The most telltale signs of a leaky roof of course is water. But because your roof really only actively leaks when it rains, you may not notice that sign first. Here are a few other things to be on the lookout for:
- Water stains on the ceiling or interior walls
- A musty smell, especially if it's localized to a particular room
- Bulging sections of interior walls
- Missing, warped, or damaged shingles
Once you notice any of these signs, you're going to want to get to work trying to locate the source of the leak. It's not always straightforward, but with a little knowledge and by following these few steps, you should be able to find it without too much trouble.
The first place to check when you suspect your roof is leaking is the attic. If you have access, it's best to get up there with a flashlight (carefully, of course!) and look for signs of water damage. These can include mold, water stains, warped wood, or black marks.
In some cases, a visual inspection for the source of the leak won't be enough to tell you where it is. For these kinds of leaks, what you want to do is make it rain (literally). For this you'll need a garden hose, and someone on the inside. You can either soak your roof from the ground with a sprayer attachment, or you can get up on the roof and soak it. Be sure to do this one section at a time, so that you can pinpoint the area where the leak is coming from. Have the person inside the house look for dripping water, and shout to you once they see it. If you can't pinpoint exactly where the drip is coming from, you can start removing shingles in the area. You should find the source quickly, as it will be surrounded by water stains.
In the event of a minor roof leak, it's worth noting that there are plenty of repairs that can be done yourself. Be mindful with any roof repair that it does involve getting on the roof, so make sure you are able bodied and confident in your abilities. As long as you have the tools and a little bit of knowledge, repairing a leak can be relatively easy.
- Pipe Boots: Another one of the most common causes of roof leaks (and the simplest to fix) is a damaged plumbing vent boot. Vent boots won't last the life of your roof, so eventually the material they are made from begins to deteriorate and can crack, allowing water to gain access to your home. Replacement vent boots are easy to find, and you can replace and seal them easily. Make sure when screwing them in to use rubber watered screws, otherwise water can still leak through.
- Shingle Replacement: Many times, when your roof is leaking, the cause is simply a damaged shingle. If this is the cause of yours, the repair for this is fairly simple. Take the claw side of a hammer and remove the nail. Next, make sure to clean off any leftover roofing cement. The next step is to lay fresh roofing cement down, and install a new shingle over the area. Make sure to install new shingles underneath the shingle above it. Nail into place.
- Reapply Caulk Around Roofing Elements: A lot of times, leaks can be found around common roofing elements like chimneys, vents, and windows. You can make a quick fix here by applying caulk around the flashing to seal any gaps that may be present and allowing water in. Keep in mind though, that this kind of repair isn't going to last long, and calling a professional to come take a look will save you from a recurring leak.
It's always advisable to call in a professional roofing contractor when your roof is leaking. Even if the fix is simple, they can diagnose potential underlying problems that you may not be aware of. Roof leaks are sometimes sneaky, and you may not be aware of them until damage has already occurred. Roofers will be able to give you a repair estimate and tell you exactly what needs to be done. Some common repairs to roof leaks may include replacing flashing, patching a hole in the roof, resealing vents and roofing elements, or in some more extreme cases where there is extensive damage, you may need a roof replacement.
At Colony Roofers we provide free 30 minute inspections, and we have a team of dedicated and trusted professionals available to walk you through the process, for anything from a simple repair to a total roof replacement. We pride ourselves on being a name you can trust in the roofing industry. If you think you may have a roof leak, don't hesitate call us today!