How to Find a Roof Leak
Your roof is among the most important parts of your home as it protects you, your belongings and the structure of the building from damage due to rain, wind, and more. Left untreated, a roof leak can (and will) cause damage to your home's structure as well as to your personal belongings. Therefore a roof leak should be taken seriously and repaired as quickly as possible.
Finding a roof leak may not be difficult but it can be. Are there any signs of leaking water within your home? Look around for any water spots, standing water or mold. For example, if you have a puddle on your bathroom floor, look upwards to find your source. Further, look upwards for water spots and any soft spots where the ceiling might sag. These are obvious signs of a roof leak. Also, look for simple dampness on a ceiling or wall. These can signal initial leaks that are just getting started. However, there is no guarantee that the leak is directly above where the water is dripping. Water from a leak may run down the inside of your sheating before dripping or may follow a chimney, exhaust vent, etc.. down to your ceiling.
Tracking a Roof Leak
First, inspect the roof from the inside of your attic. With luck you may be able to see clear evidence of the area that is leaking. While it is sunny outside see if you are able to see any light coming through the roof. (This will not work with wood shingle roofs as they are designed to allow light to shine through but pass water down the roof and not inside.) If it is raining outside (or with the help of some artifical rain such as a sprinkler) take a bright light source with you and see if you can follow the water trail to the source of the leak. Remember, the leak will usually be higher up the roof than the dripping water may suggest.
To investigate the exterior of your home, make use of binoculars or a ladder. From here you should be able to see roof damage and other structural problems. If your roof is wet do not attempt to walk on it. This is bad for both the roof and the roof structure. Check to make sure that water can escape from the roof's slope easily. If you see a build up of ice, you could have ice damage and once melting, this water could make its way inside your home through a damaged area.
Bad flashings are often the cause of a roof leak
Examine both your flashings and chimney area for any signs of a problem. Also, look at the points where an antenna or satellite dish connects to the home. Look for warped or cracked shingles or shakes and replace those immediately. Replace those that are too damaged completely. If you must replace just one or even several shingles, this does not mean that your entire roof will need to be replaced.
Next, look for any signs that debris may have damaged the structure of your roof. You may no longer see the debris but the damage will still be there. If you feel that you need help in identifying a roof leak, contact a reputable contractor for assistance.
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