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What Causes Roof Leaks?

Roof leaks are one of the most common frustrations of homeowners. When a roof leak is sprung, the water infiltration has the potential to damage the structural integrity of the house, the ceiling and walls, and the contents of the property.

Anyone who has experienced the wild Australian weather knows that a solid, watertight roofing seal is crucial to maintaining a healthy property in winter. However, even the toughest of roofing materials will be vulnerable to a roof leak every now and then. So, what causes roof leaks? And how do we get to the source of the roof leak and repair the roof leak?

To provide a better understanding of what causes roof leaks, we’ve compiled a list of the most common reasons your house may experience water infiltration.

the leading causes of roof leaks


One of the most common culprits of a leaking roof is ageing materials. Over time, it is very normal for roofing materials to wear with age and become more vulnerable to damage and water infiltration. If you find that your roof has sprung a leak recently, consider the age of your roof and whether or not ageing materials could have something to do with weakened materials. Depending on the type of roof you have, it may be time to consider some roof repairs, restoration, or replacement to keep your property safe.


Depending on who has installed or repaired your roof, poor craftsmanship may be the reason your roof has sprung a leak. Unfortunately, as a roofing company in Sydney, we have had to make our fair share of repairs to bad roofing jobs. Improper or poor installation is one of the most common reasons for a faulty roof or a sprung leak. This is why it is so imperative to work with a roofing contractor that you know is experienced, qualified, and trustworthy


The easiest way to cause a roof leak on your property is to neglect your gutters. Cleaning out your gutters may seem like a mundane house chore, but the practice of unclogging your gutters can actually go a long way in keeping your property safe from roof leaks.

why you should clean your gutters

Gutters are troughs that catch all of the rainwater from the roof and transport it to the downpipes where water drains away from the house to prevent moisture and foundational damage. Gutters regularly get clogged up with leaves, dirt, debris, and other objects. If the gutters are not frequently cleaned out, this build-up will prevent them from draining properly, and water will begin to seep into the roof, siding, tiles, and other materials of the house. This is generally how most roofs leaks begin.


Roof flashing is the thin material that professional roofers use to direct water away from critical areas of the roof, typically where the roofing planes meets another surface. Flashing is installed around roof accessories, like skylights, chimneys, or vents. Flashing will also be installed every intersection of the roof, providing a layer of weatherproofing for any uneven surfaces. If the roof flashing becomes worn, damaged, faulty or loose, it will no longer be able to prevent water from seeping into joints and holes in the roof.


If you’re wondering “what causes roof leaks?” and you’ve got a skylight installed in your roof, your best bet would be to inspect the window and the surrounding area for any signs. Given the installation of skylights disrupts the even surface of roofing materials, the area surrounding skylights is particularly prone to roof leaks.

If your skylight was installed incorrectly, is not at the right pitch, does not have adequate flashing and seal, or needs replacing, it will almost certainly present in a roof leak. A skylight is essentially a hole in your roof. Once water enters the roof cavity from the skylight, the water can cause significant damage to the structural integrity and contents of the property.


If your roof has any broken or missing shingles, this will provide the perfect opportunity for water to infiltrate the roofing cavity of your home. Unidentifiable leaks can often be sourced back to damaged, missing, bent or broken roofing materials. By inspecting the exterior of your roof, you may just realise that there are damaged, bent, or missing roofing materials that have caused a house leak.


Roofing materials are supposed to face a bit of wear and tear. Working against the harsh extremities of Australian weather, it’s not uncommon for your roof to get a bit shabby with time. However, basic maintenance can significantly aid in the prolonging of roofing materials. Believe it or not, neglect is generally what causes roof leaks.

By regularly maintaining your roof, you will prevent your house from suffering from avoidable damages. Neglecting your roof can result in premature ageing, which can lead to untimely roof leaks and moisture damage. If your roof has sprung a leak, consider the maintenance that you have implemented to care for your roof.


Poor roof plumbing falls into a similar category to improper installation. The plumbing of your roof plays an integral role in keeping the roof structure safe from water and moisture damage. Roof plumbing refers to any work involving roof flashing or covering and the drainage system that collects and disposes of stormwater. If your house does not have adequate roof plumbing, the water will not have anywhere to go but seep into the roofing materials and present in the form of a nasty roof leak.


The chimney on your roof is what’s known as a roof “penetration”. Chimneys can cause problems as they require adequate and secure waterproofing. The flashings and covering surrounding a chimney can deteriorate with time and will need regular inspections to avoid roof leaks. Some chimneys will also have hidden soaker flashings along the sides which can promote rust, leading to roof leaks.


Another common cause of a roof leak is metal roofing materials rusting. Even the most robust of roofing materials can quickly deteriorate once they begin to rust; so it is imperative to keep an eye on any rust-prone areas to prevent the roofing system weakening. Once an area starts to rust, it will only be a matter of time before rainwater can break through and run into ceilings and down internal and external links.


Whichever it is, what causes roof leaks can generally be prevented. The best way to prevent and deter roof leaks is to have your roof properly installed, maintained, and regularly inspected. Basic maintenance includes cleaning the gutters and roofing materials, trimming overhanging branches, and having the roof inspected by a professional. Regular roofing inspections are imperative to ensuring everything is working smoothly, and your roof is performing well. A professional roofer will also be able to provide sound and experienced advice on the best way to ensure your roof is kept safe from roof leaks in the future.


If your roof has sprung a leak, it is crucial to have it inspected and repaired immediately. What may seem like a minor leak on the surface, can quickly become a major structural problem in your roof. Having a professional address the source of the leak early will not only stop the water from damaging the property but will also prevent the problem from reoccurring.

Vertec Roofing is the leading experts when it comes to roof repair and roof leak detection. We have been servicing and repairing Sydney roofs for over 15 years now, building up a wide range of domestic, commercial, and industrial clientele. As Sydney’s leading team of roofing professionals, we can ensure your roof is well taken care of when you engage with our roof inspection, maintenance, and repair services. Still, wondering what causes roof leaks? Get in touch with one of our contractors today to find out.


Metal roofing has a lot to offer, including durability, energy efficiency, and low maintenance. As such, it comes with a higher cost to build and repair. Whether you choose metal roofing for your property depends mainly on your budget, aesthetic preferences, climate and location. Whatever you decide, choosing a reputable, experienced roofing company is crucial to ensure that your roof lasts as long as possible.

There are many pros and cons to metal roofing. If you’ve weighed them up for yourself and decided that metal roofing is not for you, there are other options, such as tiles, shingles, slate, and concrete. At Vertec Roofing, we can help you with any roof you’d like.

If you’re interested in learning more about building, or if you’ve chosen metal roofing for your home and want to get started, then contact our team at Vertec Roofing — the best roofers in Sydney, with proven experience in building strong and long-lasting metal roofs.

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