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Effective Ways to Perform Roof Leak Detection and Home Roof Repairs

Effective ways to perform roof leak detection and home roof repairs.

Detect and repair roof leaks.
Copyright: darkhriss / 123RF Stock Photo

If there are water stains on your home’s walls or ceiling, they are likely the result of your roof leaking. Roof leak detection can be the most difficult part of home roof repairs.

The actual repairs are usually simple. It is important to find and repair roof leaks as soon as possible. Failing to do this can result in worsening damage. For example, the water can rot the frame of your house and cause mold growth.

Dealing with the problem can cut the cost of repairs.

Important Note: Read the following article to stay safe during roof repair:
How to stay safe during roof repair.

How to Preform Roof Leak Detection

Inspect the Roof

Look at the part of the roof that is uphill from the stains inside the home. Do this as the first step in your roof leak detection process.

Cracked or missing shingles are obvious culprits. Also look for shingles that have curled. Damage to shingles and flashing cause leaks.

The next place to look is at the areas where there is something penetrating the roof. These places may include roof vents and chimneys.

If you do not see any problems perform the following action. Go up onto the roof with a garden hose and soak the section of the roof. Do it at the point above where the leak appears on the inside. Run the hose on the different sections. Have someone stay inside to state when the leak appears. Note that this process may take a while.

When this method fails to point out the leak then do the following. Start pulling off shingles in the general area where the leak occurs.

With the shingles removed, it should be possible to spot the source of the leak. Signs include felt paper that has become discolored due to water stains, or rotten wood.

Inspect the Attic

This is one of the easiest ways to do roof leak detection. Go up to the attic when it is raining and take a flashlight with you.

Find the leak and mark it.

Types of Roof Leak Repair

Curled Shingles

Repair them with an application of asphalt roofing cement. You can brush it on. You may also be able to find roofing cement in tubes that allow for application with a caulk gun.

Apply the cement to the curled shingle’s underside. Take care to secure the the corners.

This job is best done in the summer as the hot weather will make asphalt shingles more pliable.

Cracked or Missing Shingles

Solve this problem by replacing the shingles. Remove a damaged shingle by lifting the edges of the shingles around it. Then use a pry bar to remove the nails. Next scrape away any remaining cement.

Use a utility knife to round the back corners of the replacement shingle and then slide it under the one above it. Make sure that it is in line with those on either side.

Vent Boots

Plumbing vent boots are usually made of plastic or metal.

With plastic vent boots, you should check the bases for cracks. With metal ones, look at the seams. You will find any broken ones using this method.

The rubber boot around the pipe can rot, so you will want to look at that as well. If this boot is rotten, then water may be able to seep into your house along the pipe.

All these problems will need a new vent boot to replace the old one.

Roof Vent Housing

As with the plumbing vent boot, you should check for cracks or broken seams. Check if there are many missing screws along the bottom edge of the base.

If missing screws are the problem, you may be able to fix it with screws that have rubber washers.

You can also use caulk for a temporary repair. This is strictly a short-term fix and will not last for long.

The only real long-term solution is to replace the vent entirely.

Step Flashing

If your step flashing has come loose or has developed holes due to rust the following can happen. It can actually channel water into your home’s walls.

You should replace any flashing that has rusted through.

Small Holes in Shingles

These holes may be left from a previous satellite dish mounting or from an antenna. These are tricky because they can exist for years without causing visible leaks.

Over that time, they can cause significant water damage. Fix them by replacing shingles or by patching. Patch the holes by affixing sheet metal to the roof under the shingles.

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