How to Spot a Roof Leak

How to Spot a Roof Leak

Your house’s roof is part of what makes your house a home, it helps keep you warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry whenever Mother Nature decides to rain. Leaking roofs, however, kind of really suck at that latter, “keeping you dry” thing.

Letting a roof leak go undetected and unrepaired for too long can lead to serious trouble. Your ceiling and walls can become damaged or worse yet, mold, the bane of all homeowners, can rear its ugly head. For all you DIYers out there, we’ve got some tips and tricks to help your crackdown on any leaks before they get seriously out of hand. Read on to see what we’ve got in store for you.

Leaking Roofs Have Telltale Signs

Dripping water is the most obvious sign of a leak, but it’s possible that some of you reading this won’t have that readily apparent sign that your roof is in distress. Keep an eye (and nose) out for things like musty smells in particular rooms, spots on outside walls, bulges on interior walls, water stains on the ceiling, and warped or missing shingles. An important thing to keep in mind is that although these can be symptoms of a leaky roof, the leak might not actually be in those spots. The water could be flowing in several feet away from the damaged locations.

How to Find A Leak from Your Attic

If you’ve got an attic, take a flashlight with you and start looking for mold, water stains, or black marks on the rafters and roof sheathing. The flashlight will also be rather helpful in finding water coming into your basement as well as it can reflect off the water. Something to remember is that smaller water stains can be caused by moisture condensing and melting on exposed nails. If that’s a problem you’re facing, it can be solved by taking a pair of pliers and clipping the nail right below the head.

Summon Rain to Spot the Leak

No, we don’t mean invoke your mighty Poseidon-like powers, but rather get someone to keep watch on the inside of your house and take a hose to your roof. Your leak spotter should stand in the spot where you first noticed the leak or any signs thereof while you slowly and meticulously spray water at sections of your roof for a few minutes at a time. If they see any dripping water, have them give you a shout. In the event that the drip is hard to spot, tear a few shingles out from the general area it’s in. You should be able to see signs like water stains and rotting wood pretty quickly. The great thing about this method is that it’s an effective stand-in for people that don’t have attics.

If You Can Fix It, Have at It

Rejoice, DIYers! Depending on where the leak is, it can be a relatively easy fix. If you’ve got the means and ability to do so, go for it. Damaged shingles, for example, are a matter of removing the nail holding it in place, scraping up the old roofing cement, putting the new shingle down with fresh cement, and nailing it over the damaged area. Leaks around vents, windows, and chimneys can simply be repaired with a reapplication of caulking. These are just some of the quick repairs that you can do on your own. If you find that the issue is more complicated or involves damage to your home’s structural integrity, though, you should call in a professional to fix it.

Your home is your castle and you owe it to yourself, your family, and your home to be able to spot and take care of leaks. If there’s anything about spotting and repairing leaks that you want to add, tell us in the comments! Most of us are seeing more of the inside of our houses than the outside these days, so it’s important to take care of it. And be sure to stay safe out there, folks.

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