Having a leaky roof fixed can be a major expense for all homeowners, but knowing the most common causes of roof leaks can allow you to stop those leaks from ever developing, saving on unnecessary repair bills. Note a few areas of the roof that need extra checking and added maintenance, so you can ensure you keep those areas in good repair over the years and avoid unnecessary leaks and the repair bills that go with them!
High-quality skylights shouldn't be much of a risk for leaks, but even the best materials that seal a skylight opening or connectors can get damaged over the years. Plastic skylights can also crack and allow water to seep through, either to the roof around the skylight or to the room below it. Check skylights for gaps, cracks, broken or brittle connectors and seals, and other signs of damage, and have these repaired as often as necessary to avoid the potential for leaks.
Flooded gutters can cause roof leaks because the water that sits in the gutters can then back up to the edge or eaves of the roof, seeping underneath the roofing tiles. Cleaning your gutters regularly is vital, but you may also need to upgrade to larger and wider gutters, to better accommodate your area's average rainfall.
The mortar between bricks and the flashing around the area where the chimney meets the roof can erode and develop cracks over time. This is dangerous for the chimney, as it may eventually crumble if this damage is not addressed, but it can also mean water leaks through the chimney itself, or through the base where the damaged flashing is located. Inspect the chimney every year or as often as needed to ensure it's in good repair and that the flashing doesn't need replacing.
Asphalt shingles don't need to be outright missing to allow roof leaks; broken tiles or shingles can allow water to seep in below their surface, damaging the flashing and other materials underneath the tiles and allowing leaks to form. You may not notice broken tiles so readily from the street, so it's good to use a ladder and inspect the roof at eye level. Avoid walking on the roof to do this inspection, as this isn't safe and can actually cause roofing tiles to break! If you notice broken or cracked tiles from the roof's edge, have a roofer replace them as needed.