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How To Detect Roof Leaks

What Is Electronic Leak Detection

Finding a Roof Leak

Electronic Leak Detection is a non-destructive diagnostic used to identify water leak entry and areas of trapped water within a flat or low pitched roof construction. Using electronically charged bristles, it is an non-intrusive roof leak detection method can identify problematic areas with pinpoint precision. The failed roof areas are then clearly marked so that a schedule of remedial works can take place. With no guess work involved or the need to conduct flood testing, this method of water leak detection is painless, accurate and environmentally friendly.

The Benefits of this Roof Diagnostic
  • A fast and accurate method of locating leaks in most types of waterproofing membranes.
  • The equipment is available for testing in both wet and dry conditions.
  • The test equipment will detect leaks as small as small screw holes, normally without the need to remove surface coatings or make special provisions.
  • All defects will be marked on the roofs surface with survey paint and plotted on a CAD drawing for the effective execution of repairs.

This is an ideal solution for a quick and accurate reading of leaks in your roofs waterproofing membrane.

Remember, a roof with leaks and trapped water can become dangerous, quickly. To avoid a worst case scenario, contact us today for your free site survey.

Alternatively for more information on Electronic Leak Detection or any roof leak detection services, call us on: .

Find A Roof Leak When Its Not Raining

Start in the attic.

Look for discoloration on wood sheathing or rafters caused by water.

Water stains will often appear darker due to wood rot, mildew or mold.

Some water stains appear light colored.

You may see stain streaks along rafters or other supports.

Look around penetrating pipe vents and chimneys.

Pay special attention to vent pipe and chimney flashing, as these are often the culprits.

Keep in mind, some of these stains may have been caused prior to a recent roof replacement or roof repair.

If a visual inspection both inside and outside the house does not determine the cause of the leak

You may need to perform a water test.

Hire A Professional To Complete The Task

Choosing the right metal siding is important to your projects success. Using screws and plastic washers can help you install metal siding properly. If you want to remove the siding later, you can do it yourself. But if youre not sure how to remove it, there are some simple tips you can follow. If youre not confident, you can always hire a professional to complete the task.

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Checking For Ceiling Stains

One of the few indicators is a brown spot on your ceiling. It means water is entering from the circular stain to the direction of the long flow of water in the opposite direction.

If your ceiling is an angle on a slope, it will go in the direction from the top of the roof to the bottom. If not fixed within a timely manner, it will eventually move to the side of the wall.

Bringing In A Professional

How to Find and Fix Roof Leaks

Sometimes, the best solution is hiring a professional. Not only can a periodical inspection by qualified professionals detect signs of leaks youve overlooked, they can find if theres more than one source and locate those sources quickly. Most contractors and roofing firms will also provide a warranty for their work. While more expensive initially, a good roofing expert could potentially save you a lot of money in the long run, as they will be able to point out any secondary issues, such as early mold growth.

You may also choose to get your roof inspected on an annual or semi-annual basis to catch potential trouble spots early. This is especially useful if your home has a history of roof leaks or your roof is approaching the end of its warranty. Finally, it is best to hire a professional if you arent confident in your ability to work on roofs, as mistakes can be both expensive and dangerous due to the height.

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Chapter : How To Isolate The Leak For Certain

Sometimes the source of a leak can be so evasive that you need to recruit a friend to help you. Using the water testing method that Im going to show you in this chapter, you should be able to locate a leak every time.

In order for this step to work it needs to be a dry day. Have your friend stand on the roof with hose and start spraying the entire roof, bottom to top. While your friend is on the roof, you want to be in the attic.

At some point while your friend is flooding the roof, water will leak into the attic and you will be able to mark the point of entry thus finding the source of the leak! Make sure to bring a bucket up to the attic to catch the hose water that seeps through!

Leak Detection: What To Look For

Obviously, a leaky ceiling is one of the clearest signs that your roof is leaking water into the house. But before you actually see and hear the drip of a leaky ceiling, you might notice some other clues that youve got a roof leak.

Water damage is associated with mold and mildew if you notice a fetid stench in some part of your house, somethings wet somewhere. Follow the smell and see if you can get to the source.

Before water starts to actually drip, you might notice off-colored stains on the ceiling or at the top of the walls. Unless youve recently left the lid off of your blender, the only thing thats going to cause this kind of splotchy discoloration is a leaky ceiling.

If you notice that some part of your interior walls are bloated, or even bulging out in places, they could be getting waterlogged and quickly losing their structural integrity. This is a serious sign that somethings wrong, and you should check your roof and you should do some thorough roof leak detection right away.

You might not even notice any of these inside the home. But, if you notice that you have any damaged shingles then theres a decent chance the roof is leaking where you see the problem.

The trouble is, most of these signs of roof leaks dont make it very easy to find the source of the leak . So, now that weve identified a potential leak, we need to look deeper.

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How To Find A Roof Leak With Attic Access

  • Can You Access Your Attic?
  • To start, youll need to figure out if you can access your attic. If you can, you can investigate the attic to look for signs of water. If you cant, skip to our section on finding a roof leak without attic access.

    Before you enter the attic, you should consider what kind of insulation you have. Some can be dangerous for your health. For example, if you might have asbestos insulation, you should not enter your attic . If you have fiberglass insulation, you can enter your attic, wearing gloves, goggles and a face mask. Check your local safety regulations to make sure youre wearing everything the authorities recommend. Also, you should bring a flashlight.

    Also, if the leak is severe or may have built up for some time, you should consider whether the ceiling can hold your weight. Enough water damage can compromise the integrity of the ceiling or the ceiling joists and you wouldnt want to fall through. Ask a professional if you are unsure.

  • Look for Signs of Moisture.
  • Start your search above the leak in the ceiling. Look for moisture or signs of moisture on the roof truss or insulation above it.

    Those signs include:

    • Dark spots on wood or insulation.
    • Mold growth or mildew smell.
    • Discoloration, which may be a water stain, on wood or other materials.
    • Condensation on nails or other surfaces.
    • Damage to insulation, such as holes, dampness and/or stains.
  • Use Light to Your Advantage.
  • What To Do When You Find a Potential Leak Source

    How To Detect A Roof Leak

    Roofing – How to find a roof leak

    A roof leak in any real estate property can make even the best properties unsellable. They are difficult to locate many times where the roof leaks is not where the actual problem is. Structural damage occurs over time if a roof leak is not found and repaired, and ceilings and walls may become discolored and moldy. Detecting and repairing a roof leak is paramount for any home listed on the market to prevent damage and to keep the property in a sell-able state.


    Determine if there is a roof leak. Look for mold or mildew in attics or on walls. Look for discoloration on ceiling tiles or drywall. Look for wet, moist and rotting wood in crawl spaces, around chimneys or other additions, such as skylights and vents.


    Water down the roof with fresh water from either buckets or a hose. This is called a flood test. When the roof becomes saturated, it will begin to leak.


    Add a pigment to the water, like food coloring or dye. A bright color like red will be easy to trace and see. The water will carry this pigment through the leaking area and it will act like a beacon to show you the precise point where the water is coming in.


    Check the attic for dyed areas. Follow the dye path from where it begins to where it comes out to find the leak. There may be multiple points of entry, so if you find one point, continue to search thoroughly until you are satisfied that there are no more leaks.


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    Does Home Insurance Cover Roof Leaks

    Many homeowners turn to their insurance policies when their roof springs a leak, hoping to recoup some or all of the costs from the policy. But does your home insurance cover a leaking roof? If it was caused by general wear-and-tear, likely not. However, if your roof was damaged by an unforeseen event like a storm, you may be in luck.

    How To Fix Leaking Gutters

    Your guttering system is one of the most vital components of a happy, healthy home. Leaking gutters can lead to rotting timbers, mould or mildew build-up, unsightly staining, and more. Not only are these unpleasant, but these can seriously compromise the safety and value of your property. If theres an issue with your guttering, its imperative to get it fixed ASAP.

    Learn More: How to Fix Leaking Gutters

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    Look Inside The Residence

    Looking inside might seem obvious but there are a few specific steps to take that will help you gather more information. You need to take pictures that will help you track if the leak gets bigger in the future. Tracing the edges of the drywall stain with a pencil will help you know for sure if the stain grows. This becomes specifically helpful after the leak is repaired.

    Measure the distance between the center of the leak and two different outside walls. This will help you once you are in the attic and on the roof. You will also need to measure the distance from the leak to the attic entrance. This will help you find your way back to the leak once you are in the attic.

    Dangers Of A Leaking Roof

    Fix Roof Leaks

    There are many dangers that come with a leaking roofsome are invisible and may cause damage without your knowledge. The most obvious danger is that water may seep past the barrier of protection that the roof provides your home. The water may saturate the wooden structural support system of your home that will soon weaken and possibly fall apart from water damage.

    While you may notice signs such as water spots on the ceiling, it may be too late to avoid serious repair costs by the time the symptoms are detectable. Additionally, with a leaky roof comes the potential for mold to infiltrate your home. Mold poses a serious threat to the health and safety of your family.

    There are a number of dangers of a leaking roof. It is best if you know how to find a roof leak to catch the problem early before it is too late.

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    Examine The Interior Of Your House

    The most obvious sign of a roof leak is dripping water however, the following telltale signs are also indicative a leaky roof:

    • Water stains or spots on your interior walls
    • Water stains on the ceiling
    • Bulging areas on the ceiling or walls
    • Musty odors throughout the house or in specific rooms

    If you notice any of the above red flags, your roof is almost certainly leaking water. However, where you observe water stains, bulges, or strange odors may not directly match up with where the leak is in your roof. To find the leak, youll need to investigate a bit deeper.

    Checking The Exterior Of The House

    If you noticed rust or the step flashing is loose, there is a high chance that water from rain or snow is seeping through your ceiling. It can be a challenge to replace step flashing because it is connected to the adjacent siding and the roof.

    In addition to the step flashing, check other siding materials on the roof for gaps. If there is an opening on the exterior side of your windows, this is another area to consider for replacing.

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    Roof Leaking Around Chimney

    The source for leaks around your chimney can be difficult to pinpoint.

    If you notice moisture around your chimney during or after a rain, you may have one or multiple issues.

    Starting at the top.

    Perhaps your chimney cap is damaged, or maybe the chimney crown is cracked .

    Or it could be that the brick or stone veneer on the chimney has cracks, or you have mortar cracks in your chimney.

    These could all lead to water leaks inside and around your chimney.

    If you notice the walls are damp around your chimney during or after a storm, it could be that the flashing around your chimney is loose or worn out. In either case, it is likely that the flexible sealant around the flashing has cracked and formed gaps.

    Another potential cause for roof leaks around your chimney is the design of the roof above your chimney. If your steep roof creates a sharp valley where it meets the chimney, you may have a buildup of leaves, sticks or other debris that sit above your chimney.

    This debris can allow water to pool or ice to build up, which makes degrades flashing and sealants and allows water to leak around your chimney.


  • Chimney cap a new chimney cap may keep water from entering the top of the chimney
  • Flexible roof sealant apply flexible roof sealant from a can or tube to fill holes, gaps, flashing and loose shingles around the chimney
  • New flashing & shingles replace flashing and shingles around the chimney, creating a good new water barrier
  • How Does Infrared Roof Scanning Work

    Ceiling Leaking Water – How to Find a Roof Leak

    The science of infrared scanning and technology behind it can be complex to understand. Simply put, infrared scanning is the practice of using infrared equipment to measure the heat being emitted from the surface of an object. The patterns being emitted from the surface of an object are measured and captured by infrared cameras which form the data being collected into images. These images can then be analyzed by a trained professional to determine if there are areas which are anomalies. Anomalies may indicate areas that require further review.

    Infrared scans are most often done during the early evening hours after the sun has begun to set. In order for an infrared scan to be completed, the roof surface must be dry as moisture interferes with the cameras ability to measure surface temperatures. It is also preferable that the surface of the roof system receive exposure to substantial sunlight to allow the surface of the roof system to heat up as much as possible. This heat absorption allows the moisture trapped in the roof system to increase in temperature and create a temperature difference that can be measured by the camera.

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    Chapter : How To Search For The Source From The Outside

    You are most likely to find the source of your leak while working on the roof, but again, be safe while working at such heights. It is imperative now, on the roof, more than ever to be attentive to detail. You will be looking for any inconsistencies along the surface of the roof.

    You want the roof to be dry, so make sure to wait as long as you need to after rainfall before you start work. As a starting point, use the length that you measured while inside the house to locate the general area of the leak.

    Examine the area for any moisture, since the roof should be dry, this will help identify where there is water backing up and seeping through to the inside. If you run into any nails that have rusted, you have found your source. Rust is a tremendous identifier for roof leaks, so always keep an eye out for any sign of rust.

    If you have still not found the source of your leak, chapter 5 is the chapter for you.

    How To Find The Location And Cause Of A Roof Leak

    Finding where the leak is coming from isnt as simple as just finding a wet patch on the ceiling. Often the location of the actual leak is not always where the water ends up staining your plasterboard and ruining your paintwork. Water can enter your roof at one end of the house and trickle down through insulation before soaking into a weak spot in your ceiling.

    Take a walk outside and visually inspect your roof. Start with the parts of the roof that are higher than the location of any stains inside, or any obvious signs of roof penetrations. If you can spot any damaged spots on your roof, tiles, corrugated iron sheets or shingles, this could be the location of the leak. You might also see water spots under your roofline on exterior walls. This could be a sign that your flashing is damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced.

    Once youve had a look outside, have a closer inspection on the inside of your house and roof. Inspect your ceiling and look for peeling paint, moisture marks, and brown, grey or yellow stains these are all tell-tale signs of a leaking roof. To be extra thorough, grab a flashlight and take a look inside your roof space or attic. Mould, water stains and damp rafters or beams are obvious signs of a roof leak, and you might even be able to follow the flow of water to the source.

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