You arrive home after a tough day and find an ominous note from your spouse on the kitchen table: “Roof leaking can’t find where, plz fix ASAP.” You have mixed emotions: your spouse trusts you to diagnose and fix a leaking roof, which is excellent. But, your spouse expects you to tackle such a tremendous job. Really?! Relax. We can help.
Really a Leak?
Professional roofing contractors use plenty of clues to begin hunting for roof leaks. Sometimes a “leak” is not a leak at all, so start with these signs:
- Do you see dark stains on ceilings and walls?
- Can you feel damp, cold, or clammy spots on ceilings and walls?
- From the safety of the ground, can you spot missing, cracked, or loose shingles?
- Looking at your downspouts as they spill into your yard, do you see shingle granules?
Three impostors can make you think your central Ohio or Florida home has a roof leak even when it does not. Consider:
- Condensation, which appears on interior metal and tile surfaces, is largely localized to bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry areas and appears intermittently without regard to the weather.
- Broken pipes from HVAC units in the attic or second-floor bathrooms. You need a plumber for the water pipes or an HVAC technician for the AC, since the air handler in the attic is decreasing humidity (one pipe) and circulating refrigerant (another pipe).
- Poor ventilation can cause humidity in your attic to increase so severely that water droplets pool and fall from the sheathing (the underside of your roof); poor ventilation in the kitchen and bathrooms can also contribute to condensation, as mentioned above.
Why a Leak?
Even the best-maintained homes can develop roof leaks. You improve your chances of avoiding expensive roof leaks with a few sensible measures:
- Ensure your roof is installed by skilled professionals — Poor installation can cause roofs to leak at weak spots, like around flashing, roof projections, and chimneys.
- Schedule annual inspection and maintenance — Your local, professional residential roofer can thoroughly inspect your roof yearly to protect against minor problems before they turn into expensive roof leaks.
- Storm damage — after any severe storm (ice, hail, or snow storms; hurricanes), consider a professional roof inspection to diagnose uplifted shingles, missing roofing elements, or damage from fallen tree limbs.
Find a Leak
You should never attempt to climb on your home’s roof; it simply is too dangerous. You can, though, comfortably climb into your attic to check a few clues, if you prepare:
- Wear a face mask, long-sleeve shirt, long pants, and safety goggles.
- Carry a flashlight and smartphone (for photographs).
Respect your home’s insulation; some insulation is best left to professionals due to inhalation risks.
What are you looking for in your attic? Five clues that can help your roofer find roof leaks:
- Dark or shiny spots on wood or insulation.
- Mold growth or mildew smell.
- Discoloration on wood or other materials, which may be water stains.
- Condensation on nails or other surfaces.
- Damage to insulation, such as holes, dampness, stains, or a combination of these.
Fix a Leak
Your neighborhood residential roofing contractor uses experience, an eagle eye, and fast action to find and stop roof leaks. The sooner you contact the roofer, the less expensive and extensive the damage will be.
Once your roofer rules out misleading clues like condensation, ventilation problems, or broken HVAC or plumbing pipes, the technician will search out the actual source of the leak. Roof leaks can be devilishly hard to find since water may enter the roof in one spot but appear inside your living space far away from the source.
Share your scouting report with your roofer, showing pictures of any suspect areas of your attic. Do not be offended if your roofer retraces your own steps to have a look in the attic. The expert’s eye may uncover signs you overlooked.
While your roofer may use temporary measures to prevent further water infiltration (like a tarp over your roof after storm damage), the sure remedy is a complete repair. This may mean replacing large areas of your roof, tearing off materials down to the sheathing, or even a complete roof replacement.
Your local roofer has the tools, training, and expertise needed to find and fix your home’s roof leaks. But no roofer can perform this vital work without you. At the first sign of a potential roof leak, contact your roofer and explain your concerns. If the problem turns out to be a roof leak, your roofer is your home’s best ally.
If you own a home in central Ohio or the Cape Coral, Florida area, please contact us at Allstate Exteriors & Restoration. We provide complete roofing services, from expert roof repair to total roof replacement.