Water penetrating the premises, before wetting the ceiling, enters the thermal insulation and moisturizes the building structure. Wet thermal insulation degrades its performance and leads to premature destruction. Wetting of wooden structures causes a decrease in the size of the loads they perceive and risks to build up fungus and mold. Moisture flowing down the brick walls flushes the cement from the mortar and weakens the masonry.

If a leak formed in the winter, moisture would penetrate the cracks and widen the gaps, destroying the building. With prolonged exposure to condensation on the building structure, it can lead to total destruction. No less dangerous is the moisture on the wiring. It is fraught with short circuits, which, in turn, can lead to a fire. The appearance of leaks is obviously dangerous.

From Reasons to Cost: Take a look at your Complete Guide on Roof Inspection

Causes of Leaking Roof

Leaks look different. The reasons may be a violation of the tightness of the coating and vice versa – excessive tightness:

  • Rain leaks (flows directly in the rain or immediately after it). Everything is evident here. You just need to localize the place of damage and carry out repairs;
  • Snow leaks. Appear during snowmelt. When the drainage system is in good condition, meltwater should go down the pipes into the catchment. But if ice plugs form in the gutters, it stagnates on the roof and looks for weak spots through which it penetrates the house;
  • Condensate occurs in dry weather and is under the roofing. Thus, the insulation gets wet. The reason is improper ventilation of the space under the roof;
  • Flickering leaks may occur due to microcracks in the roofing regardless of the weather. Moisture is gradually collected in the insulation, with time it appears on the ceiling;
  • Roof leakage in winter may occur due to temperature differences. Under the pressure of the snow mass and due to thaws, an ice crust forms directly on the coating. Snow is the best natural heat insulator; with large layer thickness, heat does not escape through the roof. Besides, if the attic is heated, the crust on the coating begins to melt. Then the slightest leakage is enough for water to enter the house.

Further info? How about an Expert’s Advice on Roof Leak Repair?

To consider

The main reason for the appearance of leaks is a violation of the roof installation technology, or an attempt to save on roofing materials. Cheap thin profiled sheets cause the roof of the house to start to flow. Unfortunately, in such situations, roof repairs are not the right decision. Most likely, an inspection of the insulation condition and rafter system is necessary.

In addition to those described, the main causes of leaks are:

  • old coating with an exceeded service life (slate and roofing material are especially “sick” with this);
  • mechanical damage to the roofing carpet during the cleaning of the roof from snow and ice;
  • violation of the tightness of the roofing carpet as a result of damage by fungus and mosses.

The latter is characteristic of a slate. After several years of operation, the whole plantations of fungus and lichen grow.

Read more: Apartment Flooded? Here’s What You Need To Do.

Establishing the cause of the leak does not mean finding leaks. On pitched roofs or indoors, it could be hard to find where the water is flowing. Sometimes even flat roof leak repair may turn into a real challenge.

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Roof Leak Detection

The primary way to help locate leaks is to inspect the roof visually. It should be carried out especially in the dry season.

Start with inspecting the “entrails.” Check for the presence of dampness, darkening, traces of dripping drops, fungus, and mold on the rafters and crates, flooring, and wooden joists. Any of these signs, individually or in combination with others, indicates the presence of a leak.

Tip. Do not forget the laws of gravity. There is no wind in the attic. It means that the drops fall vertically down in addition to that flowing into the open dormer or other windows.

After the internal inspection, go to the external examination of the roof. You need to start with the use of a particular roof ladder in compliance with safety regulations.

Inspection is made from top to bottom. After checking the ridge, it is necessary to examine the valley. If they are clogged, clean them to continue roof leak repair.

Tip. Do not be too lazy to clean the ventilation holes. The lack of ventilation in the subroof space is the cause of the formation of small leaks.

After roofing materials, the drainage system should be inspected. And here it is essential to clean the necks, pipes, and gutters of debris and leaves.

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Finding a Roof Leak With a Tape Measure

The tape measure is taken when the leakage could not be found during an external inspection of the roof. Measure the coordinates of the wet spot from the leak in the room. In this case, you need to go from vertical surfaces that “pierce” the roof from the inside and outside. It can be a chimney, ventilation ducts, a heating or sewage riser, an external antenna stand, and so on. Then, using a tape measure, find the same place on the outside of the roof. Then carefully examine it until it turns into a roof leak emergency.

Take a look at these 3 Hazardous Home Improvement Projects That Need A Pro

How to Beat Invisible Leaks

pitched roof

It primarily relates to pitched roofs, where water flows in one place and can drip in a completely different spot. Even the most reliable roofing is not ideally sealed: water can get under it with gusts of wind: it can blow out rain jets and snow under the roof. If, however, it is not possible to find the leakage place through an external examination, experts recommend that they be “blindly” controlled. Immediately after rain, mark the location of the leak in the attic with chalk. Then, in dry weather, use a tape measure from the outside of the roof to identify the problem area.

Read more: New roof & roof repair financing

In order not to crawl along the roof with a tape measure searching roof leak, it is better to minimize the chance of leaks in advance. Try to do it even at the stage of buying a roof. Before you purchase materials, you need to learn about their durability, the guarantee that the manufacturer gives, and compare the consumer characteristics. Opt for those with long service life.

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As a rule, the measures described are sufficient to find a leak. However, if the examination did not give results, you should not despair. Invite professionals who are well versed in the situation. They have unique infrared cameras that can accurately determine the location of leaks and their size. This service costs money; however, it is much less than the damage you can suffer if the property in the house is flooded. Besides, specialists will be able to immediately assess the cost of repairing the roof, make an estimate, and fix a roof leak.

Have you experienced a leaking roof repair? Please share your opinion with us and feel free to ask any questions.

Does Your Roofing Contractor Have Insurance? Learn how to check it with our guide.

Read more: Ridge caps and vents

How to Find a Roof Leak Like a Pro? was last modified: January 3rd, 2023 by Thomas Glare
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