How to Inspect your Roof for Leaks

Water damage often takes time to show it’s actual effects, and by the time you notice the damage, the consequences will be extensive and expensive. To get ahead of the destruction, you should consider inspecting your roof twice a year. In order to properly examine your roof, you need to know the signs of water damage and how to locate where the leak is coming from. 

How to Spot a Leak

The most obvious sign of a leaky roof is water running down the walls of your attic, or puddles forming on the floor. If the climate you live in doesn’t receive a lot of precipitation, light seeping through cracks in the ceiling represents a space for environmental intrusion as well.  

There are also several signs indicating your roof has sprung a leak that often gets overlooked. Head up to your attic with a flashlight. From the inside, symptoms you should look for include dark or soft spots and peeling paint on the ceiling of your attic. These damages occur when the insulation inside the walls or ceiling becomes saturated with moisture. Remember that water travels downward, so it is penetrating from a source above the water damaged sight in your attic. 

You must also walk around the exterior of your house to investigate the roof’s appearance. On the outside, you should keep track of damaged or missing shingles, gaps in the metal flashing around chimneys and vent pipes, and small holes in the roofing. You can tell if these features are damaged simply by their appearance. If they are not all the same size, color and texture, the odd ones out are likely weathered. If you notice any of these marks or discrepancies, you should contact your local roofers for an assessment sooner rather than later. 

Some signs are more pertinent than others and call for immediate attention. Black dots on your shingles or the ceiling of your attic signify a mold problem. Any indication of mold should be taken care of ASAP because they usher potentially dangerous airborne illnesses. 

Finding the Source of the Leak

The easiest way to find the point of a leak is by inspecting the attic during a rainy day. Bring a flashlight because water will be easier to spot as it reflects off the light. Where you see water running or a spot spreading reveals the water’s point of entry. 

If you don’t want to wait for rain or if the area you live in does not often receive rain, bring a garden hose up on the roof. While someone is inside inspecting the attic, run the hose over the spots you believe the leak is coming from. 

Be sure to check your gutters and downspouts and clean them out if necessary. When these spaces are clogged, they will divert water into your home and enable water to puddle on your roof. When water puddles on your roof, it causes soft spots and ultimately allows water to seep through.

Can’t Find the Leak?

Maybe you know your roof is leaking because it’s exhibiting all telltale signs but, you can’t seem to pinpoint a location for the water’s entry. One way to get a clearer picture of what’s happening on your roof is to clean it of debris. Branches, leaves, moss and other outdoor objects that build up on your roof will harbor moisture and cause problems. Removing the waste can be done simply with a broom or leaf blower if you are comfortable doing it yourself. If you still can’t find the location of a leak after cleaning your roof, there are other options. 

Another way to find the source of a seemingly hidden leak is to spend some time walking on the roof; damaged shingles are not always apparent from the ground. Carefully walk along your roof when it’s dry and closely examine your shingles. You should feel for soft spots and indentations. Soft or sunken shingles are an indication of water damage and require professional attention. Also, take a look at the texture of your shingles. They should have a rough, granule texture. This coating protects your roof from water, and if it’s lacking, your roof becomes more susceptible to damage. 

Remember that a smart homeowner is a pro-active homeowner. Don’t wait until the water is running down your walls to look for the source of a leak. Locating the source of a leaking roof is often the most challenging part of fixing it. So, don’t be discouraged if you go to the ends of the earth to find a source, and it still comes up missing. Your local roofers will be able to pinpoint the location if you cannot. Don’t worry about the price of an inspection; if your roof is leaking, you need to hire professionals for the repairs anyway.

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