Even the smallest roof leak can damage your home. And if it goes unfixed for too long it can lead to mold growth, which is not only gross but also potentially dangerous to your health. That’s why locating the source of your roof leak and getting it fixed ASAP should be your top priority.
Follow these five steps to find your leak fast and get it repaired quickly.
Step 1: Look for the First Signs of a Roof Leak
Usually the first signs of a roof leak are the sight and sound of dripping water. However, there are other telltale signs you’re likely to discover, regardless of whether it’s raining or not. These include:
- Musty odors in certain rooms.
- Water stains on your ceiling.
- Spots on your exterior walls.
- Bulging patches on your interior walls.
- Missing or warped shingles.
Step 2: Check Your Attic
The next step to finding your roof leak is to grab a flashlight and climb up into your attic. Watch where you step to avoid putting a hole through your ceiling. You should be looking for water stains, mold or black marks along the rafters and roof sheathing.
Step 3: Make It Rain
If you can’t find your roof leak with a quick inspection, then it’s time to perform a rain dance. Enlist a helper to stay inside the house near the spot where you first noticed the leak. Then, go up on your roof with a garden hose and soak your roof one section at a time. Have your helper shout once they see a drip.
Step 4: Make Repairs Where You Can
Depending on the location of your leak, there are many potential fixes you can do yourself if you have the tools and know-how. Here are a few common ways to stop a roof leak:
- Replace Damaged Shingles: If the leak is coming from a damaged shingle, remove the nail holding it in place and scrape up any remaining roofing cement. Take a new shingle, lay down fresh cement and then nail the replacement shingle over the exposed area.
- Reapply Caulk Around Chimneys, Vents and Window Edges: If you find a leak around any of these elements, try replacing the caulk around the flashing. This will fill in any gaps that may have opened up since the roof was last replaced.
- Fix Plumbing Vent Boots: Damaged vent boots can let water in where it shouldn’t be. You can find replacements at any hardware store. Though if the existing boot is in good shape, you may just need to replace the screws with rubber-washered ones. These will keep water from seeping in through the screw holes.
Step 5: Call a Professional Roofer for More Complex Leaks
If the problem is beyond a simple DIY fix or involves extensive structural damage to your roof, call a professional as soon as possible. They will be able to identify the extent of your roof leak and provide repair estimates. Solutions to more complex problems may include:
- Replacing Roof Flashing
- Installing Heat Cables
- Total Roof Replacements