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5 Tricks to Spotting a Roof Leak

5 Tricks to Spotting a Roof Leak

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May 24, 2010

A minor roof leak can become a serious problem if not promptly repaired. But as with many roof problems, the toughest part is being able to locate the issue in the first place.

The moment you see stains on the interior walls or ceiling, damp spots in the attic, or other signs of water damage in your home, it's time to inspect the roof!

Tips for Finding A Roof Leak

  • Remember the laws of gravity. Gravity pulls water down along the roof, allowing it to travel along joints, down rafters, and along the side of chimneys. Always look sideways and diagonally when trying to determine the origin of a leak.
  • Pay attention to flashings. Ninety percent of all leaks happen at flashings. This actually bodes well for repairs, as flashings can be easily repaired or replaced. Inspect the flashings before you move on to inspecting the roof itself.
  • Use a garden hose. Try to simulate rain with your garden hose. Start with the lowest possible leak location and work your way up. This might take several minutes, so be patient with the process.
  • Look at unusual "fixes." Roofing cement that has been used to patch holes, caulking around flashings, and other strange fixes could be the source of your leak.
  • Work as a team. The best way to locate a stubborn leak is to employ a bit of help. Invite a few friends over to help you search for the leak. One can run the hose outside while the others can inspect the roof and the attic.

Nip roof problems in the bud by catching leaks and other damage quickly, then taking steps to repair the issue before the next rainfall has a chance to wreck havoc on your home.

Finally, be safe! No matter how small or large the problem is you may not want to tackle this on your own. Find a local roofing contractor to get to those hard to reach (and unsafe) areas of your roof.

About the author: Shannon Dauphin is a freelance writer based near Nashville, Tennessee. Her house was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her hobbies.

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