roof leaking into a blue bucket

Why Does My Roof Only Leak Sometimes?


Sporadic roof leaks are very frustrating. You probably figured the leak wasn’t an issue if you saw a leak once and it didn't happen again during the next storm. 

But roof leaks don’t fix themselves. Instead, a single leak is an indication that you are going to have bigger problems in the future. Now that you've realized this is an ongoing problem, you'll want to know why the problem persists. 

In this article, you'll learn about the causes of intermittent roof leaks and how to fix them.

Why a Roof Leaks Sometimes & Not Others

Woman holding a bucket to catch watcher from a roof leak

Roofs are designed to protect you and your family from rain and the elements. They’re designed to hold up in harsh conditions, but they can’t withstand everything and they do break down over time, leading to leaks.

Sometimes issues are big enough that the roof leaks every time it rains. Other issues are smaller, so the issues aren’t apparent during lighter storms. 

The big mistake many homeowners make is thinking that if a leak only happens occasionally, it’s not really an issue. This is false. Minor leaks that you don’t notice all the time are still a very serious issue. Water is still getting in, even when you can’t directly see it. It’s still doing damage. It’s still opening you up to potential mold issues. And it will certainly get worse and worse until the damage is far more extensive.

When you notice a leak for the first time, the best course of action is to immediately schedule a free roof inspection with a qualified roofer. The sooner you address the issue, the better.

Common Causes of The Leaks

It takes a close inspection to figure out why your roof is leaking, but here are some reasons why it might be happening at random:

How to Find and Fix the Source of The Leaks

roof inspector on shingle roof looking for the source of a roof leak

Sometimes, it is difficult to locate the source of a sporadic roof leak. Leaks might not be visible until days after a heavy storm, or may not occur under similar conditions.

Call a roofer as soon as you notice the leak so they can pinpoint the source while it's still active. Furthermore, the roofing technician should be able to spot watermarks, stains, dampness, and other indicators of a leak, even when the roof is not actively leaking.

Fixing A The Leak: What You Shouldn't Do

Unfortunately, sometimes prevention is impossible, and the damage is already done. Where do we go from here? The temptation to just do all of this yourself can be strong if you're an active homeowner who enjoys DIYing most things around the house.

Why not fill the holes with tape and hardware covers to avoid leaks? “What could possibly go wrong?” you may be thinking. Well, many things. 

There is a good chance you may not know what you're doing, or worse, you don't know how to climb up to a roof properly. You don’t want to hurt yourself, and you don’t need to go through that risk.  

You should consult a professional roofer when diagnosing and repairing your roof.

What Can Happen If It Isn't Fixed

damage to ceiling caused by roof leak that wasn't fixed

Roof leaks shouldn’t be ignored, even if they only happen sometimes. Here are common consequences of not repairing a roof leak:

  • Discolored ceilings and walls
  • Plaster and sheetrock damage
  • Mold growth
  • Musky odor
  • Wood rot
  • Ruined insulation
  • Damaged roof structure
  • Accelerated aging of the roof

Unattended roof leaks can cause major problems. There may not be a need to file a claim for small leaks, especially if the cost of the repair is less than the deductible. However, if a covered peril or hazard leads to your roof leaking and you cannot afford to repair it yourself, then filing an insurance claim is the best idea.

Read our blog about homeowners insurance covering roof leaks to learn more about this topic.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do all roofs leak a little? No! In fact, leaking roofs are problematic situations that should be repaired as soon as possible.

Where is a roof most likely to leak? Your roof will most likely leak around the chimney, vent pipes, and skylights. Some roof leaks appear in strange places as well—like from outlets in the wall or light fixtures.

Why does my roof leak only sometimes? All leaks are serious, but some are more obvious than others. The more apparent a roof leak is, the bigger it likely is, but all leaks should be addressed by an expert quickly.

How do I find out where my roof is leaking from? Roof damage can often be hidden below the surface, so finding the source of the leak can be quite difficult. It’s best to get a professional roof inspection.

Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

Whether or not a homeowners insurance policy covers roof leaks depends on the cause of the leak and the terms of the specific policy. In general, most homeowners insurance policies cover sudden and accidental damage to your home, including damage caused by a storm, wind, or hail. However, gradual wear and tear or lack of maintenance that leads to a leak may not be covered.

If your roof leak is caused by a covered peril, such as a hailstorm or fallen tree, your homeowners insurance policy may cover the cost of repairing the damage, including the roof leak. However, it's important to check your policy to see what specific types of damage are covered and to understand any deductibles or coverage limits.

If the leak is not caused by a covered peril or if the cost of repairing the damage is less than your deductible, you may be responsible for covering the repair costs yourself. It's a good idea to speak with your insurance agent to fully understand your policy and what is and isn't covered in the event of a roof leak.

Are Roof Patches Reliable?

If the patch is properly installed on a small, isolated area of the roof, it can provide a temporary fix for a leak or damage. However, it's important to note that a patch is not a long-term solution and should not be relied on as such.

If there is significant damage to the roof, or if the roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, a patch may not be enough to address the issue. In these cases, a complete roof replacement may be necessary to ensure the safety and integrity of the home.

Roofclaim Can Help: Get a Free Roof Inspection

While you can avoid leak repairs through preventative measures, it's important to know where sporadic roof leaks are coming from. Therefore, when they do occur, you can prevent further damage and stop the problem from getting worse.

Finding the source of a leak can take more time and effort than simply looking for a hole in the ceiling in your attic. Problems ranging from clogged gutters to crumbling shingles are just a few of the many potential causes.

There is no need for you to make the hard decisions or navigate the repair process alone. An experienced roofer will be able to diagnose the problem and recommend a safe, affordable, and long-term solution to keep your home dry during heavy rains.

If you're still uncertain what's causing the leak after a thorough inspection, contact a professional to help locate the problem and recommend a fix. Repair work will depend on several factors, including the type of shingle and the roof pitch.

Let us manage this entire process for you by scheduling a free roof inspection today.

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RoofClaim is not a licensed public adjuster under section 626.854, Florida Statutes and does not provide services as a public adjuster for insurance claims.