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Roof Leaking? Check Your Satellite Dish

by Wade Black

Roof leaks are caused by any number of problems including rotting sheathing. One problem that many homeowners overlook is leaking caused by satellite dishes. Here's more information about this issue and what you can to do prevent it.

How Satellite Dishes Cause Leaks

There are two ways satellite dishes can cause leaks. The first way is from poor installation. The dish is secured in place using long bolts that pierce through the shingles and sheathing. Typically, caulk or another sealant is used to prevent water from rain and snow from leaking into the home. Unfortunately, an inexperienced installer may forget to seal the holes, seal them improperly, or puncture multiple holes into the roof that are then left exposed.

A popular consumer complaint website provides a prime example of this issue. A couple had a satellite dish installed on their roof, but the technician punctured multiple holes in the roof during the process. After some time, the roof became damaged in sections from water leakage, forcing the homeowners to spend over $20,000 replacing it.

Another way satellite dishes can lead to roof leaks is poor maintenance of the equipment. Many homeowners don't realize that their satellite dishes need to be inspected on a regular basis to ensure the holes remain sealed. Roofs expand and contract depending on the weather, and this behavior can cause the bolts holding the equipment in place to loosen. In addition to increasing the risk that the dish will fall off the roof, this can lead to gaps opening in the sealant that allow water to penetrate into the home.

Preventing Leaks Caused by Satellites

Possibly the best thing you can do is to completely avoid installing the dish on the roof in the first place. Satellite dishes can be installed on the side of the house, eaves, and exposed rafters where there's less chance of leakage. Another option is to put the dish on a long pole designed for this specific purpose and secure the pole into the ground with cement.

If you do choose have the dish mounted on the roof, have the technician place a slip sheet between the base of the dish and the shingle. A slip sheet is essentially a rubberized waterproof mat that will conform to the base of the dish over time. Once in place, you can apply a coat of roofing tar over the bolts to minimize the risk of leaks.

Be certain to inspect the dish every few years. The first inspection should be done by a licensed roofer to ensure the technician didn't damage the roof when he or she put the system in. After that, you can inspect the installation site yourself and reseal the bolts as necessary.

A satellite dish can bring a wealth of entertainment into your home, but it can also be a source of stress if the equipment allows water to leak into the house. For information about or assistance with fixing leaks caused by a satellite dish, connect with a roofing contractor in your area like one from A1 Everlast Construction.