Water Problems Part 2: Spotting a Roof Leak

Last month we talked about how to determine if your roof has water problems. The last few weeks have been ideal for this as we have had lots of rain. Once you identify a leak on your roof it is time to pinpoint the leak. This can be the hardest part of leaky roofs because often the water will be coming in one spot but showing up in another due to the slope of the roof.

Troubleshooting with trial and error is the only way to pinpoint a leak, and often it will take a roofing professional such as MCAS Roofing & Contracting. Even if you are able to pinpoint the leak on your own, to properly repair it may be difficult.

If you would like to tackle this on your own, here are some tips to help you identify the source of the leak. To determine where to start, look for wet insulation in the attic and this will give you the general area of the source of water.

5 Tips for Pinpointing the Source of Your Leaky Roof

1) Look for Light: If you have an attic, go up on a sunny day and and keep the lights off. Look for any light shining through. If water is coming in there is a chance that light is also shining through the same spot. Once you identify the spot, have someone go on the roof while you tap the spot from inside. They can then mark the source so you can repair the shingles or flashing in that area.

2) Inspect Rubber Boots: Rubber boots are often used as seals around vents, electrical boxes, and exhaust fan flashing. You can wrap paper towels or regular towels around the inside part of the boot. If the towel is wet, that is the source of your leak.

3) Inspect Roof and Chimney Flashing: The purpose of roof flashing is to keep water out of seams and joints. Inspect the flashing and look for any visible issues. If it is not straight and uniform, this could be the problem. Additionally if a prior roofer did a poor repair job and used roofing cement instead of replacing the flashing with copper or aluminum, this is a likely source of the leak.

4) Inspect the Gutters: Clogged gutters will often cause leaks because the water has no where to go. If they’re clogged, and you clean the gutters, this may eliminate the leak completely without having to do any repair work.

5) Visually Inspect the Roofing: Broken or missing shingles, clay roofing tiles, or broken slate are prime sources of leaks. Often this can be seen visibly by walking on the roof. However, ensure that you are comfortable on the roof, have a spotter hold the ladder, and use a safety harness.

These tips are a great starting point for pinpointing the leak, but often the source of the leak won’t be easy to find. Often the signs are subtle and require an experienced roofer to find the source.

With water, it is important to act fast at the first signs of a leak and contact a licensed, and insured roofing professional. Water problems will leak to mold, fungus, mildew, and other issues that are not only hazardous to the roofing structure, but harmful for your family to breath.