We all dread seeing that we have a roof leak. Thing like should I call a pro, can I do it myself, do I need to replace the whole roof are a few of the things that run through your mind. If you notice stains on your walls or ceilings, this is more than likely caused by a leaky roof. Small leaks can make a big issue real quick so I wouldn't wait around a long time before fixing. Even if you are thinking of replacing the roof soon you need to make sure its real soon. Waiting too long can cause wood rot, black mold, ruined insulation and many other damages as well. When it gets to this point it can get hard to find the actual source of the leak.
I know it may seem weird to start inside but it can be easier than trying to find it under all the roof shingles. You should start in the attic and bring a flashlight. Walk the entire attic and use the flashlight to check the underside of the plywood. See if you can find any holes or any areas that are darker than others. You may also see mold in that areas where there is a leak. If there has not been moisture in your area lately the areas may not be as noticeable.
You may have insulation so you might need to look for damage to the insulation. The paper backing may be hanging or the entire piece itself may be drooping. Get eyewear and gloves before removing anything to see if there is damage behind the insulation. Once removed, you might need to look further. Follow the stains to the source of entry.
Even the smallest of things can cause a leak. If you notice a nail that has not been properly nailed into the rafter, water can easily use this as a point of entry.
Most people are expecting a leak caused by missing shingles, tree damage, clogged gutters or other obvious signs. The truth of the matter is, it's usually things like pipes, vents, skylights, flashing or other objects that require a good seal to keep the moisture out.
Over the joints in the roof you will see a long strip of metal that helps prevent water intrusion. This is the flashing and it will be a different depending on the roof type you have. You will find it in the valleys and around windows, chimney and other objects.
You need to keep an eye on this because as time goes by the seals need to be fixed. The weather can cause it crack or come loose and this will be an entry point for moisture to get in your home.
These are made to work inline with the flashing to create a barrier. Rubber is the most common material used but you may see plastic and metal in older homes. The vents are made to slide over water pipes, vents or other things protruding from the roof.
This is a very common spot for water intrusion on many homes. It seems like they would stand the test of time but they too have weaknesses. There's the chance of the flashing causing the leak, where the brick meets the roof line. Also, the mortar can become brittle and crack or crumble. Some chimney have a cap on the very top where a leak can surely start.
We all love the natural light provided by skylights but not the natural water leaking in! One of the most common reasons they leak are poor installation process. The skylight may seem fine at the start but time will show you are almost guaranteed to have a leak. Even with proper installation the rubber seals may dry out and break.
You may not see these on all homes but they are a source for water intrusion for some. They are usually smaller structures on a roof that frame a window or set of windows. Typically they are on the roof slope or face of exterior wall. The windows are a good place to look first for a leak. The caulking is known to lose its seal as affected by the elements. There is also flashing around the entire structure and a lot of the times it has roof shingles as well.
So now you have found the leak and it's time to act fast! The longer you wait, the worse the damage will be and the lighter your wallet will become. If you don't want the chance of a possible injury or you just don't have the time to deal will it, you should contact a roofing expert now. It's okay to call a professional, some stuff can be DIY but other roofing projects are beyond any homeowner. If you are upto it be sure to look for our next edition Fix Your Leaking Roof Part 2!