Roof leaks can present countless problems to homeowners. From unsightly mold growth to dangerous wood rot, the consequences of a leaky roof can affect the appearance and lifespan of your roof in many ways. Finding the source of a leak can also be challenging. Sometimes broken shingles or flashing are to blame, while other times clogged gutters or poorly installed skylights can lead to moisture issues. By understanding what red flags to look for and how to repair a roof leak, you can catch roof leaks early on and prevent the problem from becoming a more costly project.
Locating the Source of a Roof Leak
Ideally, you want to search for roof leaks during the day when there is plenty of natural light. Start in the attic with a flashlight in hand. When walking in an attic, be sure to only step on the secure framing and never on insulation or the below ceiling, as these materials will not support your weight. Use the flashlight to thoroughly check for drips or wetness on the framing. You may also notice water stains or discoloration on the framing, walls, or ceiling. By turning off all the lights in the attic, you can see any gaps where sunlight is shining through.
If you are not able to locate the source of a leak from inside your attic, you may need to take a different approach. A “water test” can be useful to determine exactly where a roof is leaking. During the test, one person will need to stand on the roof with a hose while the other stands inside the attic. As the person on the roof starts flooding the roof with water, the person in the attic can look to determine where the water is coming through. Once the leak is located, mark the area that needs to be repaired. You will then want to promptly call in an experienced roof repair contractor to complete the repair.
Making a Temporary Leak-Proof Cover
If you are not able to have your roof repaired in a timely manner, you can create a temporary cover to help keep out water until a more permanent solution can be made. To make an emergency cover, you will need some 2×4’s and heavy-duty (6-mil) plastic sheeting. Cut enough sheeting to cover the damaged section of roof from the eaves to the peak, then add an additional four feet. Wrap one end of the sheeting around a 2 by 4 and staple it in place.
Put a second 2 by 4 overtop to sandwich in the plastic sheeting and nail the two boards together. Next, place the end of the plastic with the 2 by 4s along the eaves. Stretch out the rest of the plastic sheeting from the eaves to the ridge, allowing the extra plastic to run over the top of the roof’s ridge and down the other side several feet. Finally, sandwich the top end of the plastic sheeting in the same way you did the bottom end by sandwiching the plastic between two 2 by 4s. The weight of the wood should prevent the plastic sheeting from flying off your roof.
Implementing a Fast Fix for a Roof Leak
If you were able to locate the source of the leak and it is located within the shingles, you can implement another fast fix to prevent water from seeping into your home. However, this fix is only temporary and the leak will still need to be properly fixed by a professional. To temporarily fix a hole in your roof, purchase a 12×12-inch piece of galvanized sheet metal which is readily available at most home improvement stores. Use one hand to lift the damaged shingle and with the other hand, slide the sheet metal underneath the shingle to cover the hole. Keep in mind, you may need to remove some roofing nails to get the sheet metal in the proper place.
Calling in the Roof Repair Professionals
No matter what precautions you take, working on a roof can be extremely dangerous. Even roofs with low pitches can put you at risk for falls and other types of injuries. In addition, most homeowners do not have the tools and experience needed to get the job done right and in a timely manner. If you need a roof leak fixed, do not put yourself in harm’s way. Instead, hire licensed roof repair contractors to provide expert work that is covered with a solid warranty. While the initial investment may be more, you can rest assured that the job is done right using quality materials.
There is no one way to fix a roof leak and some techniques are much more effective than others. Most roofing professionals have many years of experience and will know what techniques are best for your roof based on its pitch, materials, and other factors. Established contractors also know what types of materials are best suited for your roof and how much material is needed to complete a job. This will prevent you from overbuying or underbuying materials.
If you have the knowledge and skill needed to do the job right the first time around, you may be saving a little bit of time. However, the average homeowner does not have the experience needed to complete a roof repair with the same expertise a contractor would. Even a small mistake can result in wasted time and money, in addition to the frustration caused by accidentally damaging your roof in the process. By hiring a roof repair contractor from the start, you can avoid the stress and aggravation associated with failed DIY projects.
Schedule a Free Roof Leak Repair Consultation
A roof leak is a fairly common problem that can quickly turn into a roofing emergency if not dealt with promptly. If you suspect that you may have a roof leak, call in the expert roof repair contractors at Beyond Exteriors to set up a free roof leak repair consultation.