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How To Find A Roof Leak

February 15, 2021
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The hardest part of fixing a leaky roof is often finding the leak.

It's pretty easy to spot watermarks or even mold on your ceiling, which are sure signs of a leak.

But, once the water has made it through your roof, it can easily be diverted by things in your attic like insulation.

So even though you might notice water stains in the corner of your kitchen, the source of the stains on your ceiling might be far away from that part of the house.

That's why roof repair contractors would make great detectives.

It takes a bit of detective work and an investigation to find where that leak is actually coming from in your roof.

In the article below, we will go over a few tips on how to find a roof leak.

Finding The Path Of The Water

The first thing you can do to find a leak is head up to your attic.

Take a flashlight with you to make it easier for you to find the water.

The best time to do this is when it's raining because there should be an active flow of water coming in from your roof.

Look for signs of obvious wetness.

It will take time for the wood to show water damage, but wet insulation should be an easy find.

You may be able to follow a trail along a rafter or spot some droplets on the sheathing.

Sometimes the cause of the leak is as simple as a missing or cracked shingle.

These leaks are often caused by fallen tree branches, age, rodents, or storms.

Sometimes the leak will be a bit harder to find.

If all of your shingles are solid and in place, the leak could be coming from the seal around any exhaust flashing or a plumbing vent.

If that doesn't seem to be your problem either, check for a rusty nail.

Nails improperly installed won't be clearly visible, and finding them can be difficult for an untrained eye.

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If The Weather Is Dry, Use A Garden Hose

If there's no rain in the forecast, use a water hose to simulate rain showersIf you need to find a roof leak quickly, but there is no rain in the forecast, you aren't completely out of luck.

You can use your garden hose to simulate a rainstorm.

You will need two people to do this.

One person will get on the roof with the garden hose, and the other person will be in the attic with their flashlight.

The person on the roof will spray the roof section by section, while the person on the attic carefully examines the roof's underside for leakage.

By simulating rain, you will be able to witness firsthand how your roof withstands or doesn't withstand conditions that mimic a natural storm.

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Use Damaged Insulation To Find The Leak

The underside of your roof might be covered by insulation, but that's actually a good thing when you're trying to find a roof leak.

Insulation will deteriorate rapidly and more noticeably than wood, making it easier to find your leak.

Just keep in mind that if you're noticing damage on one section of the insulation, you have to remember that the leak could still be several feet in any direction because it diverted rainwater from the source of the leak.

Gently remove the insulation next to the spot where you see signs of a leak.

That will allow you to follow the water path from the damaged area to the water's entry point in the roof.

Just remember to wear the appropriate gear when working with insulation.

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Check The Underside of Your Roof For Damage

Check every part of your roof for damageMost visible leaks are caused by an object, like a nail, that has managed to pierce the roof.

If you don't notice anything like that, look at your roof vents.

Your vents are near ridges or gable ends, or both.

Over time, the seals around your vents can wear out, allowing water to seep in.

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Different Types of Roof Leaks

It seems like there are as many types of roof leaks as there are types of roofs.

But, the most common roof leaks are located in the natural weak spots of the roof.

These include around vent pipes, a leaking roof vent, the chimney, around nails, the roof valleys, around dormers, and around skylights.

Other structural issues, like damaged shingles, loose or missing nails, and ice damming can also cause your roof to leak.

Ice damming is one of the trickiest types of roof leaks to diagnose since you will only notice the leaks when the temperature outside is warm enough to melt the ice and cause water to come through.

Checking these standard weak spots is a great starting point when you're trying to find a roof leak.

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Repairing Roof Leaks

Once you find the roof leak, Call a roof repair professionalWhen you find your roof leak, you should never try to fix it while it is raining or you're experiencing any other kind of inclement weather.

If the leak is bad, put a bucket under any drips until the weather is clear, and you can start working.

Patching your roof leaks when it is dry ensures your fixes won't be compromised by additional water and moisture.

If the weather is clear and you are confident you can fix the roof leak yourself, at least temporarily, until you can get a professional roof repair contractor to your home, assess the damage, and figure out what to do next.

There are various ways to fix roof leaks depending on the size, type, and location of the leak and the type of roof you have.

However, it's usually best to leave roof repairs to the professionals.

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Contact A Roof Repair Contractor

Contacting a roof repair contractor is the best thing you can do after find your roof leak.

They can even help you find the leak if you are unable to do so.

After your leak is fixed, your roofing professional will help protect your roof from additional damage.

A professional roofing company will have the skill and experience to thoroughly inspect your entire roof and locate problems that contribute to water getting inside your home.

If you don’t want to invest in a new roof any time soon, take the steps necessary to maintain it and address minor problems like leaks as soon as they appear.

Water will destroy everything in its path, but fortunately, you can find the source of a roof leak on your own.

Worried about cost? Don't be, check out our recent blog on How Much Does a Roof Leak Repair Cost?

After you've found your roof leak, or if you can't find it on your own, contact the roof repair professionals at TK Roofing and Gutters.

They will be able to find your leak, repair it, and address any other issues they've found with your roof.

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Check out our other articles on roof repair and replacement. 

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