How Can I Tell If I Have a Roof Leak?

roof leak detection

What is roof leak detection?

Awe, it is too bad we don’t have roof leak detection equipment like we have basic household plumbing leak detection – or do we? So, we have to rely on other ways to detect roof leaks, and hopefully we catch them before they become a huge problem. As a homeowner, it is important to learn how to tell if you have a roof leak, which is what we’re going to discuss here today. 

Roof leak detection can be just as challenging, even for the most seasoned professional roofing contractor that knows how to do roof leak detection.  This is because a roof leak isn’t always where you imagine it. Simply because you have a drip is the middle of the living doesn’t mean that is where the actual leak is on the roof. 

Remember earlier we questioned whether there was roof leak detection equipment like there is plumbing leak detection equipment? Well, we’re happy to share with you that roofing professionals do have technology along with different methods and tools to assist with roof leak detection. 

Infrared technology now allows roofing professionals like contractors and consultants, as well as individuals the ability to find potential roof leaks. This new technology allows them to see through the roof surface by targeting in on moisture in the roof. If you have ever had that elusive roof leak, you can appreciate this new roof leak detection technology. 

 How can I tell where my roof is leaking?

Before you can know where to find a roof leak, you need to know what does a roof leak look like. You notice a roof leak and walk around the exterior of your house. You see shingles curled up or missing, there is a fairly good chance, there is a roof leak somewhere in your house. Another easy roof leak detection is water stains on the ceilings or walls. 

  • An old fashioned roof leak detection method that is tried and true is to get in the attic with a flashlight, while it’s raining. The light will reflect on any water getting in through the shingles, underlayment, and decking. 
  • When you have spotted the leaking area, mark the area. Then the next nice day one person goes in the attic and another person climbs the roof.  The attic person starts tapping where the marked area is, and the roof top person follows that tapping sound.  
  • Now, using extra shingles and roofing cements and nails, patch the hole! 

What about a house without an attic, or you can’t find where the leak is coming from? , Check the following areas or any damage or missing sealant, any moisture around them: 

  • Boots, gaskets, and seals around the air vents, electric service, exhaust fan vent, or plumbing vent pipes.
  • Ridge caps
  • Flashing
  • Shingles bent, curled, damaged, or missing
  • Downspouts and gutters
  • Dormers and valleys

What do I do if I suspect my roof is leaking?

A leaking roof is never going to be convenient. As a homeowner, you need to prepare for these things to happen though, keep a level head and focus on stopping the problem then. 

  • STOP THE DAMAGE: When you discover an active roof leak, you need to minimize the water damage. Anything that can be removed from the area should be moved. What can’t be moved, cover with a plastic tarp. 
  • CONFINE THE WATER: Place a container under the leak to catch any water still coming through and place an old towel under the container to catch splashes. If possible, nail a string at the leak on the ceiling and run it into the bucket. This will direct the water into the bucket. If the water can’t be contained, call a professional plumber immediately. 
  • ERADICATE THE WATER: With the leak controlled, time to dry the carpet, furniture and any woodwork that was exposed to the leaking water. This will stop mold from forming and spreading. Carpeting and padding needs to be removed. Call a professional extraction company if the water is massive. 
  • NOTIFY THE INSURANCE COMPANY: If there is heavy damage, notify your insurance company or agent. 
  • FIX THE ROOF: With these things done, it is time to get the problem fixed. Call a licensed, certified roofing contractor. Even with the obvious damage, they will do a complete roof leak detection process to make sure there are no surprises left. 

How do you find a leak in your roof without an attic?

Without an attic, the only way to do a roof leak detection is by climbing on top of the house. This isn’t something that most homeowners have experience to do, and if you’re one of those, call a professional roofing contractor.  They may be able to use the new infrared technology inside your home that will tell them if there is moisture inside the space between the roof and ceiling. 

How do I stop my roof from leaking in heavy rain?

Not sure there is anything more aggravating as a homeowner than to discover you have a roof leak – while it is raining.  What better roof leak detection could you need than a leak while it is raining?! After you’ve calmed down, you need to save what you can while you’re calling a roofing contractor. 

  1. Remove everything out of the way where is dry. Place a bucket or something under the leak to catch the rainwater as it comes in. 
  2. Get in the attic and remove all the wet drywall and insulation. Then lay a piece of decking or plywood over the joist, position a bucket under the leak. 
  3. Using roofing tar, a shingle, or plywood, fix a temporary patch where the rain is coming in. Start by spreading the roofing tar around the hole, then position the shingle or wood over the hole. Now spread roofing tar along the edges of that patch. 
  4. Measure from where the leak is to the gable so that once the rain has subsided, you have an idea where the leak is and can patch it from above. For a temporary emergency roof covering, use a plastic tarp fastened to the roof with 2×4 boards and nails. 
water leaking

Nailing Down the Roof Leak Detection

So, you want to know can a roof leak be fixed from the inside? No, you can temporarily stop it from spreading and getting worse. A repair on the inside will simply diver the rainwater to another part of your roof. Then it will work its way under the shingles to the sheathing and damage will be ensue. 

Fixing a leak from inside the home is impossible – it only diverts water to another part of the roof where it will eventually find its way in or cause sheathing rot and further damage. Once water finds its way under your shingles and any underlayment, replace the shingles.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, it is, but this is your home, your largest investment. Sometimes, homeownership can be a lot of work, but you can also take a lot of pride too. Call (281) 338-7663 today!