When it rains, it pours. But, you don’t want to feel those raindrops in your humble home. Roof leaks are a problem that homeowners are bound to deal with at one time or another in life. The trick is to catch the roof leak early so you deal with the situation in the best way possible, and get back to loving your home. Here are the ins and outs of dealing with roof leaks, from finding the source to choosing whether to DIY the solution.
Signs of a Roof Leak
Finding a roof leak is often the hardest part of the process. It can start from an incredibly small crack in the infrastructure and turn into an emergency situation. Some of these super small leaks can cause rot and other damage throughout your roof before you notice the leak. So, the moment that you notice a water stain in your home is the moment to take action.
There are a couple of places in the roof that water might be able to get into. It could be coming through worn, broken, or missing shingles. Nails throughout your roof might have gotten loose, leaving a space for water to get into. If your roof isn’t sealed correctly around vents, skylines, or chimneys it can get through in between the wood. The leak might be a couple of layers below or off to the side. Try to think about the way that water would flow through a roof, and search for the leak with that thought in mind. Once you find where the leak started, you have to go on the hunt for moisture.
If that’s not a possibility, you can use a garden hose to try and create a man-made leak. Have a helper stay inside the house and begin to soak different areas of the roofline along with the chimney or a vent. Make sure that the hose is running for several minutes before you move on to the next area. That’ll give enough time for the hose to start making a leak of its own. Tell your helper to yell when they start seeing the physical appearance of a leak. After this process, you’ll definitely have a solid starting point to find the source of the leak.
Finding a Roof Leak
Take a look into your attic during the daytime, and make sure that you bring a bright flashlight with you to make sure that you don’t miss a drop. Be sure that you’re only stepping onto large support beams. Don’t step onto the insulation or the top part of the ceiling. They’re not built to support your weight, you will fall through. You definitely don’t need a hole in the ceiling, along with a leaky roof. Try to go shortly after heavy rain. Start your search above where you noticed the leak, and keep looking up for wetness along with the framing members. If this isn’t a new phenomenon, look out for watermarks, stains, or discoloration that moisture would cause. There might also be mold lying around, so make sure that you’re protected with a mask and some gloves. If you can’t find these factors then, try to turn off the light and see if you can find a hole where daylight is shining through. No matter how small, that hole might be the place that the water is getting into.
If you don’t have attic access, you might have to head onto the roof and look for these warning signs on the other side. This is a dangerous decision to make, so you might want to call a professional to go on the hunt for you. If you choose to go by yourself, be sure to go on a dry day. Moisture makes the shingles slippery, and you surely don’t want to deal with all of that. Ask someone to be your “spotter” on the ground. If an accident occurs you need to have someone that you trust looking out for you to take the next step.
D.I.Y or Call a Professional?
Knowing which leaks you can fix yourself and which leaks you have to call a professional on can make the difference between completely getting rid of the problem or creating a new, more serious problem into the future. If you can easily find the source of the leak then it might be a good candidate for a D.I.Y project. A good example of a possible D.I.Y project would be a fresh, new leak that didn’t cause any long-term problems to the shingles around it.
On the flip side, you should call a professional if the leak has caused some serious damage to the surrounding shingles. If you can’t easily find the source of the leak there may be a bigger problem lies on your roof. Calling a professional and nipping it in the bud now will definitely save you some of your hard-earned cash in the future.
Unless you are super confident in your abilities as a roof DIY’er, it may be worth it to call a professional in either one of these situations and at least get a repair quote so you can be aware of your options as a homeowner. Most roofing companies will provide quotes for free or at a low price, so it would definitely be worth it to get a professional opinion as soon as you can identify the leak.
Leaky roofs cause anxiety and fear for homeowners across the nation. But, if you’re proactive about finding the leak you can make the right decisions for you in order to fix the source of the leak as soon as possible. No matter if you call a professional or choose to handle the situation all by yourself, you should do as much research as possible in order to educate yourself on the situation and give your roof the TLC that it needs in order to get back to tip-top shape. The quicker that you notice the leak the more money you save and the less stress you’ll have as a homeowner. Once you patch up that leak, you can stop worrying about the leak and get back to enjoying your beautiful home.