At some point in time, most homeowners will deal with a leak in their roof, as minor leaks are common. Knowing what to do after discovering a leak is important, especially if a visit from a roof repair company is necessary. The first priority is to find the leak, although doing so is not always easy. Using the following tips, a homeowner can try to isolate the source of their leak so it can be temporarily patched while waiting for roof maintenance or repairs to be performed.
Know What Causes Most Roof Leaks
Companies who repair roofs know that a hole in the roof caused by something penetrating the roof is going to cause a leak, although that type of damage is the exception rather than the norm. Most leaks are caused by a few main things, which provide a good starting point when looking for one. Leaks are commonly caused by loose or missing flashing, loose or missing shingles, holes left behind after the removal of satellite dishes or anything mounted to the roof, ice damming at the edge of the roof, and unsealed roof valleys. After locating the general area of the leak, inspecting for these specific problems usually reveals the source of the leak.
Finding Where A Roof Is Leaking
When a leak is discovered inside a home, trying to isolate the area where the water is entering and which parts of the roof to check saves time and effort on the part of the homeowner or the roofing maintenance and repair company:
- Leak or Condensation - Before assuming that water in the house is actually a leak, first inspect the attic and insulation. An improperly insulated roof that allows warm interior air to come in contact with the inside of the roof in cold weather is the prime condition for condensation build-up. Condensate can eventually drip down the inside of the roof and appear as if the roof is leaking, when it is not. Even though dripping condensation may not be an actual leak, it indicates a pressing need for repairs or maintenance on the roof, as condensation can severely damage the entire roof eventually.
- Follow the Water Trail - If the problem does not seem to be condensation and water stains are visible only in one specific area, the best way to isolate the problem is to follow the trail. Look for where water stains or wetness is concentrated in the attic and try to locate the general area where it seems to be coming into the house. Water may travel along rafters and attic beams, so do not assume that the entry point is directly above the water stains. If there is still a question over whether or not the right spot has been found, either check while it is raining or run water over the suspected area to confirm where the water entering.
- Check the Outside Roof - Once the likely spot that is leaking has been found, do a visual inspection outside. Are there valleys or vents in that area? Check for missing flashing or flashing in poor condition. Also check the external roofing material for loose or broken shingles, missing hardware on metal roofs, holes, and other damage that could be allowing water to get through. Naturally, these checks should only be done with extreme care or by a professional roofer.
Locating roof leaks can be challenging; however, with a little detective work, homeowners or a roof repair company can usually zero in on the problem fairly quickly. At the very least, isolating the problem to a general area of the roof is helpful, so it can be covered until a roofer can make the necessary repairs. The best way to avoid leaks and the need for repairs is by doing regular roofing inspections and necessary roof maintenance!