A roof leak can be a homeowner’s maintenance nightmare, especially if it turns out that the leak has been there a while. At the first sign of a leak, it is important to start doing some detective work to try to find the source, then calling for roofing repair. Some roof leaks can be easy to track down while others may require a roofing expert to find.

Outside the House

Companies who offer roofing repairs suggest to begin by looking for signs of a leak, such as new roof damage or other areas that are obviously damaged or out of place, such as the following:

  • Flashing and Vents - Check flashing around the roof to make sure that it is in place and is in good condition. Check all seals and vent boots around roofing vents and any other protrusions to ensure all are in good condition. Check where roof angles change and there is flashing protecting the roof seam. Also check anywhere that the roofing is flashed up against another surface, like siding or dormers. Missing or damaged flashing causes a majority of roof leaks, so this is usually the best place to start looking. 
  • Roofing - When inspecting flashing, roof repair experts say to inspect the roofing surface itself. Look for missing or obviously damaged shingles, areas where the roof has been struck by debris or holes caused by debris, such as branches. Shingles not well sealed, do not lay flat, or otherwise allow water underneath may be the cause. Holes from missing nails can cause leak as well.

Inside the House

Repair pros suggest following the leak, if possible, by carefully entering the attic space and looking around. Keep in mind that leaks do not always start close to where they appear, so it may require some searching as follows:

  • Insulation - Notice if the insulation feels wet or if appears to have been wet before. Try to find the wettest area and concentrate search efforts there.
  • Decking and Rafters - Once again, signs of both past and present wetness are the main clue as to where water is coming through the roof. Search the rafters and decking looking for dampness or other signs of leaking, like mold or even rotting wood. Look for nail holes and other areas where light shines through the roof and into the attic. It can also be helpful in attempting to detect leaks to have someone run a hose on the roof, while a second person searches under the roof from inside the house.
  • Vents, Pipes, and Protrusions - Search any vents, pipes, or other protrusions in the roof from the underside to see if the leak originates from those holes. If the flashing is protective, there should be no leaking. Water coming in from around these things means they are unsealed.

While these are some simple things homeowners can do to try to find the source of a roofing leak, if more extensive inspection is necessary, it should be left to roofing repair experts. Obvious leaks can be covered or temporarily patched while waiting for roofers to make a repair; if the source of the leak is not easily detected, call a roof repair company. Getting a roof leak repaired as soon as possible, even if it has been leaking a while, is important for the preservation of the roof!

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