Winter rain storms hit Melbourne hard. And with rain comes leaking roofs. But the rain isn’t the true cause of the leak. It’s just the reminder that something in your home isn’t quite working the way it’s supposed to.
Maybe it’s broken roof tiles. Maybe it’s faulty solar panel installation. Maybe it’s overflowing gutters.
There are a limitless number of problems that could be causing your leaking roof. But they all share one thing in common: they let water into places where you don’t want it to be. From a minor inconvenience to an expensive nightmare, leaking roofs in Melbourne are not to be ignored.
So in this post, we’ll take a close look at the most common (and not so common) causes of roof leaks, the risks you run if you let them persist, and the roof leak repair solutions you can implement to keep your property safe.
Emergency Roof Repairs
Before we get into too much detail, let’s start with this. If you have serious roof leaks going on and are in need of emergency roof repair today, contact Vivify Roofing immediately on 1300 475 097. We can help keep your head above water while you search for a long term solution. With 15 years of business in leaking roof repairs Melbourne residents have come to trust us to provide quality work at a fair price.
Common Causes of Roof Leaks in Melbourne
The first step in fixing your leaking roof is the diagnosis. Just like any sort of repair job, you can’t implement a solution without knowing the root cause of the problem. So use this section as a guide to help you figure out exactly what is going wrong with your roof.
According to yourhome.gov.au, Roof leaks are often best detected when it’s raining.
Broken Roof Tiles
Broken roof tiles are often one of the most obvious causes of leaking roofs. Interestingly enough, roof tiles are very sturdy, and both concrete and terracotta tiles have quite a long lifespan and won’t usually break on their own. Generally, some outside force is necessary to cause enough impact to break them. This could come in the form of a fallen tree limb, a heavy object being thrown by a child, or even someone walking on the roof.
Rain, Wind, Hail and Storm Damage
Even the most sturdy roof is no match for Melbourne weather, a city where hail can be the size of a golf ball. Our weather conditions can be quite brutal in winter, strong winds of up to 100kph, large sized hail, flash flooding and falling trees are common. In extreme circumstances, sheets of old tin roofing have even been ripped off during the storms.
According to this study from James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia, Windstorms cause most of the damage to housing in Australia.
Missing Ridge Tiles or Ridge Cap Problems
If you aren’t aware, ridge caps are the tiles or shingles that protect your roof where two angles meet at the peaks of your roof. These are one of the most important elements to diverting rain water off of the roof. When they are improperly installed or if they are damaged, leaking roofs will follow. Over time, you can expect the pointing and bedding beneath your ridge caps to deteriorate, even if they were installed perfectly. So, if your roof is particularly old, this could definitely be the source of your leaks. Leaks of this sort can be tough to diagnose, though. Since the source of the leak is actually beneath the ridge cap, it is difficult to find it without first removing the cap.
Faulty Chimney Waterproofing
Anywhere that angles meet on your roof is a potential threat for leaks. Chimneys have four separate walls, which means four separate chances for something to go wrong. Typically, flashing is installed at the lines where your chimney and roof meet in order to prevent water seepage.
Over time, though, or due to faulty installation, the flashing fails. Often, the cause is rust or cracking. Sometimes, you can repair these with simple application of a sealant. Other times, you’ll need to replace the flashing altogether.
Damaged and Stuffed Gutters
Your gutters are a critical element of your home’s water protection system. If the roof does its job to get the water flowing downward, your gutters are meant to help channel it safely away from your home in an orderly manner.
Poorly installed gutter guards, can also clog up your gutters which will of course then lead to a leak.
When gutters are overstuffed or damaged, though, the water may instead have nowhere to go except into your house, often coming in through the windows. You can often tell if gutters are your problem simply by inspecting them visually. If they are stuffed with leaves, twigs, or even growing a little garden, cleaning them out may resolve your leaking roof.
Pipes that run to your roof can also be a major source of leaks because, just like chimneys, they add an extra region that needs to be sealed. If you have vent pipes, exhaust flues, fan ducts, or other plumbing that runs through your roof, inspect the sealing around the exit point for cracks or deterioration.
The good news is that Vivify Roofing keeps an in-house qualified plumber on staff for just these reasons. We’ve worked with enough roof plumbing to know that subcontracting this type of work isn’t a good idea. Our qualified plumber is a pro at diagnosing and repairing roof leaks caused by faulty plumbing.
Flashing the edge of your roof is one of the most important steps to any roof installation. A roofer needs to find a balance between aesthetics and functionality. When it’s done incorrectly, leaking can be almost immediate—even on a brand new roof. Likewise, over time, flashing may become damaged, worn, and cracked. Whether it’s due to poor installation or just time and environmental issues, faulty flashing will need to be repaired if you want your leaks to stop.
Solar Panel Problems
One of the most common concerns from homeowners seeking solar panel installation is the potential for roof leaks. In truth, solar panels should not cause your roof to leak, as long as they are properly installed by a licensed professional. However, if your solar panels were installed by people who did not really know what they were doing, they could have easily damaged your roof during the process.
If leaks present themselves shortly after having solar panels installed, this is likely the cause of your issues. The problem can be fixed, but you’ll need to act fast to prevent long term damage. It’s probably not going to be a do-it-yourself job, so you’ll want to call a roofing company that is experienced in solar panel leak repair.
Skylights work wonders for adding much needed natural light to the darker corners of your home. But they are also a common source of leaking roofs in Melbourne.
For starters, they are an interruption to the normal function of your roof, so there is much room for error if they aren’t installed properly. Additionally, your skylight probably doesn’t have as long of a life span as your roof. So it could start leaking even if the rest of your roof is in tip top shape. Finally, leaves, dirt, and other debris can collect around your skylight, causing water to pool and eventually leak into your home rather than slide off the roof the way it is meant to.
Risks Associated With Leaking Roofs
Now that you know a bit about why your roof might be leaking, it’s important to consider what you could be risking if you let the problem persist. While you might think that placing a bucket to catch that occasional drip in your kitchen is the perfect solution to your leak, think again. Left unattended, the smallest roof leak can cause some of the biggest damage your house has ever incurred, and it will definitely end up costing way more than if you had it fixed when the problem first started occurring.
Damage to Your Attic and Its Contents
Obviously, it is not very common in Australia to have an attic, but regardless if you do have one and water starts leaking into your home, the attic will be the first place it’s going to touch down. Immediately, this could damage any property that you have stored up there and in the long term, attic leaks will also deteriorate your insulation, damage electrical components, and wear away at the wood and subroof.
Damage to Your Ceiling and Walls
If the leak isn’t in your attic, it’s probably coming in through your ceiling. This could lead to unsightly water stains, bubbling paint, and ruined plaster. Water likes to travel, so what starts as ceiling damage can easily spread to adjacent walls. Be especially wary of water that leaks near light fixtures or ceiling fans, as these present electrical hazards as well.
Damage To Your Home’s Structure
What’s worse than water falling on your head? An entire house falling in on you.
While that might be a bit of an exaggeration, water leaks can cause very expensive structural damage to your home’s frame, rafters, and ceiling joists. Wood isn’t meant to be exposed to water over the long term. It will warp, rot, and deteriorate. Ultimately, left unchecked, damage to your home’s structure could result in unsafe living conditions and a potential life risk to you and your family.
Rampant water leaks can easily deteriorate the insulation in your attic and walls. Over time, you’ll experience increased utility bills as your home struggles to keep itself at the right temperature.
Believe it or not, water damage can increase your risk of fire damage. When water comes into prolonged contact with wires or junction boxes, it can wear away at the insulation. Left unattended, open circuits will then become hazards for electrical fires.
Likewise, water that comes into contact with open wires may present the risk of electrical shock. If you have any suspicion that your roof leak is reaching your electrical systems, you should shut off the power to the affected areas immediately and seek the assistance of a licensed electrician.
Reduced Roof Lifespan
If you are putting off leak repairs due to budget concerns, consider the long term cost of not repairing the leak now. If it gets serious, water damage can significantly reduce the lifetime of your entire roof. The cost to repair the leak now will pale in comparison to the cost of replacing your entire roof ten years earlier than you should have to.
Mould and Mildew Growth
Perhaps the most important reason to not let leaking roofs persist is due to the very real and serious threat posed by mould and mildew. These fungi love to breed in warm, moist places. And water trapped in your roof and ceilings provides a lovely breeding ground for them.
What starts in your roof can quickly spread throughout your entire house. Your insulation can easily grow mouldy, and because it’s hidden behind your walls, the problem often spreads far and wide before you even know about it. Without warning, all of a sudden your air conditioning system and ducted heating has been compromised and your vents become highways that give mould free reign of the house.
While a mould infestation can drop your property value, even more serious is the health threat it poses to you and your family. Mild symptoms include sore throat and stuffy noses, but severe mould reactions cause headaches, fatigue, nerve damage and chronic health problems.
Solutions for Repairing Your Leaking Roof
So, what are your options when it comes to repairing your roof leak? We hope we have made it clear that waiting for the problem to go away is not on the menu. There is just too much at risk. So here are some actions you can take when it is time to fix that leak.
Do-it-yourself Leak Repair
It is possible to repair your own leaks in some cases, but be prepared for one of the most frustrating home repair tasks you have ever encountered. If you do not spend every waking hour working with roofs, then you may have a very hard time identifying the source of your leak. Once you do find it, you may make the repairs and if you do not do it properly, you will find out at the next storm that the leak is still there. So you’ll go at it again, and the process repeats itself over and over again.
That’s not always the case, of course, but we are just trying to show how repairing a leaky roof is a bit different than, say, replacing a plank on your deck. It’s not always a one and done job.
The type of roof repair you’ll need depends on the problem you’re trying to solve. If you have small cracks in your roof tiles, you can usually fix these with roofing cement to seal up the source of the leak. If tiles have larger breaks that can’t simply be sealed, you’ll need to replace them instead.
Sometimes, the source of the leak isn’t from obvious damage, but instead due to problems with the membrane beneath the tile. These are trickier to locate, but once you do you will need to replace the tiles, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
Professional Leak Repair
If you aren’t going to repair your own leaking roof, then you’ll want to call a licensed and qualified professional who will treat your home with care. Since your roof is one of the most valuable pieces of your home, make sure that you hire a company that is insured. The last thing you want is amateurs who damage your home and don’t have the insurance to compensate you.
And be wary of storm chasers and door to door roofers. They will often use high pressure sales tactics and prey on people who are distraught after major storm damage. In the end, they usually do quick, shoddy work that is just going to cost you more to have a professional undo in the end, so we suggest getting it done properly in the first place.
Always choose a local roofer with a track record of success in your area. Browsing online reviews is a good way to ensure you are hiring a quality team. Here are a few reasons that we think Vivify Roofing stands out among the rest:
We have 15 years of experience with the roofs of Melbourne. We know what the weather is like in Melbourne, how it affects roofs, and the best methods for repairing all different materials of roofing.
We have an in-house plumber. This is important because not all roof leaks are caused by your tiles. When pipes are the issue, you need a plumber on the job.
We know solar panel leak repair. This is a niche market, so not all roofers are experienced with the ins and outs of repairing leaky roofs when solar panels are involved. We can keep your home dry without damaging your panels.
Emergency Roof Leak Repairs
Sometimes, leaking roofs surprise you at the worst of times. Guests are staying over. You’ve got a family function. Or maybe unwanted water is just ruining your birthday! Other times, your roof is just fine until a heavy storm knocks a branch onto it and sends rain cascading into your living room.
Whatever the case, you might not be ready for a complete roof repair, but you just need a professional to get you watertight again until you can find a long term solution or file an insurance claim. That’s exactly the reason to call Vivify Roofing. We are professionals at making quick emergency repairs of any roof type in order to keep your home dry.
Get the Leaking Roof Repairs Melbourne Can Count On
Whatever the nature of your roof leaks, we are here to help. Whether you’ve got one leak or a hundred, the pros at Vivify Roofing can diagnose the source of your leaks and implement the best, most affordable solutions to keep unwanted water out of your home.
Don’t risk the value of your property and the comfort of your family for another moment. Contact us for a free leaking roof repair quote today.