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HomeFactsHow To Find A Roof Leak In The Attic

How To Find A Roof Leak In The Attic

Checking On Top Of The Roof

How to Find a Leak in the Roof of Your House

The best way to find the source of a water leak on your roof is to check if there is an opening in the seals located on the roof jacks. It is found on the PVC pipes that acts as a vent for sewer gases. We listed a few other signs that are easy to find:

  • Black stains on the top of your roof
  • Shingles on your roof are missing
  • Shingles on the roof are starting to uplift
  • Wide cracks in the shingles

How To Repair A Leak In The Membrane

To repair a big leak in the membrane, youll need EPDM or a similar material that matches the membrane on your roof, some rubber-to-rubber contact cement, acetone, a paint roller, a utility knife, a paintbrush, roof sealant, and a caulk gun.

  • First, cut away the membrane around the leak to determine if the substrate is water damaged. If so, cut away enough membrane so that you can remove all the damaged fiberboard.
  • Cut a replacement piece and screw it into place using the same screws and washers, shimming with the same material, if necessary, to make the new piece flush with the surrounding membrane.
  • Next, cut a new piece of membrane that extends beyond the original by several inches. Lay the new patch over the damaged area and mark its outline.
  • Use the acetone to clean both the new and old membrane, then apply a coat of contact cement across the back of the patch and to the area outlined.
  • When the cement has dried, position the patch over the outlined area and, starting at one end, press the patch down onto the membrane, smoothing the surface as you go.
  • Finish by applying a bead of sealant around the perimeter of the patch.
  • Roof Leak Warning Signs Outside

  • Have you seen loose shingles laying in your yard or around your property?
  • Is there buckling or curling on your shingles?
  • Have you spotted roof rot, or extremely degraded or discolored shingles?
  • Has the color or appearance of your roof changed in any particular spot?
  • Do you see exposed nails on your roof, or nails that look loose?
  • Is there any cracked or damaged flashing around your roof vents?
  • How about your chimney? Any cracked sealants or damaged roof flashing?
  • Have you seen any debris piles in the valleys or lower spots of your roof, or around your chimney?
  • Do you have clogged or loose gutters or downspouts?
  • Any peeling paint or rotting areas under the eaves of your roof?
  • Have you noticed any shingle granules or other debris in your gutters?
  • If you have moss or mold on your exterior walls
  • Recommended Reading: How Much Does A Roof Cost In California

    Look For Wet Spots On Sheathing Or Rafters

    Bring a flashlight and use it to detect any shiny or wet spots on the underside of the roof sheathing or rafters. If its an older leak, there may be rotted wood or dark mold growing around the site. If the rafter bays are insulated, you can also look for wet areas on the insulation batts.


    How to Patch a Leaking Rubber Roof

    If youve managed to pinpoint the leaks location, its time to get a ladder and find its cause. It may be obviousmissing or torn shingles, for instance, or exposed fasteners. Check the flashing around vent pipes, dormers, and roof-pitch transition points.

    Find Waters Path To Find A Roof Leak

    How Can I Find the Leak in My Roof?

    Heading into the attic to find and locate the source of the leak is one possible method. Bring a flashlight to make it easier to see the water. The best time to do this is while its raining. But, you can simulate rain if you have someone else take a garden hose onto the roof.

    First, look for obvious signs of wetness. It takes time for wood to show water damage. Wet insulation is an obvious sign of a leak. However, it does not always indicate a leak directly. For less direct indicators, you may be able to follow a water trail along the rafter or see water on the sheathing. Sometimes, the cause of the leak is as simple as cracked or missing shingles. These happen due to by age, tree branches, rodents, or storms. Replacing those roof shingles may easily solve the problem.

    Sometimes, the leak will be harder to find. When all the shingles are intact, the issue could be the seal around exhaust flashing or plumbing vent. If that does not seem to be an issue, check for misplaced and rusty nails. Improperly installed nails may not be clearly visible. Finding them may be difficult and may benefit from a trained eye.

    Recommended Reading: Best Placement For Screws In Metal Roofing

    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 shouldnt 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.

    Dealing With Attic Water Damage In Chicago Il We Can Help

    Most attic water damage cleanup jobs are too big for Chicagoland homeowners. Water removal, cleanup and restoration need to be handled by industry-certified specialists. We offer a full line of water damage cleanup services, including mold removal and complete property restoration.

    Dont let a leak in your attic turn into a homeowners nightmare. Our teams here at ServiceMaster by Zaba are just around the corner with expert attic cleanup services. Were ready for your call: 773-647-1985

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    Rule Out An Interior Water Leak

    You may be wondering why your roof is leaking, but keep in mind that just because youve located a section of water damage in your home doesnt necessarily mean you have a roof leak. Before you call your roofer to come fix the issue, you need to rule out the possibility of other types of leaks.

    Check for any faulty piping, make sure your HVAC unit and water heater are working properly, and be mindful of where you have bathrooms, laundry rooms, or kitchen sinks so you can see if perhaps a leak is coming from there.

    Once youve ruled out interior leaks, you can move forward with examining for roof leaks.

    Why Your Roof Is Leaking In The Winter

    Roofing – How to find a roof leak

    Its wintertime, and the temperatures are dropping rapidly.

    In addition to drafty rooms, slick driveways and bursting pipes, you also have another issue to contend with: a wet roof.

    You want to think that your shingles will hold up against ice, sleet, and snow. However, the reality is that even the most well-built roofs can fall victim to the damage that extreme winter weather can hurl at our properties.

    Did you recently notice that your roof is leaking? If so, you arent alone. Homeowners across the country contend with this issue, but you dont have to simply grab a bucket and suffer through it.

    Today, were sharing a few reasons why you might be in this predicament, and a few ways you can prevent it from happening in the future. Well also cover how our team can help keep your interior nice and dry all winter long!

    Ready to learn more? Lets get started.

    Also Check: How Much Does A Roof Cost In California

    How To Prevent Leaks In The Attic

    After finding and repairing an attic leak, you want to make sure it doesnt happen again. These simple tips can minimize the risk of leaks and water damage in your attic.

    • Head off AC leaks in the attic with professional HVAC maintenance.
    • Increase attic air circulation by leaving all room air vents open.

    If you bring in restoration professionals to dry out the attic, ask the technicians for pointers. They can help you solve all types of problems. For example, they know how to remove water damage on attic sheathing. Restoration pros can often salvage soaked belongings, and they can help you navigate your water damage claims process.

    The Problem With Leaking Roofs

    You have probably been in a situation where your walls/ ceilings started getting some stains from running down water. More often than not, a leaky roof is always at the base of such problems. It is imperative that you find the source of the leak and address it as soon as possible.

    Speaking of finding the source, that has to be one of the trickiest things when trying to fix roof leaks. We will however show you how to do that effectively in this piece.

    Another thing to note is that you shouldnt wait to get your roof fixed. Even if you would be replacing the whole setup soon, leaving it unfixed could lead to secondary problems: molds, sheathing, damaged ceilings and insulation problems, to mention but a few.

    Read Also: House Trusses Cost

    Recap Of How To Find A Roof Leak

    Outside-in or inside-out. If you start on the outside, its like turning over infinite stones to try to find the underside of a stone that looks a little bit wrong. If you start on the inside, its more like spotting mold or soaked areas. Easier.

    • Insulation may be damaged and need replacing.
    • Follow the mold.

    If you cant find anything, have someone soak the roof with water in sections so that you can see the leak in action.

    Do you have questions about your roof venting and suspect you might have a leak?

    Give us a call at 844-398-7663 and we would be happy to give you a FREE inspection and estimate.

    Solution For A Small Leak

    How to Check Your Roof for Leaks before the Rainy Season ...

    Some roof leaks are tough to locate. Sometimes the water shows up at a ceiling spot distant from the leak. If your ceiling has a plastic vapor barrier between the drywall and the attic insulation, push the insulation aside and look for flow stains on the plastic. Often water runs to openings in the vapor barrier, such as at ceiling light fixtures.

    If you can’t see any telltale flow marks, and since the stain is fairly small, look at the underside of the roof for ‘shiners.’ A shiner is a nail that missed the framing member, in this case when the carpenter nailed the roof sheathing to the rafters. Moisture that escapes into the cold attic from the rooms below often condenses on cold nails. Sometimes you can spot this if you climb up into your attic on a cold night. The nails will look white because they’re frosted. When the attic heats up a bit during the day, the frost melts and drips, then the nails frost up at night again and so on. The solution is to simply clip the nail with a side-cutting pliers.

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    Make A Temporary Leak Patch

    Once youve found the leak you can make a temporary leak patch from some plywood or shingle and some roofing tar. Use a putty knife to spread the tar into the leaking hole on the inside of your roof. Place the shingle or plywood onto the tar and spread more of the tar around the edges of your patch.

    Continue Regular Roof Maintenance

    After the roof is fixed and things are back to normal, theres more work to be done. Doing routine maintenance on your roof is the best way to control leaks. Your roof takes on a lot of wear and tear, and its exposed to harsh outside elements. Routine roof maintenance includes:

  • Inspecting for any trees that may have grown too close to your roof, and, if so, cutting back limbs and branches
  • Making sure gutters and downspouts have not become clogged with leaves or any other debris. Water must be able to run away from your house as designed.
  • Checking for any damage after severe weather such as loose or missing shingles
  • Looking for any cracks in the chimney
  • Locating and replacing any curled or split shingles
  • Weather conditions like rain, snow, and hail weaken the shingles over time. Ensure that your house stays in good condition by keeping major systems, such as your roof, properly maintained.

    Sometimes, finding the source of a leak is more complicated than simply spotting a hole in your attics ceiling. From failing flashing to clogged gutters to crumbling shingles, the list of potential causes is very long.Bob Vila, From Solved, What To Do About A Leaky Roof

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    Dangers Of A Leaking Roof

    A roof leak is not only frustrating, but its hazardous as well. Here are a few things to be aware of:

    • Mold
    • Leaks that arent corrected right away can cause mold. Moisture is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which is a huge problem.
    • Mold can create health concerns, but it could also ruin wall and flooring coverings, wood framing, and ceiling tiles.
    • The presence of mold can decrease the value and marketability of your home.
  • Fire & Electrocution Hazards
  • Roof leaks are a fire hazard if the water gets into your homes electrical wiring. It can short circuit the wires and spark the surrounding areas. Plus, it can cause electrocution if touched.
  • Higher Energy Bills
  • An influx of water might increase energy bills due to water build-up ruining the insulation. If that happens, you can expect to see a noticeable difference in your utility bill.
  • Attic and Ceiling Damage
  • Water leaks could pose a threat to your attic. The leaks may create an issue with ventilation in the attic, which affects the comfort level throughout the rest of the house.
  • It also creates damage to the ceiling. Leaking water makes brown stains on the ceiling, messes up the paint, and makes plaster bubble up and expand.
  • Secure A Roofing Ladder

    How to Find a Leak in Your Attic & Repair It | Quick Tips from Revived Exteriors Arlington Heights

    With no access to an attic, the next best thing you can do is to head up to your roof. To do that, youll need a roofing ladder.

    Roofing ladders come with accessories that make them easier to secure on to the side of a structure. Hooks are often provided for the purposes of locking the ladder into place. They even have wheels that make them easier to extend vertically.

    Remember to check on the live load rating of the ladder and see if it can support your weight. You should also double-check to see if the ladder is tall enough to reach your roof.

    Also consider purchasing accessories such as mitts, mount guards, or stabilizer bars to secure the ladder. If you wont be using a stabilizer bar, youll have to tie off the ladder to keep it in place.

    Also Check: Proper Screw Placement Metal Roofing

    Chapter : How To Search For The Source From The Inside

    An easy way to think like water and find the source of the leak is to work from inside the house. Although this is typically safer than working on the roof, it is still important to take safety precautions.

    Youre going to want to be close to the drip, so if you have an attic youre going to start there. Once you are near the drip spot, you want to look for any water stains leading up the roof. By following these stains, youll be getting closer and closer to the source.

    When the water stains run out, measure the distance from the peak of the roof to the top of the water marks. Youre going to use this length when youre working on the outside. At this point, if there are no clear openings in the roof, its time to work outside.

    Diy Work Will Eat Up A Lot Of Your Time

    Tracing where the leak is coming from takes a long time, even for professionals. DIYers can spend an entire day just finding the leaks, while roofers will take only just a few hours at most for the same task.

    If you dont want to spend your entire day looking for it, getting a roofer would be best. They already know where to look, with or without attic access in your home.

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    Water Leaks From Ceiling

  • Have you noticed water stains on your ceiling, particularly new ones that have appeared after a significant rainfall or storm? Water leaks from ceiling, or even very small water spots can be early signs of leaks.
  • Are there any damp spots on the ceiling, around interior air vents, and fireplaces?
  • Does the paint or drywall around or light fixtures or electrical outlets look moist or damp?
  • Do you hear any unexplained dripping sounds inside your home?
  • Do you notice drips or moisture on the walls, especially after a major thaw? .
  • Is there a noticeable musty smell in your house, especially in the attic or upper floors?
  • Do you see the interior paint bubbling, peeling, or otherwise being oddly affected during hard rains?
  • Are there water stains on the rafters or the roof sheathing in your attic or on the top floors?
  • How To Fix Roof Leaks During A Storm

    How To Find A Roof Leak With No Attic Access : Attic Mold ...

    Roof leaks are a problem in any weather, but a roof that starts to leak during a heavy rainstorm can quickly turn into a major emergency. Unfortunately, rainy weather is when a roof leak is most likely to happenand when roofers become inundated with calls from panicked homeowners.rain causing roof leak

    Your roof is leaking and youve contacted a roofer for help, but if they cant get there immediately there are some things you can do to to minimize the damage to your homes interior as well as the roof. And since roofing companies often charge extra for emergency calls, you doing work ahead of time may save you money on your repair bill.

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