Understanding Construction Costs

Tips For Early Roof Leak Detection

Even a minor leak can lead to a major problem and a costly repair. The key to avoiding this stress is to recognize a roof leak early, before it can cause more in depth damage. If allowed to persist, the leak can ruin the roof sheathing, wall boards, wooden structural components and joists, insulation, or even cause a short in the electrical systems. The following tips can help you find a leak early before it gets to any of those points.

Tip #1: Plan for a Rainy Day

A rainy day inspection of your attic is the single best time to look for a leak. Once or twice yearly inspections are probably sufficient unless there is a storm or other event that may have caused damage. Grab a flashlight and a dust mask and head up into the attic when the rain is coming down at a medium to heavy rate. Shine the flashlight around and look for the obvious sign first – a wet spot or actual dripping water. While you are up there, also inspect any exposed insulation to make sure it isn't damp and check the wooden underside of the roof for any signs of mildew or mold stains, or soft, rotten areas. If you locate a problem. Circle it with a dark pencil or pen. This way, you can easily point it out to your roofing contractor.

Tip #2: Know Your Problem Spots

Every roof has areas that are more likely to develop leaks. If your roof is prone to ice dams, which are buildups of ice, during the winter, then those dam locations are a potential problem area. Other common problem areas are around skylights, dormers, and in the valleys of your roof. Visually inspect these areas a couple of times a year to make sure the shingles are laying flat and undamaged. It's also a good idea to make sure that moss isn't growing on the roof and starting to lift any shingles. A shingle that is lifted, torn, or not properly nailed down is a potential leak.

Tip #3: Keep an Eye On Your Interior

Some leak symptoms may catch you off guard. Blistering paint on walls and ceilings is a sure sign of a leak, but it is sometimes overlooked as just a paint defect. This blistering occurs because moisture is seeping through the wall board.

Another sign that is sometimes overlooked is stuttering light fixtures. If you flip on a ceiling light fixture and hear a hissing sound or if the light seems to flash or stutter, there may be water in the fixture. This moisture causes the electricity to arc across the bulb outlet, resulting in the noise and light issues. Water from a roof leak takes the easiest route as it flows down, so it often ends up in a light fixture first. Contact a roofing contractor immediately if you suspect a leak.