How to Find and Fix Roof Leaks

Nothing is quite as annoying as a roof leak. One tiny problem can drive you insane with its constant, “drip, drip, drip.” Worse than that, though, it can also cause a small fortune in terms of damage. Fortunately, catching roof leaks doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult and fixing it is even easier, if you know what you’re doing.

Remove Shingles

Alright, some roof leaks won’t be obvious. If you can trace water damage because of stains on your ceiling or wall, that’s a blessing in disguise because at least you’ve found the source.

But if that’s not happening, you need to take to the roof. You should have some idea where it’s coming from, but if you don’t, shingles will tell the story. Look for any that aren’t perfectly placed. Once you’ve located such a bundle, begin removing them one section at a time and looking for the telltale signs underneath: water stained felt paper, damaged wood, mold, etc.

If you can get into your attic, there’s no need to scale your roof. Go up there with a flashlight and start looking around. You should be able to find an area where the roof has actually been penetrated. Except for rare occasions or those who live in climates with lots of snow, roof leaks are almost always caused by something penetrating the surface of your roof. From the inside of the attic, it should be abundantly clear where this has happened.

An especially common source of roof leaks is called a “shiner.” This is where your roofer missed the framing member when putting a nail down. By doing so, they punctured the roof and a leak was only a matter of time.

Fixing Roof Leaks

Sometimes trying to fix roof leaks is just a problem you can’t handle on your own. If the leak is because of issues with plumbing, for example, you want to call in the professionals. There are plenty of DIY ways to fix plumbing problems, but you may only be treating a symptom, while the actual cause builds and builds to something worse.

Assuming the problem is just an issue involving a puncture or problems with your shingles though, leaking roof repair doesn’t have to be costly or even time-consuming.

First, remove any shingles that are damaged or otherwise in the way. If they didn’t cause the problem—in the case of a shiner—you can keep and reapply them later.

Damaged shingles are easy enough to fix. All you need is more shingles and the glue to apply them. Most even come with instructions these days for applying them and some just take another nail (though make sure it lands correctly so you don’t create another shiner).

If it is a puncture problem, you can use putty or roofing cover, so long as it’s made for wood. Fill in the hole and then reapply the shingles. To ensure you don’t get any surprises later on, wait for the solution to set and then hose some water over it to ensure the solution worked.

If you find that you need to repair roof leaks, the good news is that it doesn’t need to be an arduous process. Just act quickly and you’ll be back to a nice, dry home in no time.