Finding a roof leak can be challenging because often the leaks are not exactly where the water stains are appearing on your ceiling. Water can enter the roof at a given point, and then run down another before it soaks into the ceiling.
It’s easy to spot obvious roof damage (shingles are missing or damaged, stains on ceilings or walls), but by then, you probably already have some significant water damage. Your best bet is to find the roof damage before the leaks appear. Here are a few things to look for.
Identifying Roof Damage
Perform an Outdoor Inspection:
A visual inspection of your roof helps you spot missing and damaged shingles. If this type of damage is all in the same location, roofing repairs might be all that is needed. If the damage covers a large portion of the roof, replacement is the best option. Also keep in mind that not only the roof itself, but the chimney, ventilation pipes, roof flashing, gutters and fencing can also become damaged.
If you think that your roof is damaged, here is a basic list of what to look for:
Wood shingles/shakes: Mold or decay, splitting or curling
Flat roof: Obvious patches, cracks or tears, several blisters and/or wrinkles
Flashing: Tears, buckling around roof penetrations
Roofing cement: Excess cement, crumbling
Soffits and fascia: Decay, stains
Soffit and ridge vents: Clogged or damaged vents, flashing and shingles around them curling or missing
Gutters: Decay or rust, leaky seams, loosely attached to structure, bent or sagging, missing sections of gutter or downspout, filled with debris. Clogged gutters can easily freeze shut and cause excessive weight on gutter fasteners, ice dam conditions, and slippery walks below.
Chimneys: Leaning, loose or missing flashing, damaged bricks, cap or cracked joints. Chimney flashing is especially prone to tearing because a chimney settles independently from the house.
Perform an Indoor Inspection:
Moisture marks, brown, yellow, or grey stains, and peeling paint on walls and/or ceilings could all indicate a damaged, leaking roof. Also take a peek in your attic, where damp rafters or leaks could additionally point to roof damage. And if you experience a sudden surge in energy costs, it could be a sign that your roof ventilation has been compromised.
We have additional resources to help you prolong your roof life here.
Call a Professional:
Although you are the first line of defense when it comes to spotting roof damage, be aware of your limitations and do not hesitate to call in a roofer for a professional inspection. A basic inspection could save you thousands of dollars in roofing repair costs by spotting minor damage before it turns into a major problem. A trained professional also has the tools and safety techniques to get up on your roof and check for damage. Getting on your roof yourself is not recommended as it can lead to personal injury and also further damage to your property.
Harris Roofing Specialists has been doing business for 35+ years and we know roofs!