Identifying Roof Leak Problems

Is there a way to find out if the roof is leaking? What can be done if a leak is found? Is it possible to locate a leak on the roof? Searching for house leaks can be a frustrating experience. Fortunately, there is a straightforward process that can guide you through identifying roof leak problems and avoiding worse damage.

Is My Roof Leaking?

Homeowners must remember that signs of water damage on the walls and ceilings do not always indicate a roof leak. Sometimes these are pointing to plumbing leaks. They could also be left by condensation in cold weather. If you see water damage on ceilings that are not located directly under the roof, you should explore other possible causes.

If you see signs of water damage in the attic, try not to jump to conclusions immediately. These may be remnants of an old leak that the previous owner has already fixed. This is particularly common in homes that have been around for decades. It may even have several roofing layers, with the leak occurring when the original roof was still battling the elements. Owners might also be alarmed by the presence of water stains on the rafters. However, this is not always a sure sign of current leakage.

If you wish to know whether your roof is leaking or not, then check for water damage during vulnerable periods. Look for wetness in the middle of a rainstorm. You can also perform inspections in the winter while snow is melting on the roof. Make observations within a 5-hour window to increase your confidence that leaks are due to rain or snow. If the water damage happens outside of this timeframe, it would be wise to seek the help of a plumber.

Leaks can cause substantial water build-up, which puts pressure on the ceiling. The weight can create a bulge around the affected areas. Water will need to be drained to avoid a collapse of the sheetrock and further damage to the home. Just place a bucket under the bulge and poke a hole with a nail to let the water out.

How to Locate a Leak

After you have made diligent observations and concluded that the roof is indeed leaking, your next step should be to contact certified roofing contractors. They have the expertise and experience to repair the leak. If you prefer to trace the source yourself, then read on to learn how you can do this.

Keep in mind that water, like everything else, follows the will of gravity. It flows downwards through the paths of least resistance. If the moisture gets inside the roof, expect it to travel down directly or diagonally until it reaches the next barrier. Then it will find the seam in the sheathing before it drops to the insulation or the rafter. Moisture that reaches the ceiling can get soaked up by insulating materials. After this, it can flow to the sheetrock or plaster. In the vast majority of situations, the leak can be found along sheetrock joints.

To find a leak:

Start by counting the number of roof layers in your home. Hunting for leaks is rather easy for pitched roofs with a singular layer.

Find the area where the signs of a leak are visible in the home.

Explore the segment of the roof directly above these. Check if there are penetrations such as chimneys, pipes, ventilation ducts, skylights, or swamp coolers. Most roof leaks can be traced to these types of penetrations. Sometimes you will have to inspect the area about 5 to 10 feet upwards to find the exact source.

If there is a penetration in the region, check the flashing for signs of damage. Repairs should be straightforward from there.

If you do not find any penetrations within the vicinity, then you can turn your attention to torn or blown-off shingles. You can also look for nails that are coming through. Other things to check are valleys since these are common leak sources.

Leaks due to damaged flashing are easy to fix. If you have roofing experience, you can get the needed materials and perform the repairs yourself.