Water is an essential resource in all domestic buildings, but it can also cause a lot of damage. This is usually in the form of seepage or leaks that can harm – potentially ruin – the building structure. The big question is if Home Warranty covers roof leaks, and most often it doesn’t, at least in the core plans. The problem is often that we fail to register these damages when they start out because it is usually so gradual and seems not to be pressing. But this is an error: seepage can be very dangerous, and if you wait too long, the repairs can be expensive. A damp environment indoors can lead to respiratory problems and other health issues.
Of particular importance are roof leaks. Water that makes its way down through the walls often goes unnoticed. This is often because any outward signs are initially only visible in the attic, which is a rarely frequented area. These signs include mold and damp spreading down the walls or through the corners of ceilings inside the home. They spread with the water that moves through the structure. Wooden parts of the home are of course the worst affected, as they rot and weaken by prolonged water intrusion. The steady roof leaks can also allow water to reach as far down as the foundation itself. This is when there is a serious risk to the stability of the structure. Cracks can be caused by continuous water seepage into the foundation. The subsoil can shift under the home because of the water that causes it to expand.
Before you can fix it though, locate the source of the leak. Below are the major ways of finding roof leaks, what might cause them, and how that can be fixed.
The fastest way to find where a roof leak is coming from is to work upwards from any damp or mold-covered patch of the ceiling indoors. Though this is not always so simple. Locating the leak becomes difficult when the path of the water is not immediately apparent. If the leak is hard to find, pour water over some likely areas and ask someone to call out when there is a visible drip in the home. Cracks inside the wall can also be conduits for water, leading it in unexpected directions.
Shingled roofs offer challenges to a simple upward path to the source of the leak, but they also come with handy clues to it. Just as mold and mildew gather at the ceiling leak, so do they at the source, often under the shingles in that spot. If mold has not yet formed, there should be a trail of water – formed by the slope of the roof – leading you to the source.
If your roof is not even, especially for shingled roofs, the water could be flowing diagonally down from some other spot than one directly above the mold. And these leaks can be hard to notice because it is often no larger than few holes, such as ones left over from a satellite dish or a lightning rod. Over a long time, these can allow enough moisture in to cause rot and mold, which are much bigger problems. In the event that the source of the leak is a patch of broken shingles, replacing them is the best move. Asphalt shingles are the best value for money, and cost around $80-$100 for a square (100 sq. ft.) of tiles.
If you don’t feel confident about changing the shingles, then you could install a temporary fix. Slide a piece of sheet metal or plywood under the damaged shingles. This won’t hold for long, but will definitely stop the leak until a technician can repair it.
A frequent culprit is anything that already penetrates the roof. This can include plumbing, roof vents, chimneys etc. These issues often allow rainwater in (or out, in the case of water flowing through pipes) through cracks or dents in their projecting parts. Even something as small as a missing screw in a roof vent can let in enough water over time. The immediate damage will be the introduction of mold and mildew into homes with attic space, especially those with wooden beams. Dormer walls and windows that are exposed above the roof are also major sources of water leaks. This usually takes the form of damaged or missing caulk and siding along dormer walls. While you could simply replace the filling(caulking) along the walls, this is likely to wear off in some time. It is far better to install flashing at the joint between the roof and the pipe/vent/wall etc., especially since caulk only works for a limited range of surfaces. Flashing is steel metal used to catch and channel away rainwater, preventing it from entering these joints. Although flashing can itself be damaged sometimes, it is very durable and is only damaged naturally by strong variations in temperature. It costs an estimated $10-$20 to install flashing, and this can vary depending on how much flashing you will need. Again, if looked at in terms of is Home Warranty Covers Roof Leaks, then it is advisable to find a plan that has you covered in the long run.
Clogged gutters on the roof are another major cause for leaks. The water that is expected to empty out along the drainpipe instead gets blocked because of accumulated dirt and leaves in the gutters on the roof. Luckily, these are usually an easy fix. Simply clean out the gutters and the water will drain out as it is supposed to, without any additional costs. If you want to prevent this happening in future, install covers for the roof gutters, ideally by a professional. The gutters are at the edge of the roof, so better safe than sorry.
When water from roof leaks reaches electric cables, things can get dangerous. If there is wiring in the attic area or near the roof, roof leaks can pose a high risk of electric short-circuiting, and thus a potential fire, which is especially bad since the wooden attic space is always the first place that roof leaks have an impact. If this is likely, take immediate action by calling an electrician.
If the roof also has thermal insulation (cellulose or fiberglass), then this can be severely affected by water leakage. The whole function of the insulation is compromised by its absorption of water, acting as a conductor instead. It heats up the home in the warm season and lowers temperatures in the winter. This can lead to increased utility bills because your heating or cooling system will have to work overtime. To detect wet insulation without actually prying up the shingles, conduct an infrared inspection of the roof. The areas that show unusual thermal activity in the roof indicate wet insulation, which will have to be replaced. The average cost for this is around $0.64-$1.19 per square feet for fiberglass insulation and $35-$55 per board foot for spray foam. Though in customized plans Home Warranty covers roof leaks, chances are that such replacements will remain outside their purview.
In areas where the winter is severe enough to include sustained snowfall, ice dams can form on the roof and cause leaks. Snow accumulates on the roof, and on sunny winter days or towards the end of the season, that snow begins to melt. However, this doesn’t mean that the water simply flows off the roof. Instead, because temperatures drop rapidly again, the water collects at the eaves (the lowest edge of the roof) and freezes again. This process repeats, building layer after layer as the snow melts. The ice even worms its way into the gaps between shingles, getting under them and through the roof, dripping onto the room directly below it. The problem with ice dams is that they can create further damage to the shingles and roof that will let in more water afterward.
Ice dams are caused by melting snow, and this usually happens due to seasonal shifts. There are other house-related reasons for it too, depending on how heat and humidity are retained in the home. A bad vapor barrier is one cause because it lets warm humid air up through the ceiling and onto the roof. Another reason could be poor (or possibly wet) insulation, which does not stop the heat generated inside the home from escaping through the roof.
The best solution for ice dams is to prevent them from happening in the first place, by removing the snow periodically as it gathers. This is not always feasible, especially if the weather is severe enough for a constant build-up of snow. So then, it would be better to insert high-quality vapor barriers in the ceiling and improve insulation wherever possible. Even if your Home Warranty covers roof leaks, such improvements are most often left to you to do, as preemptive measures for damage. Make it a point to check the Home Warranty clauses carefully before signing up for additional plans with perks and extras.
Attics are often the coldest part of the home. As the temperature drops outside and the attic remains cut off from heat circulation in the home, humid air that rises away from the lower floors condenses in the attic, usually on the ceiling. Over time, frost develops here. It may thaw when temperatures rise slightly, and re-freeze afterward. The repeated melting and freezing can lead to a gradual spread of mildew and mold on the attic ceiling and floor. The water then drips through this, into the living space below.
Lower the humidity in the home as much as possible to prevent frost from forming in the attic. Further, increase or improve the insulation around the attic to prevent temperatures there from sinking too low, so that the humid air never gets a chance to condense. This is not a roof leak per se, but it has similar effects, and as a result, it is worthwhile treating it as such. Though it should be noted that this is not covered under the category of rook leaks in home warranties.
In many of these situations, it may seem like the costs are minor, but that is only true for problems that are caught well in advance. However, given the fact that water takes a long time to do any noticeable damage, that’s likely already the case when you realize that the roof has been leaking.
Also, many of these problems arise independently of each other. Shingles get damaged during vent installations or a hailstorm. Caulking erodes in the rain and gutters get clogged in fall. Insulation gradually absorbs moisture, cycles of freezing and thawing crack the roof tiles. These never seem like a pressing fix at the time; after all, it’s only a small hole here and there. The continuous, developing wear and tear is clearly visible to the professional eye, even if you can spot a couple of the leaks yourself. As a consequence, getting your roof covered by a home warranty that covers roof leaks is always a good idea. This is because the problems caused by roof damage can lead to other, more serious structural issues which are far more expensive to fix than a few shingles.
Most homeowners have one sort of warranty plan or other already because it’s the practical thing to do. The majority of insurance companies do not cover roof leaks with standard plans, but as an optional feature for an extra fee. Given that shingled roofs are not meant to last for a long period without maintenance, it is usually better to opt to cover roofs or roof leaks in the home warranty.
Before doing that, however, it’s important to understand the difference between home warranty and home insurance. The primary difference is not what items they cover, but the nature of the damage to those items. The home warranty is a service contract, and covers repairs to your home and appliances necessitated by wear and tear over time. On the other hand, home insurance covers damage due to sudden and unforeseeable events like natural disasters, theft, fire, and so on. Most banks require home insurance for issuing loans or mortgages on homes, but a home warranty is always optional. In such a case, the question of if Home Warranty covers roof leaks in automatically refuted, as anything in the purview of insurance is never a part of these policies. Home insurance requires an annual fee which can range from $300 to $1000. In the event that you want to file an insurance claim for the destruction of your property, an inspection visit costs a deductible. Over and above this transaction, the necessary repairs or replacement is paid for by the company.
Similarly, home warranties also cost an annual fee, but only to renew the contract, and each service call is charged, beyond which the company incurs the cost of repairs. Home insurance is necessary (after all, you never know what could happen – and that’s what insurance is for). A home warranty covers the repairs that you can expect because wear and tear is part of the deal with all homes. So it’s always practical to get a policy, even if it’s not a mandatory procedure and the Home Warranties cover of roof leaks is not all-comprehensive.
Our top ten companies of Home Warranty cover roof leaks at varying prices. Generally, roof leak repair is a paid add-on to the established plans, and not offered as part of the standard warranty. Some of the companies that have this practice include Landmark Home Warranty ($8.33 per month), Choice Home Warranty, and Home Warranty America ($3.85 per month). A thorough research is always recommended, and the information of the best companies can be easily sourced from the HomeWarrantyReviews.com website. If you register on individual websites of the companies, then you will be provided with comprehensive information. You can also call for support of an expert to help you through the decision-making process. Just assure that you have scouted exhaustively before signing on with a plan or a company because cancellation policies almost never include a full refund.