If you’ve been plagued with a recent leak in your home and are having difficulty identifying its source, it can be both frustrating and problematic. The issue may be hard to pin down because the area where the water is pooling may not be located directly under the source of the leak. It can often take a thorough inspection to find the root of the problem and point of entry in your home. If you’re not sure where to start, here are some tips to decode your roof leak.
What Causes Roof Leaks?
As your home’s first line of defence against the elements, your roof withstands a great deal of impact from falling debris and extreme climate conditions. Over time, this may lead to weathering and damage, which could cause leaks. Common causes of roof leaks include missing or broken shingles, damaged flashing, clogged gutters, insufficient ventilation, and improper seals at valleys and around vents, chimneys, and skylights.
How to Identify the Source
It can be intimidating to get up on a ladder and inspect your attic and roof, especially if you’re unsure where to start. The first step to identifying your source is visually inspecting the inside of your home and looking for telltale signs.
Roof leaks don’t always come in the form of noticeable drips. Any evidence of moisture trickling down your walls or coming from your ceiling indicates that you may have a roof issue on your hands. Even if there is no drip, water stains on your ceiling also point to this problem. These stains often look like wet spots with brown rings around them. Be careful during your inspection because these moisture areas can often come with the presence of harmful mould.
Determine the Type of Leak
Before you bring out the tools, check to see when the leak occurs. For example, if it happens only after a rainy day and dries out afterward, this is a good indication of a roof issue. If the leak happens rain or shine, it could mean a plumbing problem. And if you’re still unsure, check the leak’s water quality – dirty water can point to a roof leak, whereas clean water can reveal plumbing issues.
Determining the type of leak can be challenging if there are water stains and no physical drips. In this case, you can get on a ladder and feel for wetness in the discoloured area to see if it ever dries out or remains damp regardless of the weather outside.
Check the Roof
To identify the source of the leak, you’ll need to check the inside of the attic and on top of the roof. In the attic, you should look for areas that have water ring marks, softened surfaces, or bubbling. You may need to remove the insulation and look between the roof joists to identify the source.
The problem may be a hole, so look for any signs of light shining through. If you do find a hole, place something through it, so it sticks out of the roof, making it easier for you to identify when you go to patch the top. Be careful not to make the hole bigger, of course!
If there are no visible holes, the water may be leaking through from the flashings or the shingles. Document any areas of moisture damage, mould, or water stains and when you go on top of the roof, check all the flashings, vents, and shingles in the area you found the water damage.
Remember, the location of the leak in your home may not align with the source because water can run along structural elements before it finds a point to begin dripping. If you can’t find the source of your leak right in the area where you found the damage, check the higher points in the attic and on the roof. Moisture could have trickled down rafters, beams, or vapour barriers before it started dripping.
Ensure you proceed with caution when going onto your roof and avoid doing so if it is raining or if it is really steep. In the event that this is too dangerous, contact a professional roofer so they can bring the right equipment for a safe inspection.
If you are having difficulty finding any issues on top of the roof, check your gutters and attached downspouts. Sometimes debris such as twigs and leaves can get stuck in these areas, causing water to get backed up and leak underneath shingles, flashings, or any poorly sealed points on your roof.
Finding the Difficult Leaks
If the source of your leaky roof is still not obvious after a thorough visual inspection, a continuous stream of water may be required to find it. This is typically a two-person job. One person should stay inside, waiting for water to trickle through, while the other person goes up on the roof with a hose to soak the area of concern. Try to organize this by dividing the area into sections. When one area does not reveal a leak, move your soaking to the next section and repeat this process until a drip appears inside the house.
How Roofmaster Can Help
Identifying water damage and leaks is not always easy. It can also be dangerous working on roofs and dealing with water damage if there is the presence of mould. Quick DIY fixes are unlikely to provide a long-term solution, especially if it is a more severe issue that’s hard to identify.
At Roofmaster, you can leave the inspection and repair to us. We have professional equipment and expertise backed by over 40 years of experience. Contact us today so we can get to the root of your leaky roof and provide the repairs you need for long-term peace of mind.