The 6 Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks and How to Repair Them

When your house is leaking, you may feel like it’s going to cost you a lot to fix it. But in the end, it’ll probably be worth it. After all, not only will a leaking roof prevent you from being able to enjoy your home as fully as you’d like, but it can also have a negative impact on the value of your home.

Roof leaks are a common occurrence in homes and apartments, be they traditional or mobile. They can occur for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that roofs are porous and let rainwater in through small holes. If your roof leaks, it will cause water to seep into your home and affect its condition.

In order to make the situation more manageable, you should first know what kind of leaks you have and what the causes of them are. Here are six common causes of roof leaks and how to fix them.

The roofing system is compromised

When it comes to roof leaks, compromised is a term that describes a roof’s condition that is beyond the capability of the roofing system to handle. This could be due to the roof being overbuilt, the roof not being able to support the weight of the roof system, which is called the “Dead or Live Loads” of the roof, or even the roof structure itself being at risk.


Overfilling is the excess of water in the gutters over the capacity of the gutters. Most traditionally built home’s roof are designed to hold about a 30% failure capacity. If the gutter’s capacity is not large enough, it may not be able to hold the water and function properly. The homeowner can check the level of the gutters to see if they are too low. If they are, then there is an opportunity to increase the gutters’ capacity. However, doing so might significantly increase the cost of the roof.

Damaged Shingles

Damaged shingles are a common cause of roof leaks. The shingles get old and start to crack. They also collect water and debris, causing the sealant to deteriorate and allow water to enter the roof. This is why it’s crucial to regularly inspect your roof for damage.

If you notice any signs of damage, call a roofer right away. It is important to keep in mind that shingles are not made of metal and will eventually wear out, so it is important to replace them regularly.

Moisture from Snow, Wind or Rain

Most mobile home roofs tend to get affected by winter because of the changes in temperature and the harsh weather conditions (moisture-related issues). When moisture seeps through the ceiling, it can cause the roof to leak. This causes mold, which can cause decay to spread throughout the entire roof if not detected and fixed quickly. That’s why it’s important to inspect your roof regularly and detect these things early on so you can contact a mobile home roof repair parts store and get the necessary supplies you may need to fix your roof leak or probably contact a roofer to come check things out.

Clogged Gutters

Gutters are the tree-like structures that connect your roof to the ground. Over time, the weight of the leaves and other garden accessories can build up behind your gutters, causing a clogging of the gutters.

If the clogging gets too heavy, rainwater can no longer flow back into the ground. This will result in water infiltration, or water entering the structure below the roof.

Clogged gutters are usually the result of overloading the gutters with leaves and other objects. You can reduce the risk of clogging by:

  • Using a leaf rake to remove leaves from your roof
  • Cleaning your gutters regularly with a leaf blower
  • Using a flexible gutter interface to easily attach and remove tools from your roof
  • Installing downspouts to direct excess water away from your house
  • Using flexible roofing materials instead of rigid shingles to reduce the impact of the elements

Damaged Flashing

Flashing on your roof is another common cause of roof leaks. If, for some reason, your flashing (the part that covers your roof) gets damaged, water will be able to travel under the flashing and seep into your roof structure. As your roof structure ages, it can become more susceptible to water damage. If this happens, you should consider having it repaired.

If you decide to have the flashing repaired, make sure to use the correct material. A short, damaged flashing will allow water to travel under it. If your roof is more than 15 years old, you should also consider having it replaced. A new roof will prevent these water leaks and provide a better roof structure’s longevity.

To prevent roof flashing from becoming brittle and breaking, you can:

  • Place downspouts beneath your eaves to direct water away from your house
  • Install flashing that is at least 2-3 times as thick as the average roof surface
  • Use elasticated gutter ties to secure your downspouts to the ground
  • Install drain pipes and gutters below your roof to avoid water collecting in them

How to spot a roof leak

  • Look for openings in the roofing materials, such as vent pipes and vents, to see if water is leaking.
  • If water is seeping through the roofing material, it is a roof leak.
  • If the leak is slow and steady, you can probably wait it out.
  • If the leak is fast and strong, it is most likely a structural problem.
  • If the leak is on a side or back wall, you should probably call a professional contractor to look at it.
  • For a mobile home if you notice your paint or wallpapers are peeling of the walls, it might be a roof leak
  • If you notice a water patch or dark spots on the ceilings then you might have a roof leak problem

How to repair a roof leak

You can fix a roof leak yourself, although professional help is often needed for larger jobs. While it is possible to repair a small roof leak on your own, it is usually better to hire a roofer to perform the work for you.

For a mobile home, ascend to the roof with a ladder. Walk on the rafters and look for leaks in the gutter system, flashing, seams, seals, and shingles. Then, using a putty knife to scrape the surface, remove all dirt and debris from the area you wish to patch, then apply butyl tape around the area you’re patching, followed by caulk to seal the borders of the patch. After it has dried, apply a roof coating to provide a double layer of protection.

While for a traditional home, you can start by measuring the leak. The goal is to find the largest leak possible so that you can address it first. Next, inspect the roof for damage. If the leak has been caused by a failed drainage system, then you will likely notice puddles and water pools on the roof surface.

If the roof is intact, you can check to see if there is any damage to the shingles. Also, check to see if there is visible water damage to the roof structure. If water is visible somewhere on the roof, then you may have to replace the shingles.

How to avoid a roof leak in the future

  • Use a 4-season roof when possible. This will help prevent ice dam build up and leaks.
  • When installing gutters, use flexible gutter ties to prevent the buildup of snow and ice.
  • Use quality roofing materials. There are many roofing materials available on the market that are of low quality, and you don’t want that for your house.

Wrapping up

Roof leaks are caused by a variety of issues, including shingle failure, weather conditions, roof integrity, and roof age. If left untreated, roof leaks can cause water damage to your home, increase the maintenance cost of your roof, and probably increase your insurance rate.

With the few tips shared here on the common causes of roof leaks, you can easily identify a roof leak and offer a solution immediately.

Dominik Sherman

Dominik Sherman, an authority in home organization, earned his degree in Interior Design from the University of Washington. With over 15 years of experience in space optimization and minimalist design, Dominik joined our platform in 2020, offering innovative and practical home organization solutions. Before this, he ran a successful home organizing consultancy, helping clients transform their living spaces. Dominik is also an avid gardener, finding peace and inspiration in the harmony of nature and organized spaces.

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