Leaky Roof Detective Work: How To Determine A Leak Source

22July 2020

Drip, drip, drop, there are the tell-tale sounds of a leaky roof. You consider yourself a handy person so you consider fixing the problem without having to call in the professionals. If the prospect of climbing onto the roof and making a repair doesn’t frighten you away, finding the source of the leak could be enough to metaphorically push you over the edge and call in the professionals.

A leaky roof can manifest itself in many ways. By the time you discover the symptoms, you could be in for some heavy-duty repairs on the source of the problem, and that’s if you can find it.

One of the first places you’ll want to check is directly above the spot where you noticed the water intrusion. If you are lucky, it’s a small leak that brings in enough water to present itself just above the water stains. But gravity and the slope of your roof can play tricks on you.

Just because you’re seeing a problem in the living room, the actual part of your leaky roof could be half the house away above the master bedroom. Water seeps in and runs down the inside of the roof, or pools on your ceiling, constantly seeking out the lowest ground until is finally makes its way through to the living space.

Good places to check for a mystery leak is around chimneys, skylights, vents and other rooftop penetrations, as well as the cap or peak of the roof itself. These are holes in an otherwise solid roof that are in danger of becoming the source of your leaky roof if not sealed properly.

Metal flashing should be installed to direct the flow of water away from the opening and a sealant may be applied to fill the gap. If the sealant is exposed it could dry, shrink, or crack over time and become porous enough to allow water seepage to the underside of your roof and into your home.

Obvious spots to check for the cause of your leaky roof would be any loose or missing shingles. If you have an overhanging tree limb it could rub repetitively over time until it tears a shingle loose or rubs a hole in the outer layer of roof protection. Heavy winds, storm damage and even direct lightning strikes could be the cause of broken, missing, or damaged shingles.

Look for buckling of the roof tiles, a wave or dip in your roof line, or a severe discoloration on your roof. You may be better able to spot water damage and discoloration by popping up into your attic and searching the roof and trusses with a spotlight. Holes in the roofing material may not be obvious but these signs may guide you in the right direction.

If you are unable to find the source of water intrusion, come down off the roof and call in a certified contractor. They have other means to find the problem and can make sure your leaky roof is fixed safely and properly. Water damage is a serious problem that builds over time.

Unchecked those simple water stains on the ceiling will lead to dripping water in the house, mold growth leading to health concerns, and eventually the persistent water damage could lead to structural damage undermining the integrity of your home’s walls as well as the roof, so don’t ignore it, water leaks never get better on their own. Repair that leaky roof now.

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