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Roof Leak Detection: How to Find a Roof Leak

Roof Leak Detection: How to Find a Roof Leak

Roof Leak Detection: How to Find a Roof Leak.

It’s every homeowner’s worst nightmare; there’s water leaking through a part of your ceiling. But where is it coming from? Water can travel along boards, beams, and wires hidden above your ceiling for several feet from where they entered your home, making the spot where the leak was detected unreliable at finding the source. Here are a couple of roof leak detection methods that will help you figure out where your roof is leaking from so you can take measures to protect your home.

Roof Leak Detection Method 1: Conduct a Water Test

Water stains can be a good indicator of where the water has entered your home, but they aren’t always reliable. Some surfaces don’t stain, or there may be older stains there that can lead to confusion. Therefore, one of the best ways to determine where your roof is leaking from is to do so under the conditions it leaked in the first place.

Obviously, the best time to do this is during a rain or snow storm, since this is most likely when the water entered your home originally. If that isn’t possible, however, you can also conduct a water test by aiming a hose at varying sections of your roof to help you locate the leak.

This will not only help you find the leak, it will also help you determine the cause; if you’re running water on the roof and it isn’t leaking, there could be another cause such as leaking pipes or water condensation.

Roof Leak Detection Method 2: Enter Your Attic

Your next step to locating the leak is to get closer to the source by venturing into your attic. Begin by determining where approximately the water is leaking into the living space below, and then try to find this place in the attic. You may be able to then trace the water back to the underside of the roof of the roof itself from there.

While you’re in there, try to take some measurements of where the leak is by looking for things like your position relative to stacklines, chimneys, and vents. This will help you find it on the roof more easily.

Roof Leak Detection Method 3: Visit the Roof

Once you know the general area of the roof that you’re looking for, it’s time to pay a visit to it. Make sure you go up when the area is dry, wearing non-skid shoes. Look for your indicators that you marked form the attic – the vents and chimneys that will help you find the leak on the outside.

Now, you can inspect the roof itself for torn, missing, or damaged shingles, shingles that have curled corners, missing or damaged flashing, and other signs of damage. Remember that if you find an area that has obvious signs of damage, you can take steps to protect your home while you wait for a repair by covering the area with a tarp to prevent additional water damage to your home.

Undertaking Roof Repair

If you’ve found a few missing shingles or a very localized area of damage, you may want to repair the area yourself by installing some new shingles to make a patch. Otherwise, you may want to give your local roofing company a call to have them come out and give you an estimate on repairing the roof. Sometimes if you find damage in one area, it could be present over other areas of the roof as well, necessitating a bigger repair than a simple patch.

Act Quickly

Every time water invades your home it can be causing damage and promoting the growth of mold and mildew. Remember to act quickly as soon as you discover a leak in your home to rectify the situation and protect your home from further damage.


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The roof looks fabulous and so was our experience with Northern Virginia Roofing. We truly appreciate the quality of your workmanship and the final clean up. It was a joy!

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