Is your roof leaking? We all know the dreadful feeling that comes from noticing water stains in the ceiling or a puddle on the floor. Catching those leaks early can make the difference between an expensive replacement and a basic home repair. Here are some tips that will help you spot a leaky roof and find the source.
How to Tell if Your Roof is Leaking
Check the Attic
The most direct method is to simply go up into the attic and have a look around. Do you notice signs of water on the rafters or insulation? Are there any black or brown marks around the roofing nails or the underside of the roof boards? Each of these can point you in the direction of the source. Mould can also be a sign of a leaky roof or a lack of proper venting.
Inspect Around Piping, Plumbing or Ventilation
If you notice any indications of a leak, track it down by looking above the stains. Look around any penetrations in the roof such as piping, plumbing, ventilation, dormers, and chimneys. Water is subject to gravity and will always take the path of least resistance – and that path is typically found in one of these places. It is rare that a roof will just start leaking in a spot of uninterrupted shingles unless the shingles themselves have deteriorated.
Look for Lighter Spots
You can also use a flashlight to identify potential damp areas by directing it across the surfaces to see if anything appears shiny and reflective. Alternatively, switch it off and carefully scan the area for any sunny or brighter spots that might be filtering in from weakened sections or gaps. This could point you toward the problem.
Look for Condensation
In many cases, condensation is often to blame instead of an actual leak. It’s a common occurrence in older homes that have poor ventilation.
Hire a Professional to Inspect the Roof
If the leak still isn’t obvious, it’s best to call in a professional to have a look. They can safely climb up onto the roof and perform a thorough inspection. They’ll analyze the exterior and interior, including the attic and the entire perimeter.
What are the Most Common Causes of Roof Leaks?
There can be numerous issues that cause a roof to leak, and understanding the typical culprits can help you take the necessary steps to prevent moisture damage from occurring in the first place. To help you narrow it down or reduce the risk, here are the most common causes of roof leaks:
Shingles protect your roof from the outdoor elements. So when they get damaged or ripped off during a storm, it will leave your roof vulnerable to moisture. If you’ve experienced any extreme weather, this could be the reason why you’re experiencing leaks.
Vents and Exhaust Fans
If something was improperly installed due to poor workmanship, it will also create weaknesses along the roof. Two particular areas where this is most common are the vents and exhaust fans. These can allow water to penetrate through the roof if they aren’t correctly fitted.
Eavestroughs that are filled with leaves and dirt can pose a significant threat to your roof. If they’re consistently clogged, this will prevent excess water from being able to filter down through the system and out towards the storm drains. Instead, moisture will collect along the roof and even seep down along the sides, increasing the potential for water damage. Keeping your gutters clear is a simple but important way to safeguard your home from moisture.
Problems with the Chimney
Chimneys are designed to extend from the roof all the way down to your fireplace. Since it stretches right through the home, it can lead to leaks if problems occur with the flashing. To correct this, you’ll need to call in a pro.
Speaking of flashing, it’s one of the most important components for protecting and sealing up the roof. It gets placed around many features, including plumbing vents and skylights. So any issues with the flashing – whether it’s slightly bent or missing altogether – can create access points for leaks.
DIY Roof Repairs
The roof is a complex and costly part of any structure. Therefore, it should only be handled by a qualified, licensed roofing professional. And the reality is most homeowners don’t have the knowledge and expertise that’s required to properly address issues that may occur. So even if you feel tempted to take on repairs on your own, leave it to the expert. Aside from increasing the chance of damage, one simple mistake can end up costing you much more in the long run. Plus, it can be dangerous. The bottom line is it’s not worth the risk or the fees you’d likely need to pay for future repairs.
Large branches that hand over the top of the roof can be hazardous to it. During extreme weather, they could snap and penetrate the roof structure. Even without extreme weather, branches can still impose damage if they scrape against the surface regularly and impact the shingles. Precarious limbs can also invite critters to burrow and nest in the roof or chimney. If you have trees next to your home, consider getting them trimmed.
Walking on the Roof
Even walking on the roof can result in damage. If there are weak and vulnerable spots and you walk across them, moisture could find a way through. All the more reason to hire an expert who can easily identify vulnerable sections and use proper footing techniques.
Still can’t find the leak? Give Roofmaster a call and we’ll send someone out to have a look and determine the cause. We’ve helped homeowners around Ottawa for over 35 years, and we can help you too! Our team is licensed, experienced, and we’ve been recognized as one of the best roofing companies in the city. When you need reliable roof repairs you can count on, contact us!