holes in your roof with a tarp to prevent further moisture damage. After finishing preliminary inspections, your roofing contractor will come back over the coming days to conduct more comprehensive inspections and extensive roof repair.
Important note: Don’t attempt to fix roof leaks yourself, no matter how minor they may seem. Roof repairs that weren’t done by a qualified professional can reduce your insurance payout, not to mention void your warranty. Remember: It’s best to let qualified professionals handle roof repairs and installations.
Tips for Vetting Contractors
Don’t forget to vet a prospective contractor before hiring them. It’s easy to miss the early warning signs, after all.
Don’t have a lot of time to vet your contractor? Here are some vetting tips:
- Hire local – To narrow down your options, focus your search on contractors near your area. What are the advantages of hiring local contractors? For one thing, they’ll be able to conduct emergency roof repair since they’re near your home. And since they’re more familiar with the local climate and building codes, they can make better recommendations. Local contractors are also known for their personalized service. After all, they have a reputation to uphold in their community. Not to mention the success of any local business depends on support from within the local community.
- Ask for references – Ask friends and neighbors if they’ve worked with any of the local roofing contractors.
- Skim through online reviews – Another way of narrowing down your options is to check a contractor’s online reviews. Keep in mind that a negative review isn’t necessarily a red flag. After all, miscommunication can happen even in the best circumstances. What you should focus on instead is whether the contractor took the time to respond to customer complaints. And if they did, was it done in a professional manner?
What if the contractor doesn’t have a website? That’s a red flag in itself. In this day and age, there’s just no excuse for not having an online presence.
- Check a contractor’s experience – The number of years a contractor has been working in the industry should give you a good idea of their level of expertise.
- Check a contractor’s certifications – Here’s another way of gauging a contractor’s level of expertise: Check their certifications. Manufacturers and independent non-profits vet contractors before giving them certifications, so in a sense, they already did all the vetting work for you. For instance, in order for a roofer to get a certification from GAF®—one of the most trusted names in the industry—they need to be properly licensed, adequately insured, have a proven reputation in their local community or among previous clients, and committed to continuous professional training.
- Factory-certified contractors, in particular, have been specifically trained to install a certain kind of roofing material, so you can rest easy knowing that they’re highly qualified. And if your roof needs to be replaced, hiring a factory-certified has its benefits. For instance, roofing systems installed by GAF-certified roofing contractors are eligible for exclusive warranties that offer stronger protection than standard warranties. Not to mention they have access to high-quality roofing materials from GAF. To learn more about your warranty options, consult a GAF-certified roofer.
What If You Don’t Have Enough Funds for Roof Repairs?
Another possible reason why some homeowners would delay roof repairs would be that they don’t have enough funds. Fortunately, some roofing contractors offer convenient and flexible financing options that can suit your needs. To learn more about them, consult your local contractor.
Looking for experienced roofers near you?
VillWell Builders, LLC, a GAF-certified roofer with over 15 years of experience, offers a wide range of professional exterior services, including emergency roof repair and roof installation services, as well as flexible financing options. To schedule an appointment, call us at (203) 879-2118 or fill out this form.