Mold in the home can be a big problem. Mold can stain the walls, reduce a home's value, and cause smells that reduce quality of life. In addition, mold creates tiny spores that can cause serious health problems for occupants.
Mold can appear on the ceilings, walls, or floors. It can be black, brown, gray, or green. If your home has mold, it's important to find the cause. Only by determining where the mold is coming from can you truly eliminate the problem. If the cause of mold is a roof leak, you’ll need to get roof repairs or replacement. These tips will help you determine whether a roof leak is the cause of mold in your home and what you can do about it.
What Causes Mold
Mold comes from excess moisture, which can occur for a variety of different reasons. One of the ways to tell if your mold problem is coming from a roof leak is by considering the location where the mold originates. In rooms like the bathroom, where water is a constant presence, mold can occur because of pipe leaks, humidity, poor ventilation, and poor maintenance. Although a bathroom roof leak is possible, one of these other causes is the most likely problem.
In rooms like the living room, bedroom, family room, or dining room, where no pipes can be found and no water source is present, the most likely cause of mold is a roof leak, skylight leak, or ice dam. If mold is growing in your home and you believe that your roof has a leak, the first course of action is to find the source.
How to Find the Leak
To find a roof leak, start by examining the exterior of the roof. Do this from the ground or a ladder; do not get on the roof. Check the roof for obvious problems, such as:
- Missing shingles
- Roof sag
- Cracked shingles
Inspect the condition of the flashing as well. Flashing is a protective barrier that fits around parts of the roof where shingles cannot provide adequate protection. Metal or rubber flashing can be found around the base of your chimney and roof vents. If you see cracks in the flashing and caulking, these are possible sources of a leak.
Once you've identified the possible location of the roof leak, check your attic for more signs. Look for problems like stains on the roof sheathing, moist sheathing or joists, mold, mildew, and wood rot. Feel stained parts of the roof for moisture, or if you have a moisture meter, use that to measure the moisture in the wood.
You may also see signs of pest problems. Water intrusion can lead to a variety of pest infestations, including termites and rodents. Pests love water-damaged wood because it's easy to chew and penetrate. In addition, rodents are attracted to moisture because they need water to survive. Look for signs such as pest droppings, saw dust, holes in the wood, and chew marks.
What to Do Next
If you find evidence of an active leak, this is likely the cause of your home's mold problem. Act fast to prevent further damage. Contact reputable, licensed roofing companies in your area. While many roofers will inspect your roof without meeting you on-site, make a point of meeting with each roofer personally to describe the problem and the findings of your inspection.
Your conversations with each roofer can help you decide which one to hire. Ask questions like:
- How would you fix this problem?
- When can you start?
- How long will this take?
Once you've narrowed your roofer choices down to one or two people, contact their references to help you make your final decision.
For more information about roof leaks in the home, contact Select Exteriors. We're happy to answer any questions you might have about roof leaks, their causes, and identifying a roof leak in your home.