WATER is one of the most destructive threats posed to a homeowner in the United Kingdom, with the potential to ruin lives and livelihoods.
Water is essential for us in our lives. It must be brought into and out of our house all day long, and it is an inherent force of nature which can surprise us by falling from the sky or coming up from the floor.
It is estimated that one in six UK homes are at risk of flooding, but those stats only include those close to known hot spots. Every home is at risk from another type of flooding, escape or ingress of water due to faults above the ceiling. A flood from above is something few can plan for, but it can be as destructive, if not more so, than water coming up from a river or drains.
If you come home and find water leaking through your ceiling, you must act fast. However, it is important to try to be aware of problems before they occur, rather than waiting for the heart-stopping moment when your ceiling comes down. These are the main reasons you may find water coming in from your ceiling and being aware hopefully allows you to be prepared.
There are two main reasons you may be seeing water ingress in your roof, the first of which is your roof covering. Whilst homes have varying types of roofing cover, all can be susceptible to incoming water if they are not properly maintained, or correctly installed in the first instance. Tiles can shift in bad weather, and the UK has one of the most changeable climates for a roof to withstand. Great Home explains how your roof is exposed to elements such as rain, snow, wind, sun and hail, as well as the potential for debris from trees. Your roof as a whole may last a lifetime, but individual tiles or slates can move and slip.
If they do, be aware of the potential for water ingress. It is worth visually checking your roof, if possible, after a strong storm, and periodically casting your eye over it from a distance for any break in pattern or consistency.
Flashing & Gutters
A roof should provide a solid barrier between your home and the elements, but at the same time, it is only as strong as its weakest link. One ‘weak link’ can be flashings around installations such as roof windows or outlets for extractor fans. If these are not professionally installed, or they have worn away over time, they can allow water into your roof, attic space and eventually through your ceiling.
The blog 5 Signs That It’s Time for A New Roof discussed how blocked gutters can cause an internal leak too. This wouldn’t usually be something that would manifest into a leak in the middle of your room though; if water appears to be running down the inside of your walls, it might be worth getting the gutters checked and cleared.
Not all water coming down from above is created by nature; it is just as likely you have a problem with your plumbing as your roof. Depending on your plumbing set up, you could have pipes and a header tank in your attic space and where there’s plumbing and perhaps cold parts of the home, you have the potential for problems. These sorts of leaks can be damaging both in terms of physical destruction of ceilings and property, as well as financially problematic when correcting and diagnosing.
It is certainly worth getting ahead of the problem and investing in some form of separate cover for your plumbing system. The plumbing and drainage cover on HomeServe demonstrates that you can even get a boiler service as part of your policy, offering wider cover and peace of mind throughout the home. Whilst plumbing problems can occur at any time and be incredibly upsetting and disruptive, serious leaks from above are still rare and with the awareness and preparation, you can minimise the likelihood of suffering.
These are the three main reasons that you may find you have water coming in through your ceiling. As a homeowner, it is worth either having external cover for plumbing or periodically getting an expert to run their eye over your roof as a spot check for problems. Such aspects as flashing wear and tear should be obvious long before a problem occurs, and being forewarned gives you a chance to keep you, and your family safe.