Your Guide to How to Find a Roof Leak

how to find a roof leak

A leaky roof is one of the most worrisome issues in home ownership. The idea conjures imagery of black mold, mildew, collapsing ceilings, and a whole host of other problems. It’s a repair that needs to be addressed as quickly as possible.

But what do you do if you do have a roof leak? Knowing how to find a roof leak is not always obvious. Read on to learn about what you should do if you suspect your roof may be damaged or leaking.

Learn the Risk Factors

There are a few factors that can affect your risk of getting a roof leak. It’s important to know these so you’ll know how often to check for roof leaks. The first of these is roof line.

Flat roofs, because they have no pitch, are the most likely to leak; you can expect them to last somewhere around a decade without repair. Pitched roofs are less prone to leaks, but they can also sustain damage. Southern and western-facing areas break down faster, so you’ll need to check those areas more regularly.

Know the Signs

Of course, if water comes dripping out of your ceiling, it’s a pretty good bet that you’ve got a roof leak. But sometimes, the water won’t make it through your ceiling until it’s too late, or even at all. You should know the less obvious signs of a roof leak.

If you notice odd, musty smells around your house, they may indicate an undetected roof leak. Likewise, you’ll want to check out any water stains, spots, or bulging areas on your interior walls and ceilings. If you notice some of your shingles are missing or warped, it’s a pretty good bet that you have a roof leak.

Stay Safe

The very first step in finding a roof leak is to make sure you stay safe. Roofs are dangerous places to be, and hundreds of homeowners injure themselves every year climbing on their roofs. Even if you’re only in the attic, you may be working around electric and gas lines, as well as fiberglass.

Make sure you know the setup you’re working with well before you start work – locate any gas lines or electric wires if you’re working in the attic, always wear a mask. As far as possible, avoid climbing on your roof at all. If you absolutely have to get on your roof, make sure you have someone standing by to stabilize the ladder and get help if you fall.

Do a Test

The first thing you’ll want to do when finding a roof leak is to determine the general area from which the leak is coming. Of course, if it’s raining or snowing at the time you’re working on the problem, your job will be easier. But in the event that isn’t happening, you have some options.

Get a hose and set it to spray on various areas of the roof, and then check the ceiling or attic for active water drips. Remember, the south and west sides are more vulnerable to damage, so you may want to start there. If you can’t find a leak using this method, it’s possible you’re dealing with a leaky pipe or another similar issue.

Check the Attic

Once you’ve conducted your water test, it will be time to head into the attic. No matter whether or not you found a leak, your next steps are there. Make sure to wear a mask and take proper safety precautions, especially in the summertime.

If you found a general area of the leak, get as close to that area as you can in the attic. In many cases, water will run down rafters and the like and drip off several feet from the actual source of the leak, so try to run any drips back to their origins. Once you find the spot, make a note of any vents or chimneys nearby so you can find the spot again from the outside.

Look at the Roof

Once you’ve determined the specific origin of your leak, you’ll want to try to figure out the cause. In some cases, you’ll be able to see roof damage from the ground and will know how to proceed from there. Either way, remember, safety comes first.

You’ll want to start by examining your roof from the ground level, looking for any shingles that are warped or missing. If at all possible, stay on the ground for this step. If you have to go onto the roof, observe all proper safety precautions and look for damage near the landmarks you noted during your trip to the attic.

Make Repairs Where You Can

In some cases, roof repair is a matter of sliding a new shingle into place or folding down a bent bit of a vent. Even if the repairs seem simple, you’ll want to do your research. Watch instructional videos showing you how to perform the repair and make sure you have all the tools for the job before you start.

In many cases, however, you’ll need to call in a roofing professional to fix your leak. Remember, these people are trained to safely and properly fix your roof. You don’t want to gamble with your home’s integrity or your personal safety.

Learn More About How to Find a Roof Leak

Knowing how to find a roof leak when it comes will give you great peace of mind. Keep an eye out for strange spots or smells in your house, and remember that safety comes first. It isn’t worth breaking something falling off your roof.

Instead, call us at Concord Roofing and Construction. We are the thought leaders in commercial and residential roofing in Plano, Texas. Get in touch with us to talk about your roof job today.

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