How To Locate a Roof Leak

How To Locate a Roof Leak

Recently noticed patches on your ceiling? Or maybe you’re wondering what’s causing the streaks down the wall from the ceiling’s cornices. While it could be a leaking geyser (if you have one installed in your roof), the most probable cause is going to be a leak in your roof. Locating the actual leak will take some effort, however. The leak may be nowhere near the patches or stains you’ve noticed. Certain roof components and insulation may be causing the water to be diverted. To prevent you from tearing the roof apart in a frenzy, a bit of investigation must be done.

Safety First

It's important to wear the correct safety clothing when attempting to identify a roof leak.

Before you begin your quest to find and fix your leak, make sure to have the necessary equipment. Remember, the area inside your roof is not generally a friendly environment. There may be birds, rats and other creepy crawlies up there. Furthermore, most roof insulation is made of fibreglass, which is hazardous when touched or inhaled. Wearing the correct safety clothing will ensure you return from your quest unscathed. This will include:

  • Protective, well-fitted eye-wear.
  • Heavy-duty gloves.
  • Dust mask or respirator.
  • Loose-fitted clothing, including a long-sleeved shirt and trousers.
  • Cap or hat to keep fiberglass particles out of your hair.

Additionally, make sure your ladder is in good working order and tall enough for you to comfortably climb in and out of the roof space.

Once in the roof space or attic, step on the beams only. Never step on the ceiling itself, you could fall right through and be seriously injured.

Grab a Flashlight and Get Up There

First things first, you need to check what’s going on between the roof and the ceiling. Grab a ladder and use the access panel to get into the roof space or attic (if your home has one). Try to locate any areas in the roof where sunlight may be penetrating through the tiles. If sunlight is leaking in, this could be a damaged or slipped tile.

If you can’t see any sunlight coming in, inspect further by looking around for other indications of water buildup. This could be difficult if it’s not raining when you check. However, you will notice wet stains and mildew if the issue has been going on for a while.

Make it Rain

If you’re still struggling to locate the leak and if it isn’t raining, get a second person up on the roof with a hose pipe. They should spray water on each area, bit by bit, until you start to notice where there’s a leak. To ensure the operation is successful, make sure to have a good plan unless you have walkie-talkies. Just spraying around arbitrarily will be a fruitless effort.

Prevention is Always Better

Small leak repairs like swapping out damaged shingles for new ones can be done on your own, if you're comfortable to do so.

An annual roof inspection will go a long way to prevent unwanted costly repairs to your roof by identifying potential leaks early. Check your skylights and solar panel fixtures as well. Their fittings are directly exposed to harsh elements 24/7 and will become corroded over time. As a home owner, it’s your duty to make sure they’re always in good condition.

What to Do When You Find a Leak

The worst thing you can do is leave a leak expecting that the problem will somehow fix itself or go away. Roof leaks only get worse if unattended, and could potentially be fatal if left neglected.

If you’ve found the cause of the leak, you may attempt to repair it yourself. If identified early, professional skills are not usually required. However, if it’s come to that point where you just can’t or don’t want to do it yourself, contact Amanziproofing, the experts at roofing, damp-proofing and waterproofing.

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