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How Find a Leak in Your Roof

Promptly identifying the source of a roof leak can help prevent worse issues down the line, such as extensive water damage, mold growth, costly repairs, or potentially replacing the entire roof altogether. While tracking down the precise location may require some investigation, having a process to inspect your property will help expedite the discovery.

Follow these five steps to spot a leak in your roof.

Identifying a Leak in Your Roof in 5 Steps

Follow these five steps to spot a leak in your roof.

Step 1. Look For Signs of a Leak

The first step in finding a roof leak is being aware of signs that water may be infiltrating somewhere above. Pay attention to telltale indicators and physical changes that could be signs of a leak: 

  • discoloration or damping in areas below leak sources
  • musty smells could indicate hidden mold growth
  • bulging or bowed surfaces
  • damaged or missing roofing materials
  • rust spots on metal roofs 

These signs may all point to water penetration. A thorough inspection is key to catching potential problem spots.

Step 2. Consider Other Potential Causes

In some cases, water and condensation on your ceiling aren’t always a sign of a leak in your roof. Inspect whether signs of moisture could have alternate explanations. Check these could be the culprit rather than a roof issue:

  • Check indoor plumbing for defects that may cause leaks. 
  • Ensure appliances like washing machines are functioning properly. 
  • Determine if bathroom fixtures or other interior sources are the issue. 
  • Eliminate variables to accurately identify the origin.

3. Inspect the Attic Space

Gaining access to the attic is important for a complete investigation. Use caution on weak spots and bring lighting to survey the space overhead when finding a roof leak. 

Look closely for evidence of a water incursion like staining, residues or visible wetting around rafters and sheathing. Probing these areas can reveal the potential entry point for precipitation to find its way inside.

4. Accurately Identify the Leak Point

The precise location can be pinpointed by examining damage and identifying matching reference points inside and out. Measure stains or damp spots against permanent fixtures like chimneys or windows, then go outside and observe roof areas directly above. 

Comparing interior and exterior observations will lead to effectively tracing evidence of water penetration to the specific problem spot.

5. Consult a Roofing Expert

Tackling repairs without proper skills or oversight risks further complications. Once a leak source is identified, bringing in knowledgeable help is prudent. 

A trained roofer can thoroughly assess conditions, comprehend the full extent of damage, and customize skilled repairs to prevent future issues. Their expertise ensures hazards are avoided, and the problem is resolved correctly when repairing a roof leak.

Common Causes of Roof Leaks

There are several potential causes of a roof leak, including:

  • Missing or damaged shingles
  • Ice dams that cause water back up under your shingles
  • Vents and exhaust fans that were improperly installed or damaged
  • Exposed nails or screws 
  • Skylights
  • Bent, damaged, or missing flashing
  • Chimneys that do not have proper flashing installed
  • DIY roof repairs
  • Objects placed on the roof
  • Tree branches that scrape against shingles

Repairing Your Roof

After you’ve identified a leak in your roof, we recommend hiring a professional roofer, like U&S Companies. We are a commercial roofing company in Michigan that works with building and property owners with roof repair projects. We’re happy to do a roofing assessment to determine the cause of a leak. Contact us for a quote today. 

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