How to Find a Roof Leak

There is nothing more frustrating than roof leaks. The drips seemingly congregate in one place, but the actual source of the leak is difficult to find. Either from insulation, construction, hardware or other impediments, the leak can easily become diverted from its origins. Consequently, roofing repairs can be timely and expensive — as they essentially become detective work to find its beginning. Plus, if the source is not found, then mold growth or water damage can occur. This leads to roofs and walls needing replacements. So before the roof leak becomes a bigger problem, here are a few pointers on how to find it swiftly.

First, Head Up

Whenever a leak is first spotted, start by grabbing a flashlight and heading upwards to the highest point of your house. Begin in an attic or room that is directly above where the leak is coming in through. Do a detailed look around for any indiscrete evidence.

Look for the Light

If you can’t see anything immediately, turn off all of the interior lights and see if you can spot any outside light piercing in from the roof or walls. If you see light shining through anywhere, chances are you found your leak. Just be careful not to lose your footing and fall!

Reflections are Good Clues

If you still can’t see anything, turn on your lights and shine your flashlight around to see if there are any reflections. Water reflects, so you should be able to spot any that is leaking in fairly easily and follow its trail to the source. However, be sure that you haven’t just spotted reflecting glue or metal, they can look similar in the dark!

Examine Any Intrusive Objects

If you don’t see any reflecting water or sparkling residue, look for intrusive or out-of-place objects in the roof or walls. Sometimes the source is as simple as a crooked nail, broken vent, or cracked seal. If anything seems out of place, it might be worth taking a closer look to see if it may be causing the leak.

Turn Down the Volume

If your eyes aren’t picking up anything, it may be time to give your ears a try. Quiet the dog, hush the kids, turn down the music, and listen for any dripping or flowing noises. This is particularly helpful if the water is coming in through a camouflaged or concealed area where you cannot see clearly. It might be helpful to get multiple pairs of ears around yours, as it can be tricky to distinguish the source!

Check Your Pipes and Gutters

If you cannot see or hear an interior source of the leak, there may be an exterior gutter or pipe that is causing it. When checking gutters, make sure they are cleaned out and connected properly. Pour water down each of one to ensure the flows are correct. When dealing with pipes, check to see if the leak is occurring when the weather is dry (neither rainy nor snowy). If it’s occurring during dry weather, then that is a good indicator that the source must be from a piping issue. If so, then shut off the water until the pipe is fixed.

Leak the Leak

If you just can’t find the source of the roof leak, it may be time to call in a professional for assistance. Try a good roofer or handyperson, as their experience and expertise can be helpful for finding the source. Always remember, time is of the essence when dealing with a leak, so it’s better to fix it sooner than later!

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