A roof leak can be the most destructive and frustrating issue a homeowner has to deal with. It is one thing that you should always keep an eye for, but does not always show itself in obvious ways. As time passes, roof leaks cause much damage to homes and businesses, from stains on ceilings or walls due to water damage, to actual structural weakening of roof beams – only found after they are about to give way.
Where roof leaks occur are mostly unpredictable; it could be near the chimney where rainwater builds up and overflows along the roof edge, at flashing around skylights or vents where damaged rubber seals allows water through, or even at poorly-sealed roof penetrations such as dormer openings or doors leading on roofs.
But roof leaks are not always so easy to find. While there are roofing companies that easily pinpoint roof leaks from the exterior of a home, it is really hard for homeowners or roofers to reliably detect roof leaks without causing extensive damage in their search. Roof repairs, therefore, should always include a thorough investigation inside the roof area before any roof repair work starts – and this means you need to know how to find roof leaks on your own first.
Here are some common ways to find roof leaks:
1. The Water Test
If you spot water stains on your ceiling but can’t seem to trace them down through active leaks, use the water test . For this technique you will need 4 empty two-liter plastic bottles, and two roofing nails or screws. Drill roofing nails into roof decking in a wet area of roof (the more roof area you are covering, the better), about 1-inch deep. Cover each nail head with a plastic bottle and secure it with tape to ensure it won’t slide off. Keep one roof leak detection bottle on for a couple of days, while you inspect the other bottles’ water level daily in an attempt to find out where the roof leaks are coming from. After 2-3 days, if roof leaks have been detected, the leaking location is directly above the roof leak detector’s location.
2. Look Out For Wet Spots
If there’s no evidence of roof leaks, inspect roof decking for soggy roof boards or roof sheathing. Wet roof areas will eventually rot roof boards and cause roof leaks – especially if there is any kind of roof framing supporting directly on wet roof sheathing (such as at skylights).
3. Check For Water Penetration At Vent Caps
Rain coming through roof vent caps usually indicates that the rubber gasket seal has deteriorated, allowing water to drip down into your attic or roof insulation. Replacing old roof vent caps with new ones can solve this problem. Gable vents are more likely to get damaged by heat-weakening the rubber seals around them, so you may want to consider adding a wind barrier in front of these vents.
4. Inspect the Roof Drainage
Drainage gutters and roof valleys play important roles in roof drainage, so make sure that they are free of roof debris or roof ice dams, both of which can affect roof runoff. Also make sure roof downspouts haven’t been blocked by snow – before you have a roof overflow at the crack’s underneath doorways.
5. Inspect Skylight Seals
Broken roof skylight windows allow water penetration just as with any other roof leaks – but these kinds of roof leaks are easier to find as skylights are located along roofs (unlike chimneys or vents), making them more obvious. A broken skylight seal is also easily found when inspecting inside your attic where water spots will be visible on ceiling drywall.