A leaky roof is not only a nuisance but can cause permanent damage to your home if you neglect the issue for too long. It is easy to want to create a temporary fix for a leak but putting off repairing the issue can lead to a simple leak expanding and creating more water damage. This extended water damage can lead to mold and, in worst cases, a collapsed roof.
Finding a leak in your roof and finding the exact source can be a difficult process but it is something you can do yourself. Not only can you find the leak but if it is minor, you may be able to fix it yourself without spending money on repairs by a professional roofing contractor.
How to Find a Leak in Your Roof
Before you rush out and pay for a roofing contractor, you may first want to try to fix the problem yourself. However, leaky roof detection can be deceiving. You may see water stains but that may not necessarily be where the leak is located. There are other signs to look for, besides just leaking water, such as:
- Water stains forming on your ceiling
- Mold that has started growing
- A strong, musty odor
Not only do you need to find where the leak is located you need to determine whether you leak is due to a roof leak or faulty plumbing. It is a game of elimination but your best chances of finding a leak is to do your detective work while the leak is active.
In most cases, water leaks originate from damaged shingles. They can also come from the intersecting of roof planes or roof flashing that is no longer sealed properly.
After the water finds its way through the roof, it can find itself flowing through your rafters and creating a constant leak into your home.
If you have an attic, this may be the easiest way to find your leak without the distraction of shingles.
- Use a flashlight to illuminate the ceiling of your attic.
- If you can see the light escaping through plywood, you may have found your leak.
- Dampened and dark wood or mold may also be a sign of the leak.
If, for any reason, you cannot locate the leak while it’s active you can do a water test during dry weather. In order to do this, you will need a person on the roof and a person near the leak on the inside of the house.
- The person on the roof will run a hose and heavily wet various spots for minutes at a time. Be on the lookout for any roof stains or penetrations through the roof. Penetrations can be found near chimneys or other areas that protrude out of your roof.
- The person inside the home will alert the person on the roof once they find water dripping.
- Once you are sure of the vicinity of the leak, you will want to tear out the surrounding shingles to find the exact spot.
How to Fix a Leak in Your Roof
Depending on the severity of the leak, you may be able to fix it yourself. If the leak proves to be too difficult, do not feel bad in asking for help or paying a roofer to fix the leak. That is what a professional is for!
If you have a damaged shingle, the fix takes a bit of labor but it is not a complicated process.
- First, you will need to remove the nail holding the shingle on your roof.
- After the nails and shingle are removed, you will need to scrape up the roof cement.
- Finally, you will lay fresh roof cement and simply apply a new shingle by nailing it in.
If your roof has asphalt shingles, you are in luck! These are undeniably one of the easiest to fix as, in most cases, the shingles are curled from aging.
- A curled shingle can be re-flattened by using fresh asphalt roofing cement to hold it down. You will want to press the shingle against the cement for a few moments to make sure it stays flat.
- The same process applies if you need to attach a new asphalt shingle, just remember to remove the old roof cement beforehand.
Plumbing Vent Boots/Pipe Flashing
Plumbing vent boots, also known as pipe flashing, tend to create the most common types of leaks. The flashing sealant can loosen after periods of time or nails can become damaged due to weather.
- You will need to remove all the shingles surrounding the vent boot to find the exact problem but try your best not to damage the shingles.
- After finding the problem and removing it, replace it with a new vent boot by using roof nails.
Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?
If you are unable to fix the leak or have several leaks happening at once, it may be time to call in a professional roofer for help. So you may be wondering if your homeowners’ insurance will cover any roof leaks or roof damage.
It varies from insurance plan to plan so you will have to check with your insurance agent to get an accurate answer.
However, with most insurance plans, it depends on how the damage on your roof was created. If your roof was damaged by Mother Nature such as a storm, your plan is more likely to cover the cost of repairing the roof damage.
If the damage has been created due to the old age of your roof or natural wear and tear, your insurance plan will not cover the cost.
Locating and stopping a simple roof leak does not have to be a hardship nor should you necessarily hire someone to fix it. You can detect a leak in your attic or from your rooftop with a helper. And with the right tools and the right information, you can repair damaged shingles and even pipe flashing that needs to be resealed. Make sure you take safety precautions any time you find yourself on your roof!
If DIY isn’t quite your style, our professional contractors at Lifetime Roofing can repair a leaky roof for you. You can rest assured that we will do a top-notch job that you and your family can rely on through the season.