- What steps do I take to figure out why my roof is leaking?
Are there any signs of leaking water within your home? Look around for any water spots, standing water or mold. For example, if you have a puddle on your bathroom floor, look upwards to find your source. Further, look upwards for water spots and any soft spots where the ceiling might sag. These are obvious signs of a roof leak. Also, look for simple dampness on a ceiling or wall. These can signal initial leaks that are just getting started. However, there is no guarantee that the leak is directly above where the water is dripping. Water from a leak may run down the inside of your sheathing before dripping or may follow a chimney, exhaust vent, etc.. Down to your ceiling.
We do not recommend that you inspect your roof by walking across it . Instead, start by taking a pair of binoculars with you into the yard, find a spot without trees or other buildings blocking your view and look for any of the following signs:
- Blistered, curled or split shingles. Loose or missing shingles or tiles. Broken or loose shingles at the ridge lines and hip lines.
- Loose nails. A loose nail means an open hole, which can cause leaks and subsequent water damage to your roof. Exposed nails. These also can lead to leaks in your roof as the water seeps around the head of the exposed nails.
- Dark patches on asphalt shingles and/or large amounts of granules in the rain gutters. This could mean that the granular coating of your roof is wearing away and needs to be replaced. On a slate roof, dark patches could indicate mold, but are often just discolored places from trees dripping repeatedly on the slates. If you see dark patches, be sure to check the interior for dark or discolored drywall or other evidence of a leak before calling an inspector or contractor.
- Sagging either on the ridges or in the center of the roof. Rusty or corroded metal (flashing) and loose shingles in the valleys, plumbing vents or near chimneys. You may need to removed leaves and other debris before a proper inspection can be done. Remember that a lot of leaf debris in the valleys, plumbing vents, or near the chimney can cause problems with your roof if not dealt with promptly at the end of the season.
- Rusty metal or loose shingles in locations where a vertical side of the house meets the roof.
- Overflowing gutters or excess water pooling near the foundation of the house.
- On a flat roof, look for blisters in the coating. If you want to fix them yourself, pop the blisters with a knife and coat them with roofing cement to prevent further damage.
- Depressions near the vent pipe on a flat roof are another sign to look for. These depressions also can be filled in with roofing cement. Keep your eyes open for separations in the flashing, or clogged drains, as these are also signs of trouble for a flat roof.