10 Top Roof Repair Tips: Find and Fix a Leak in Your Roof
Roof leaks are a homeowner's worst nightmare. It doesn't matter if you have the most beautiful roof in your neighbourhood, the moment you see water coming through your ceiling or running down your walls, it feels like you've just lost everything.
However, it is important to note that roof leaks only turn into catastrophes when they go unaddressed for too long and get worse than they would be otherwise. Here, we'll discuss 10 tips that will help find and fix roof leaks so that you can sleep soundly again.
What are the most common causes of roof leaks?
The most common causes of roof leaks are easy enough to spot even without any formal knowledge about roofs. They usually occur around openings, but also when water starts flowing in from the base.
In some rare cases, it can be hard to notice a leak because of its location - for example, if you have a roof with dormers or brick chimneys and one side is leaking while the other isn't.
The three most prevalent reasons for a leaky roof are age, weather and lack of maintenance. Water will always find its way through your roof eventually if you don't take care to inspect it regularly.
There is no need to worry about this happening over time as some people might tell you. Other common causes of leaks are when water gets trapped under the shingles and freezes, or when tree branches get in contact with your roof.
How easy is it to find roof leaks?
Many people don't know that they have a problem until it's too late! You should regularly inspect your roof to prevent any problems from getting worse, but your first clue is usually a wet spot or water stains on the ceiling below.
There are a few ways to identify where your leak might be coming from. As always, the easiest way is to look for water stains on your ceilings or walls and follow them back up! If this doesn't work out well enough for you, try looking at your gutters too.
There are other ways to check for a leaky roof without having to climb up on top of it. First off, look around the perimeter of your house: if there is any pooling coming from inside of it then that's where you should start looking!
Another simple way is by drawing out an imaginary line from one end of your home to the other while studying its structure. Remember that this could be anything like vents, chimneys or skylights. Be sure to also take note of how wet each spot looks as well so you can compare them all later on.
If all of these don't give you the right result, take a step outside and walk around the house in circles as if you were following the leaky water down towards its source.
You will usually see that one side has more wetness than another - although this may simply be due to rainwater seeping into cracks along certain sections before making their way inside, most often there will be evidence pointing you in the right direction.
How can I tell where my roof is leaking from?
This is not as straightforward as it seems. Sometimes, the leak will be obvious and you'll see water dripping down from an opening in your roof or gutters.
In other cases, it could be very hard to find where the leaks are coming through. An example is if they're leaking around vents on one side of your home but passing through ceiling insulation before spilling out onto another area.
How do I fix small leaks?
If you have a minor leak that's only happening with certain weather conditions (perhaps after heavy rain), then this can often be fixed by adding more flashing material. This means sealing up any gaps between brick chimneys or dormer walls and wrapping overlapping siding boards with flashing materials as well.
If the leak is coming from a vent or chimney, then you may be able to fix it by re-pointing mortar joints and repairing cracked bricks.
Other ways of identifying and fixing small leaks include:
What if my roof leaks around brick chimneys?
Because there are so many different types of brick in use today, each brick type will likely have instructions on how to repair cracks. For instance, a special cement product like a terracotta patch works well.
You'll generally want to apply flashing materials as well. This should work even if they're leaking at the top of dormer walls where this type of material is typically less common.
How do I fix small holes in a roof?
Small holes can often be fixed easily by covering them up with roofing cement. This is a type of tar-like product that can be purchased and applied in sections to seal the hole when it's not just large enough for a shingle or two.
How do you fix roof vents?
If you're seeing water coming in around your roof vents, the first thing to do is clean it up. You can then seal them with silicone or a similar product and make sure that you don’t have any vent plugs blocking airflow as well.
How do I deal with complex roof problems?
Unfortunately, anything more than a small leak will require some type of professional help from someone who has experience fixing roofs - either an expert roof contractor or even just an experienced homeowner like yourself.
Don't hesitate to call in a specialist if there's no visible evidence of where the leak may be coming from.
Can you fix a roof leak from inside?
It's possible to fix a roof leak from inside, but it’s not recommended. You're better off hiring someone who has experience working on roofs with leaks and can see the problem without getting wet or in danger of climbing up onto your slippery roof.
Fixing step flashing
A simple way to find out if you have any problems around your chimneys is to look for stains near them that could be coming from water seeping through cracks in the brick or mortar joints. If this isn't enough information, you may want to get a professional opinion before using caulk as an emergency measure.