Steps to Locating Roof Leaks

While it’s fairly simple to figure out where water is actually dripping through your ceiling, finding the actual source of the leak in the roof is a completely different story. The only way to ensure that roof leaks are repaired properly is to make sure you know where you need to be focusing your attention. Keep reading to find out the best ways to locate and repair roof leaks.

Time for an Attic Visit

Once you’ve noticed there is a leak, you’ll need to head up into your attic to see if you can find the source. You should keep in mind that where the water is coming through your ceiling can be nowhere near the source of the leak, so you will have to plan on spending some time finding it. Once you get into the attic, make sure you only stand and walk on areas that will support you, such as the beams. If there is no floor, do not stand on the ceiling material, as you will go straight through it.
The most common areas for leaks are areas such as skylights, chimneys, or areas where shingles or even the nails have worked themselves loose. As the water comes in these areas, it will flow along whatever may be in its path – rafters, sheathing, or even parts of the ceiling. Once it has travelled as far as it can, it then commences to drip on your head to alert you of the issue.

While you are looking for the area that is going to require leaking roof repair, you will need to make sure it is daylight, and that you have a powerful flashlight. Starting in the area in which the water is dripping through the ceiling, search along the rafters and beams until you find signs of wetness or discoloration. Once you locate and follow the trail, you’ll want to shut off your light so you can figure out where daylight is coming through the roof.
If it isn’t apparent where the leak is coming from, you may have to enlist someone’s help so you can perform a water test with the hose. This requires one person to hose down the roof slowly, while someone in the attic searches for the roof leaks. Once you locate them, mark them by poking a nail through from the inside so you can find it later.

Fix Roof Leaks

Obviously, your next course of action is going to be repairing the roof leaks. However, there are some safety considerations that you need to follow if you want to survive the chore:

  • If the roof is wet, wait until it is completely dry.
  • Make sure your ladder is safe, sturdy, and positioned so it doesn’t wobble.
  • Do not go to the roof if it is dark or storming.
  • If you have a roof leak in a steeply pitched area, call professionals.

The actual manner in which you repair roof leaks depends on the problem, and whether you have the appropriate tools and skills. If you do not, contact a professional to help you repair the roof leaks.

Roof Repair: Finding and Fixing Leaks

Roofs generally have a lifespan of around 20 years barring unseen complications like major storms and hail. There are times, however, when small areas of damage occur, such as loose, torn, or missing shingles. When this happens, you need to be able to find the leak and fix the problem before it becomes a much bigger issue.

Finding the Problem

While it may seem as if locating the area in which a leak is occurring is easy, it really isn’t. The leak inside your home can be quite a distance from the actual area needing roof repair. You will want to make sure to do a thorough inspection of the shingles, making sure to notice any obvious signs of damage, such as missing, curled, or buckling shingles. You also need to check around vents, chimneys, and flashing to see if there are any noticeable cracks, gaps, or breakage.

If you find any of these, it might be obvious where you need to focus your efforts. If you can’t locate any areas that show obvious damage, you will need to contact a professional roof repair service. The problem could be due to the age of the shingles, or issues with the flashing.

Making Roof Repairs

If you’ve located damaged or missing shingles, the repairs are fairly easy, provided that you pay close attention to your own safety during the process. Curled shingles can easily be fixed with roofing compound or cement. You will need to pay attention to the temperatures when working on them. If it’s cold, your shingles will be brittle, which means you can break them easily. In this case, your roof repair is going to become a bit more involved – you’ll need to use a torch that has a flame spreader nozzle to warm the shingle so that it is pliable. If you’re not experienced with using a torch, please call the professionals – you being a die-hard DIYer is one thing, but try explaining to your wife that you burnt the house down with a torch…

If you do have the experience with a torch, you can carefully heat the shingle just enough to soften it. Once pliable, just add roof cement along the bottom and at the corners and press it down firmly.

Replacing Shingles

Replacing missing shingles is another roof repair you may be able to do on your own. You will need to remove damaged shingles by removing the nails, including any that might be sticking up if the shingle was lost. Then, you’ll just slip a replacement shingle into place, drive a roofing nail into each corner, and apply roofing cement over the nails.

If you notice that shingles come off very easily, this is a sign that they are rotten. In most cases, larger areas will be affected, which means you need to call a professional about reroofing your home. Rotten shingles can be a sign that your current roof is too old, or it could point to a much bigger problem that involves mold, major leaks, and other significant issues.