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Old 11-04-2018, 10:05 PM   #1
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How to find actual source of roof leak?


We have a small roof leak over our garage. We've applied a fair amount of roof caulk/sealer, which has reduced the amount of drips coming through, but not stopped it completely.

Also, the drip speed seems independent of how hard it rains. It feels like we've impeded rainwater going through the hole in the roof without patching the ultimate source of the leak.

Are there techniques to find leaks, or do you have to peel off shingles to really find them?

Thank you!
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Old 11-04-2018, 10:58 PM   #2
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


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Originally Posted by roofcatt213 View Post
We have a small roof leak over our garage. We've applied a fair amount of roof caulk/sealer, which has reduced the amount of drips coming through, but not stopped it completely.

Also, the drip speed seems independent of how hard it rains. It feels like we've impeded rainwater going through the hole in the roof without patching the ultimate source of the leak.

Are there techniques to find leaks, or do you have to peel off shingles to really find them?

Thank you!
Flat roof? Type of roofing?
Peaked roof with shingles and attic?
Have you bean in the attic looking for water?
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Old 11-04-2018, 11:37 PM   #3
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


So sorry! i should have included those obvious parameters..

Composite shingles. Peaked roof. We can see directly to the inside of the roof, IOW no “attic” or other space between eyes and the inside of the roof..I can see the rafters, strand board, etc.

I do keep an eye on it regularly..
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Old 11-05-2018, 12:21 AM   #4
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


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Originally Posted by roofcatt213 View Post
So sorry! i should have included those obvious parameters..

Composite shingles. Peaked roof. We can see directly to the inside of the roof, IOW no “attic” or other space between eyes and the inside of the roof..I can see the rafters, strand board, etc.

I do keep an eye on it regularly..
The trouble with water is that it can track all over before it show it's little dripper head. If you have sheeting below the shingles, the leak could be anywhere above the sheet and if you have felt above the sheeting the leak could be anywhere up the roof in either direction.


Can you post some picture of what you have done so far and the condition of the shingle and the roofers here will be along soon.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:20 AM   #5
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


If you sealed the suspect area and had an effect, then you know generally where the leak is. But since you willy nilly sealed, now you can't pin point the leak. If you can, I would replace the shingles and all the sealing material and see what happens.


Shingles are loose pieces that depend on the overlaps for water to drain off. But shingles have open joints and nails are used to hold them, so you have to look at these parts to begin. And not to seal these joints.


Shingles are laid side by side within that row. Next row up is offset so there is no open joint from one row to another up. You can see that open joint straight up will be a bad roofing. But, my composite roof's manual said that this offset can be as small as 7". If rain gets under the shingles, you can see that water can spread out more than 7". I kept my roof offset to 11", which if I remember was next offset width.



Where the drip is, search with very bright light. You may want to buy one. White light led is better than incandecent and look for at least 150-200 lumens with lens that can focus the light. Where the drip is, mark the spot with any outside reference points, then go on the roof and start the search from that point up. Also look at side ways at least 3-4'. Look at each shingle and the joint. Under each joint, you may have to lift the shingle a bit and see if there's any hole, crack or joint. If you have a ridge vent, check that also. How the ridge vent is overlapped from one piece to another, and how much overlap there is between the final row of shingles and the vent covering shingles. If nails are showing. If you have any secondary barrier underneath, such as tarpaper.


Don't wait for rain. Take the hose and spray the water up and let it fall. Don't shoot straight at the shingles.
BTW, another problem could start around vent pipes, etc. Anything that breaks the shingle overlaps.
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Old 11-05-2018, 05:28 AM   #6
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


Take some pictures of the roof, on the outside. Roofs tend to leak from penetrations, like vent pipes, walls.
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Old 11-05-2018, 06:55 AM   #7
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


A basic technique is look for a popped nail.
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:02 AM   #8
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


I have a very low Florida roof with minimum attic space
to "belly crawl" around in. my roof leaked over the carport
as well. searching very methodically over the suspect area
on the roof, I found a raised nail that allowed "blown" rain to enter.
a straight down and non windy rain did not leak.

so - sweep all the loose stuff off the roof, then, look for shingles
that may be raised at the edge either by a nail or debris that "could"
allow "blown rain" to enter. apply some elastomeric caulk (or roofing tar)
under the shingle and hammer it back down. (temporary fix until a re-roof).
replacing shingles in the suspect by a roofer would be your best bet.
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Old 11-05-2018, 07:10 AM   #9
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


I have a leak locator, not its primary purpose but an infrared camera is extremely sensitive to temperature changes and evaporating moisture shows up very well. Even moist areas under shingles change their temp.

Cameras can be rented or they have inexpensive versions that work with your computer, not great but much better than what we see without the IR capability.

More if you want this option.

Bud
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Old 11-06-2018, 09:27 AM   #10
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


Sorry I wasn’t more prompt - I was at work when pics were requested. 2 photos plus a simple illustration of the garage roof from the outside. What we did was, yes, I think willy-nilly, we caulked the area (out of desperation). I don’t recall seeing any nailhead as from loosed nails. The shingles otherwise looked fine.

I used color to circle or point to the leak spots, different colors to show the same spots whether zoomed out or close up.

thank you!
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How to find actual source of roof leak?-6ffb1753-df57-406d-9b57-bee1339786eb.jpeg   How to find actual source of roof leak?-709b3710-d2bb-40f9-9b5b-4a4110dccc0d.jpeg   How to find actual source of roof leak?-541471dd-7638-40b9-82e5-a4cb9ce27304.jpeg  

Last edited by roofcatt213; 11-06-2018 at 09:32 AM.
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Old 11-06-2018, 09:51 AM   #11
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


To be honest I haven't figured out what I'm looking at. Need a picture from farther back maybe.

I'll wait to see if the pros can give an explanation, they are used to me being lost

Bud
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:46 AM   #12
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


how old are the shingles?
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Old 11-06-2018, 10:51 AM   #13
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


I have no idea what the pics are either.
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Old 11-06-2018, 01:27 PM   #14
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


To add, sometimes getting up in the attic and LISTENING for the leak is the best way to find it. So, if you have someone on the outside spraying water onto the roof, go into the attic and listen for drips. I mean, sometimes the water drips into the insulation and you can't hear it, but sometimes it drips onto framing members or something else solid in the attic.
Of course, during a heavy rain is the best time to see and hear the leak. I know I've discovered the source of several leaks in the past by stationing myself up in the attic and listening for dripping sounds.
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Old 11-06-2018, 08:21 PM   #15
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Re: How to find actual source of roof leak?


Quote:
Originally Posted by craig11152 View Post
how old are the shingles?
We think 15yrs, perhaps older.
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