How to Handle a Roof Leak

Posted on: 25 September 2015

You may not notice your roof is leaking until you see a water stain on your ceiling. When that happens, you want to make repairs right away so mold doesn't begin to grow in your home. First, you need to find the source of the leak, and that isn't always as easy as it sounds. This is what you can do when you spot a roof leak.

Track Down the Leak

Go in your attic and find the area directly above the ceiling stain. This marks the spot where water is dripping from the rafters in the attic, but it isn't necessarily near the leak. Next, you'll need to examine the rafters for signs of water trails. If your roof has a steep pitch, water may roll down the rafter several feet until it finally drips off. If the roof has been leaking for a while, you should see water stains at the source of the leak as well as a stain trail that leads to the drip. If you don't see any stains, it's time to get out the water hose.

Have someone spray water onto your roof starting at the bottom and working up the slope. While your helper sprays the roof, you'll be inside the attic waiting for water to start dripping inside. You'll have to look for water running down a rafter and feel for moisture so you can locate the origin of the leak. Once you do, mark the location so you can find it from the roof. If your helper is on top of the roof, pound on it from underneath so your helper can mark the spot. If your helper sprayed water on the roof while standing on the ground, then drive a nail through the roof that you'll be able to spot later (be very careful not to step on it).

Repair the Roof Leak

Roof leaks commonly occur around damaged shingles, flashing, and holes with missing nails. Once you know where the leak originates, look for gaps or cracks in the flashing or shingles. You can use roofing adhesive to seal a loose shingle or close a crack in a shingle. Caulk can be used to seal gaps in flashing and close cracks in wood. Missing nails should be replaced. If a shingle is destroyed or missing, you can replace it. Be sure to use the same nail holes so they won't leak when you're finished.

While finding and repairing a roof leak sounds simple, it can sometimes be tricky and frustrating. You may think you fixed the problem only to find the roof leaking the next time it rains. Calling in a roofing contractor to find the problem and repair it properly may be necessary. Either way, you want to repair the damage as quickly as you can so your home doesn't sustain water damage that will be costly to repair. For more info, speak with a roofing contractor.