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How To Spot And Repair Common Roof Leaks

Photo of leaks on roof

If you live on the West Coast, you probably already know how much damage can happen to your roof throughout the year. Whether you live in an area that sees a ton of rain or you live somewhere that has a tendency to see periods of severe weather, spotting and repairing any roof leaks that pop up are absolutely essential to the health of your roof and your home!

It’s best not to play games when it comes to the integrity of your house and your roof. Your home is one of the biggest investments that you’ll make in your entire life; so keep reading to learn about the best tactics for spotting common roof leak issues as well as the best ways to go about getting them fixed.

Signs of A Roof Leak

You can’t fix a leaking roof if you don’t know where the issue is and you definitely can’t fix anything if you don’t even know that you have a roof leak.

Here are some of the biggest telltale signs that you may have some precipitation coming through your house’s roofing structures.

Dripping Water

Most homeowners find out that their roof is leaking because of dripping water inside the house. This is one of the most severe signs as it means that the roof is leaking so much that you actually have a consistent drip of water coming into the interior area.

This can be extremely damaging because the dripping patterns may be unpredictable and you may not know what items in your home could get completely ruined.

However, dripping water should make it quite easy for you to find where you’re going to need to perform some repairs. You should be able to follow the source up to the roof as we’ll talk about later.

Water Stains

It can be frustrating to see water stains because it really lessens the appearance of a room or your entire house. Stains are ugly but they are also fairly easy to track when trying to find the source of the problem.

Stains can be caused in areas that may be ‘downstream’ from the root of the initial problem, so you’ll need to work logically to figure out where the issue is happening and fix it before replacing any stained tile or other items in your home.

Mold on Exterior Walls

When you are ready to actually look at the exterior of your house, looking for mold is a big tell for where your roof is probably having issues.

While mold is the biggest sign you will see, you could also see more water stains or even black marks on the outside of your walls and roofing.

Some people have trouble getting access to their roof, so you may need a professional to find these warning signs if you are in that situation.

Leaks That Are Hard To Find

You can actually use an interest strategy to find a leak that is proving quite difficult to find. This will only work if you have access to your work and if you have a partner who is willing to help you, however if you meet those requirements you can see a lot of success with this method.

The person helping you up on the roof will start with a hose as low as possible towards where the leak is appearing in the house. From there, they can progressively work up higher and higher up over the roof and across any chimneys until a drip becomes visible.

This can actually take a lot of time so you need to be careful and move slowly while trying to determine the exact spot.

You can also try to do some manual inspection for any damaged shingles in the area that you suspect is leaking.

Looking For Smaller Roof Leaks

Sometimes your roof leak may not have an obvious large leak. In these times, you will need to play detective to find a much smaller roof leak.

These can also include deceptive situations where your ceiling has a water mark that is quite far away from the actual leak itself. When this is happening, you’ll need to look for a flow stain that may be in your insulation.

Repairing Residential Roofing

Plumbing Vent Boots

There are three main types of vent boots that you can have in your residential ceiling. You could have vent boots that are all plastic, all metal, or a combination of plastic and metal units.

Either way, you need to check your boots for any cracks in plastic materials and any broken seams in your metal. You should also check the rubber boot that goes around your pipe as well. Regardless, make sure that you are that any nails of the replacement are properly secured and that any shingles you disturb are still in good shape if you don’t have any extras.

Fixing Roof Vents

Similar to vent boots, you want to check any cracks on plastic vents and any broken seams on metal vents. If you find cracked or broken vents, you won’t be able to simply use caulk to fix them – it’s too risky to rely on this as a long-term solution because it will probably wear away quickly.

You’ll also want to look for any nails that have gone missing or that may need pulled. Typically, you won’t need to replace the shingles to get that done, which will be much easier than completely re-doing everything.

When The Water Doesn’t Come From The Roof

Unfortunately, as most roofing contractors know, water is not always coming in through the shingled area that makes up your roof. There can be a multitude of factors that allows for water to get into your structure including wind-driven rain which can come in through corner boards and siding, and cracks in the siding as well. Luckily, this is a situation that is pretty straightforward.

Your first mission will be to check any caulk that is old, missing, or simply not sealed as it should be. Water can penetrate those cracked seals even if it looks like it is in good shape!

You’ll want to do a little digging with a putty knife to see if everything is sealed completely, and if it is not, you need to use a high-quality replacement to seal up the siding.

It should be obvious, but the same goes for the simple material that the siding is made from – if it’s cracked or missing in places, then it needs to be replaced with high-quality siding too.

Find The Small Stuff

One of the most frustrating things about having a roof leak is when a tiny problem becomes a large one. You need to stay vigilant because tiny holes in shingles can cause a ton of problems for a homeowner. A small hole could allow plenty of damage like a leaky roof, rot, or mold that would be completely unknown to the homeowner.

These are often simple to fix because they are usually related to a missing nail or a hole in a shingle, but you should not simply use caulk to fill the hole as this won’t last long and is not a permanent fix.

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