A Roof Leak is an Emergency

Locate the leak from inside

STEP 1:  

The first and perhaps most obvious place to look for a roof leak is directly above the leak in a ceiling or exterior wall. Use a flashlight  to inspect the attic floor over the leak while it's raining. Look for  standing water, water stains, mold, wet insulation or other exposed  insulation. 


STEP 2:  

Examine the underside of the roof for wetness or mold around points of  penetration (plumbing vents, chimneys), wherever different roof planes  intersect (valleys) and near dormers. These symptoms indicate holes in  the flashing or faulty flashing installation. 


STEP 3:  

A leak away from such locations suggests a problem in the roofing  material. Keep in mind that water may travel sideways before passing  through a joint in the roof sheathing, and may travel in a horizontal  joint before falling on the floor or ceiling. 


STEP 4:  

Take measurements from points inside that you can also locate from  outside. Measure down from a ridge and horizontally from the center of a  valley or sidewall; or measure distances from a chimney or other point  of penetration. 


STEP 5:  

If your ceiling is attached to roof rafters, as would be the case for a  cathedral ceiling, all you can do from inside is take the measurements  that will help you locate the leak externally, and attempt to control  the damage internally. 

Control the damage

 

STEP 1:  

Water can travel on the underside of sheathing or down roof rafters  before dropping off in one or more places. To control where it falls,  tack a piece of string into the stream of water and let it hang into a  bucket. The water will tend to follow the string. 


STEP 2:  

Poke or drill a hole in your ceiling to let the water through. This  technique prevents the water from spreading across the top of the  ceiling to other areas; it prevents the ceiling from becoming saturated,  eliminating the chance of collapse and often the need for replacement;  and it allows you to collect water from below using the  string-and-bucket method.

A Couple of Good Reasons for Roof Inspections

A  roof inspection should be done at least twice a year, preferably in the  spring particularly right after a harsh winter, and in the fall just before winter. Hot and cold weather can turn minor problems into major  complaints. 


Roof  inspections can locate potential leaks and damage before they become real problems. The cost to replace a roof is measured in dollars  compared to the cost to inspect a roof which is measured in pennies. Thus a roof inspection is a very cost effective way of avoiding potentially further damage and associated costs.