Even a small roof leak can lead to water damage and rapid mold growth in your attic — both of which are costly issues. Maintaining your roof and conducting a regular mold inspection is vital to catching damage early and preventing big issues later.

The question is, do you know where to look for leaks? If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t, so here are six places where your roof can leak.

1. Old or Damaged Roof Valleys

A roof valley is where two planes of a roof meet, creating a seam of sorts in the roofing material.

Roof valleys can be prone to leaks if the roofer doesn’t properly install and safeguard them.

You can spot roof valley damage by watching for discoloration, such as dark shingles or rust.

During the mold inspection, it’s also a good idea to look up in the attic — specifically where your roof peaks.

2. Leak from the Attic

An attic leak isn’t necessarily from your roof at all. While there may be damage somewhere on your roof allowing water into the attic, there could also be a ventilation issue.

If your roof is poorly insulated or has insufficient ventilation, temperature shifts can lead to condensation build-up — and you’d be surprised how much water condensate can create.

When you conduct your mold inspection, always check your attic as well.

If there’s a humidity issue, make sure you have enough airflow and insulation. If that’s not the issue, consider purchasing an attic dehumidifier.

3. Rotting Roof Decking

Roof decking is the support material of your roof. It sits directly above the trusses and joists and forms a surface or “deck” for the rest of your roof. It is a structurally integral part of your roof and, unfortunately, it can rot.

Roof deck rot is usually the result of damaged shingles, nail holes, ice dams, or poor gutter maintenance. A rotting roof deck can’t be repaired and must be replaced — and quickly.

Sagging spots are a tell-tale sign of roof decking rot. During the mold inspection, watch for an uneven roofline.

4. Gutters, Fascia and Soffits

Gutters, fascia and soffits work together to direct water off your roof.

As they often see a steady flow of water, they are a prime spot for leaks.

While the components can wear out over time (10 to 15 years in some cases), the most common cause of leaks in these areas is lack of maintenance.

Clogged gutters, in particular, are frequently the culprit. Clean your gutters at least twice a year and watch for cracks and other damage in your fascia and soffits.

5. Old, Damaged Vent Pipes and Chimney Flashing

Vent pipes and chimneys create holes in your roof, and no matter how well they are sealed, they can leak. During your mold inspection, check for cracked rubber, loose fasteners and rusty attachments or nails.

Chimney caps can also be an issue.

If your chimney cap is damaged or blew off during a storm, rainwater can flow freely into your home.

6. Roof Add-ons

Anything that creates a gap in your roofing creates an increased risk of leaks — and that includes skylights. During your mold inspection, check your roof add-ons, such as skylights, for problems.

Skylights are especially concerning because they create a large opening with glass rather than just a small pipe or vent. This leaves them vulnerable to even more problems.

Common skylight problems include:

  • Excessive condensation
  • Broken closure mechanisms
  • Damaged weather seals
  • Cracked glass

Preventing Mold Growth

It is arguably impossible — according to the Environmental Protection Agency — to get rid of mold spores in your home.

What you can do is ensure that those spores don’t have the moisture they need to spread. That means doing everything you can to prevent roof leaks and catching them early if they do occur.

James Brandon is a roofing specialist and owner of Hometown Roofing ATX.

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