When Will My Roof Leak?

Water Bucket Solid State Home Inspections

The following article was published in December's Snap Coquitlam Newspaper.

Death, taxes, and rain. These are three certainties when it comes to living life on the Canadian West Coast. I’ll leave death and taxes up to the experts in those businesses but when it comes to rain, I don’t think anyone can be an expert. The weatherman can predict it, we can all experience it, but it still has a tendency to surprise us at the worst moments and nothing surprises us more than when our warm and dry roof suddenly leaks.

Our roofs take a real beating from the environment. In the summer, the sun bakes the materials wearing down its defenses. In the winter, branches and debris drag along its surface while wind driven rains try to tear it apart. If you had to stand in our outdoor elements 24/7, 365 days a year, you would look much worse in 20 years which is the life we expect our roof to survive.

There are many different types of roof systems but there are some common failures in all roof systems. Places where concentrated water flows, like in roof valleys, or anywhere the roof system is penetrated like at chimneys or vents, are high risk areas for leaks. Unfortunately, small leaks can also be very difficult to track down as the water can run down attic surfaces before showing itself on the interior ceiling.

If you are concerned about how your roof is going to hold up through this rainy season, here are some things for you to investigate:

  • What material is your roof made from and when was it installed? Most roof products have an average life around 20 years but cement or clay tiles can last much longer.
  • When was your roof last serviced? If your roof is over 10 years old, it should be serviced every 1-2 years by a professional roofer. A small amount of roofer patch now could save you thousands of dollars in repairs later.
  • Do you have a replacement plan?  Do you have a budget to replace your roof when it is due?

Roof systems are very complex and even a new roof can leak unexpectedly. Your best protection against a leaky roof is regular maintenance and a pro-active replacement plan. Lastly, always get at least 3 quotes on any roof replacement as prices for similar work can vary by as much as 300%.

By James Bell - Owner/Operator of Solid State Inspections Inc.