How to Detect a Roof Leak

    Contractor on ladder with cell phone figuring out hail damage repair costs for customer.

    When your roof is leaking the goal is to find it before the entire roof sustains serious damage. Some roof leaks are more apparent than others but there are ways to detect damage without your roof collapsing. Leaks can occur after a storm or after a small rain while previous damage to the roof makes it more vulnerable to the possibility of a roof leak. Finding the roof leak is always the hardest part of the job. Once found, the repair is fairly easy and the quicker you find the leak, the easier it is to fix. If you believe that your roof is leaking here are a few ways you can find where the leak is.

    Inside the house check for any water damage

    Leaks may be detectable on the walls or ceilings. Check your walls and ceiling for stains. If the stains extend across your ceiling or run down the walls you most likely have a roof leak. After you thoroughly check the inside of your house, move to the attic or crawlspace. This is the best place to detect leaks that may otherwise be invisible unless you are looking for them.

    Head up while it is raining

    By doing so, you can find the leak and get a viable assessment. Use a flashlight and check for water stains, black marks or mold. If you can’t wait for the rain grab a helper and have them stay in the attic with a flashlight while you head to the roof. Take a water hose with you and begin pouring the water slightly over the roof. Let the water run for several minutes in one area before moving to another. If you have found the area where the leak is but you are still unsure of the exact spot do not be afraid to remove shingles in the area. If this is the area where the leak is you will see discolored felt paper, water stained or possibly rotted wood below or around the area.

    Check for missing shingles

    Detect a roof leak outside by checking for missing shingles. Roof damage usually means there is a leak somewhere. Shingles help protect your roof from leaks and further damage that are caused by the elements and normal wear and tear. When they go missing the wood that makes up your roof is not protected from the rain or other harsh elements. If you are missing shingles chances are your leak is coming from the area where that part of the roof is missing. Check the rubber seals around the electric service and plumbing vent pipes. Check air vents and exhaust fans for damage. Check your roof for penetrations. Penetrations may include plumbing, roof vents, chimneys, dormers or anything that projects through the roof. These are the most common areas for leaks to occur.

    Be aware that not all damage occurs around the exact area of the leak. Water travels and it pools around water fixtures or dips in the ceiling. Don’t be discouraged when on the search. Be patient, take your time and before you know it you will find the leak and prevent anymore damage.


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