How to Find a Leak in a Roof

If there is a leak in your roof, signs of it may not be apparent on the roof itself. In fact, the cause or location may be hard to pinpoint if the water runs away from the breach and puddles in a different location. Water can run along the rafters and decking before collecting on the ceiling below. Roofing contractors can be a valuable resource if you need your roof repaired or replaced.

It’s very safe to assume your roof has a leak or there is water damage if shingles are damaged or missing. Your ultimate objective is to find the leak and fix it before you have to incur the cost of an expensive repair or, even worse, replace the roof entirely.

Water damage and freezing was the third highest cause of property damage behind fire and lightning and wind and hail.

A leak in a roof can be the result of a number of circumstances:

  • There may be a gap in the metal flashing surrounding vent pipes or chimneys.
  • Shingles could be missing.
  • The roof may suffer from old age.
  • Small holes could have formed as a result of years of neglect.

Tips for Finding Leaks in Your Roof

If you suspect there may be a leak your roof or you have seen discoloration indicative of a leak, consider the steps below:

  1. If you have an attic or crawlspace, the easiest and fastest time to locate a leak is on a rainy day. Using a flashlight, go to your attic during heavy rainfall or shortly after a storm. Be vigilant of where you step so you don’t put a hole in your ceiling. If you think your roof has a leak, but there is no rain, use a hose to completely wet your roof to create your own rainfall.
  2. Carefully examine the decking of your roof along with the rafters. Look for any pooling in the attic or leakage through the ceiling below.
  3. Trace any wet spots or stains from a gable end or from the highest point above the leak. Measure the distance.
  4. After the roof dries, use the same measurements. Take into consideration any overhangs.
  5. Methodically inspect the roofing and the shingles for indications of a leak. It should be near the location you previously measured.
  6. You still may not be able to overtly see a breach or the source of the leak. Because water can travel underneath the shingles before pooling in the attic, venture higher on the roof to see if you are able to find the leak there.

But if you don’t have an attic or crawlspace or simple can’t locate the source, there are many place you can check to see if there is water damage:

  • The ridge cap (a layer of laminate shingles or asphalt at the roof’s peak)
  • Flashing (material, typically aluminum or galvanized steel, used over joints in a roof to prevent water from entering the home)
  • Shingles
  • Gutters
  • The roof valley (where two slopes of roof meet)

Emergency Tips for Stopping a Roof Leak

Depending on the nature of your roof leak and when you discover it, you may not be able to get a qualified Indianapolis roofer to your home for a few days. The more water that seeps in through your roof, the more damage that you’re going to experience. Insurers will expect you to take reasonable measures to prevent damage once your roof’s leak has been discovered. Here are a few simple steps that you can take to protect your property once you’ve discovered a roof leak.

  • Dry any standing water that’s accumulated on the floor. Put pots down for small drips to collect water.
  • Move any furniture or carpeting out of the path of the dripping water.
  • If you can identify the place on the roof where the water is breaching you can cover the area with a tarp and secure it to your roof with deck screws. Use extreme caution when going on your roof and don’t attempt temporary repairs while a disaster or storm is in progress.
  • Remove items in your attic crawl space that are in the path of the water.

Remember, your roof may not be leaking directly above the ceiling damage. If you can identify the path of the water, it may help you identify the path of the leak.

Leaks will only get worse over time. Contact a Portland roofing contractor if you believe your roof has a leak. In many cases, the fix is modest and they can repair the leak quickly. But serious cases may require more time.

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