Five Tips to Find a Leak in Your Roof

ceiling leakFew things strike fear into the heart of a homeowner like the phrase “leaky roof.” Catching a roof leak early can mean the difference between a simple do-it-yourself repair and calling in a professional roofing company.   If you have a water bulge in your ceiling or your drywall is sagging due to a roof leak, poke a hole in it with a pencil.  This will alleviate the water pressure and avoid a collapsed wall or ceiling.

Here are five tips to find a roof leak.

  1. First step is to check your gutters. Sometimes gutters get blocked and can back up. These blocks can act just like a roof leak so make sure the gutters are clear.
  2. Simply look up at the ceiling. Water spots are a surefire sign that you have some water reaching places it shouldn’t. The next place to inspect would be the attic. If water is leaking through the roof, the attic will show some signs of water leakage. Go up with a flashlight and check for dripping water.   Look for signs of water staining on the underside of the roof boards.  Also look for wet insulation.
  3. Start by looking at the roof above the stains. Look for any holes or other penetrations in the roof. Items that penetrate the roof are by far the most common source of leaks. For example, roofing nails that have started to leak will have dark spots around the nail. It is rare that a roof will develop a leak in open areas of uninterrupted shingles. Check areas around roof vents, plumbing, chimneys, skylights, dormers or anything else that is built through the roof.
  4. If the problem still is not obvious recruit a helper to climb on the roof with a garden hose. In the attic, knock on the area where the leak appears to be so the helper knows where to start applying the water. Start soaking the area just above the leak and work up from there. Soak each area for a few minutes before moving on to a higher area. This will give the water ample time to work its way through the roof and spot the leak. Give a yell when the leak becomes visible. The leak will be in this area. Remember to be patient and don’t move too quickly. Let the water do its work.
  5. If running water over the roof doesn’t reveal the location of the leak don’t be afraid to start pulling up shingles in the area of the leak. Remember the sooner the leak is found, the sooner it can be fixed. With the shingles out of the way, tracking the leak should be even easier. Discolored paper, water stains, or rotted wood will all be in the vicinity of the leak. Start looking up from the stains for any penetrations in the roof as this is the likely the source of the leaking roof.

A leaking roof is always cause for alarm. Tracking the leak and having it repaired as quickly as possible is always the best course of action. But if your ceiling or drywall is collecting water from a roof leak, it is very important to poke a hole and allow that water to drain.

Don’t hesitate to call an Excel Roofing expert out to the home. We have been dealing with leaky roofs and other roofing issues for years and have the knowledge and experience to get the job done.  And done right!



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