Leaky Roof? How to Find the Source and Repair the Problem

If your roof is leaking, then you don’t necessarily have to go out and pay to install a new roof. As a matter of fact, it is very common for roofs to leak even when they are in overall good shape, as a majority of roof leaks are the result of only a localized, or isolated, problem. Fortunately, many leaky roof issues are easy to fix, even if you’re not much of a handyman. The hardest part is finding the source of the leak.

Identifying leaks. Most of the time, a leak first comes to a homeowner’s attention inside the home. Simply enough, if there is an area of your ceiling that is dripping water, or that is discolored due to water stains, then it is likely your roof is leaking right above that area. To inspect the nature of the leak, climb onto your roof and look closely at the area that corresponds with the leak in the house. If you have an attic, it is useful to explore that space, first, as the leak might be in the attic ceiling.

Shingled roof. You can often spot problem areas in a shingled roof by simply stepping back from your home and looking for irregularities (discoloration, misplacement, etc.) in the shingles. Shingles that are curled up may be reshaped with your hands (if they are cold, you will have to heat them up with a blow dryer to make them more pliable). Damaged or hanging shingles can be replaced by simply removing the old shingle and putting a new on in its place, by first securing it with concrete glue and then tapping roofing nails into the shingle guide holes.

Flat roof. Leaks in flat roofs are often caused by standing water puddles in low spots of the roof. Leaks on flat roofs are easy to identify with a quick survey of the roof, in which case the roofing can be replaced in localized areas to solve the problem; however, there are instances in which leaks are due to blisters of water in between the layers of roofing materials. In this case, you must cut the blister open, dry out the area thoroughly, and seal the layers of material back together with roofing cement.

Keep in mind that while anyone can do basic roof repairs, safety is always a main consideration. Be sure to adhere to basic safety precautions (working on when it’s dry out, using safety ropes, securing your ladder, wearing rubber soled shoes, being cautious of electric lines, etc.) when working on your roof, so that a small issue does not turn into a much larger one. If these things make you uncomfortable, your best bet is to stick to your door thresholds and other repairs that keep you closer to the ground while hiring a pro for the harder tasks.