If a leak is difficult to find, enlist a helper and go up on the roof with a garden hose. Start low, soaking the area just above where the leak appears in the house. Isolate areas when you run the hose. For example, soak the downhill side of a chimney first, then each side, then the top on both sides. Have your helper stay inside the house waiting for the drip to appear. Let the hose run for several minutes in one area before moving it up the roof a little farther. Tell your helper to yell when a drip becomes visible. You’ll be in the neighbourhood of the leak. This process can take well over an hour, so be patient and don’t move the hose too soon. Buy your helper dinner. If running water doesn’t reveal the exact location of the leak, don’t be timid. Start removing shingles in the suspect area. With them removed, there’ll be evidence of the leak, and you’ll be able to track it down right to the source. You’ll see the discoloured felt paper or water-stained or even rotted wood directly below and around a leaky roof.
Finding where the leak is coming from isn’t as simple as finding a wet patch on the ceiling. Often, the actual leak location is not always where the water ends up staining your plasterboard and ruining your paintwork. Water can enter your roof at one end of the house and trickle down through insulation before soaking into a weak spot in your ceiling. Take a walk outside and visually inspect your roof. Start with the roof parts that are higher than the location of any stains inside or any obvious signs of roof penetrations. If you can spot any damaged spots on your roof, tiles, corrugated iron sheets or shingles, this could be the location of the leak. You might also see water spots under your roofline on exterior walls. This could be a sign that your flashing is damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced.
Once you’ve had a look outside, have a closer inspection of the inside of your house and roof. Inspect your ceiling and look for peeling paint, moisture marks, and brown, grey or yellow stains; these are all tell-tale signs of a leaking roof. To be extra thorough, grab a flashlight and take a look inside your roof space or attic. Mould, water stains and damp rafters or beams are obvious signs of a roof leak, and you might even be able to follow water flow to the source. We have a wide range of Melbourne roof replacement services at Top Glaze.
Tips to Help You Locate and Repair a Leaking Roof
Want to know something? It is possible to stop a roof leak all on your own, with zero experience is necessary. Below, we will delve into the details of how to locate and repair some of the roof leaks that are most common with residential homes. The best part about it is that most of them will take just minutes to fix.
Overview of Leaking Roofs
If you have noticed that there are water stains that go across your ceilings or even run down the walls, then the culprit is likely a leaky roof. The hard part of dealing with a leaking roof is locating the leak; it is the repair that is the easy part. We will show you some easy tricks that will help you in the location and repair of some of the most common kinds of roof leaks.
When you are dealing with a leaky roof, it must be fixed immediately, even if it isn’t a big deal yet or you are planning on replacing your roof within the year. Small leaks, even over a short period of time, can turn into larger problems like mould, destroyed insulation, rotted sheathing and framing, and damaged ceilings. A leak that is left to continue over a year or two can be detrimental and costly, but if it is dealt with immediately, the damage and repairs can be kept to a minimum. Check out our roof replacement Melbourne services.
How to Locate Roof Leaks
When you attempting to locate a leak, you will want to begin by looking uphill from the stain. First, look for any kind of penetration in the roof. More often than not, a roof penetration will be the culprit of the leak. In fact, it is very rare for a leak to occur in an open area of shingles that have been uninterrupted, and this is true on older roofs even. Penetrations may consist of roof vents, dormers, plumbing, chimneys, and anything else that may project through your roof. It can be a several feet above, to the left, or to the right of the leak.
If you have access to the attic, the easiest possible way to locate the leak is to take a flashlight up into the attic and look for signs of evidence. You will likely notice mold, water stains, or black marks. However, if you don’t have access or you have a vaulted ceiling, you will need to get onto your roof and examine that way.
One Trick for Finding Hard-to-Detect Leaks
If you are finding it difficult to locate a leak, get someone to assist you and get up on top of the roof with a water hose. Begin low and water just above where you believe the leak shows up inside of the home. Isolate the areas when you run the water hose. For instance, water below the chimney first, then either side, and then the top of each side. Make sure someone remains inside the home waiting for a water drip to occur. Allow the water hose to run for a few minutes in each area before moving up on the roof any further. Tell the person inside the house to yell as soon as a drip occurs, as this means that you will be in the area of a leak. Keep in mind that this whole process can indeed take some time, so it is important that everyone is patient and that you don’t rush the process. In the event that this trick doesn’t work, start by removing some of the shingles in the area that you believe the leak is in. Once the shingles are removed, you can see below the shingles and see any signs of evidence of a leak, allowing you to track the leak from there. You will see stained felt paper, water-stained or rotted wood, etc.
Solution for Small Roof Leaks
You will come across some roof leaks that are difficult to find. In some cases, the water may show up at the ceiling further than you think from the actual leak. If there is a plastic vapor barrier located in between the attic insulation and the drywall, you should push aside the insulation and keep an eye out for signs of water flow stains on the barrier. In many cases, the water will flow to openings on the vapour barrier like at light fixtures in the ceiling.
If you are unable to detect any obvious flow marks and if the stain is relatively small, look for shiners on the underside of your roof. A shiner is considered a nail that previously missed the stud. Moisture that will escape from the rooms below and into the cold attic will sometimes condense on these cold nails. You can often spot this if you go into the attic on a colder evening. The nails will appear white due to the fact that they are frosted. Once the attic warms up some throughout the day, the frost will eventually begin to melt and drip, then the nails will refrost at night, and the process will continue. The answer here is to just use a pair of pliers and clip the nail.
Repair Plumbing Vent Boots
These vent boots can be one out of three ways: from metal and plastic, all plastic, or two-piece metal units. Look for cracks in the plastic bases as well as broken seams in the metal bases. Inspect the rubber boot that goes around the pipe. The rubber boot can be torn or rotted away, which permits water to seep into the house. With any of the aforementioned issues, a new vent boot needs to be purchased and installed. If the boot is good but the nails at the base are pulled loose or missing, replace the nails with rubber-washer screws that are typically used on metal roofs. If you do not have additional shingles, make sure that you take extra care in removing them so that they can be used. A flat-bar can be used to detach the sealant in between each layer. The flat bar can then be used to get beneath the nail heads and pop them out.
How to Repair the Roof Vents
Look for cracked housings on roof vents made of plastic and broken seams on roof vents made of metal. Caulking may be the tempting answer, but this is not a solution that will last very long. Replacement is the only true solution here. You should also check for nails that have been pulled out or are missing completely at the base’s bottom edge. Replace these nails with rubber-washer screws. As a general rule, the nails can be removed from beneath the shingles on each side of the vent to pull it out. Nails will be at the top of the plumbing vent as well. Generally, these can be worked loose without needing to remove the shingles. The bottom can be screwed into place with the same type of screws. Apply some caulk under the shingles on each side of the vent to hold them down and to create a water barrier, as this is easier than nailing them back down. Looking for roof repairs? Look no further! Top Glaze has you covered.
Repair Walls and Dormers
Water does not always come in where you may think. In many cases, wind-driven rain will actually come in above the roof, particularly between siding and corner boards, around the windows, and through knotholes and cracks in the siding. Caulking can be cracked, missing, or old between the edges of the windows, siding, and corner boards. Water often penetrates the aforementioned cracks and can make its way behind the installed flashing and inside the home. Even if caulking looks as if it is intact, it may not be sealing properly against the connecting surface. Use a putty knife to move around to see if it is properly sealed. Get out any strange caulk and replace it with quality caulking. Check the siding that is located just above the step flashing and replace any rotted, missing, or cracked siding while ensuring that the brand-new piece overlaps the step flashing by a minimum of two inches. If a leak still exists, pull free the corner boards and inspect the flashing that overlaps at the corner. In many cases, there will be hardened caulking where these two pieces overlap.
Complex Roofing Issue
The soffit meets the roof is by far among the more difficult areas to waterproof for storms. Ice dams tend to occur when the snow melts, allowing water to freeze as it reaches the cold edges of the roof. Over time, water will pool behind the dam and work its way back underneath the roofing shingles and underneath the soffit until it locates an opening in the roof.
The remedy begins with quality flashing, as this can prevent leaks from rain and may even prevent leaks from ice dams. Begin by removing shingles all the way down to the sheathing and apply a piece of stick-on ice-and-water barrier beneath the soffit and primary roof joint. In some cases, you might need to slice a slot for installation. It needs to overlap another piece of barrier below, down to the edge of the roof, which should cover most of the area prone to leaks. Next, reshingle, allowing you to slide the metal step flashing behind the trim that is just behind the gutter (fascia board). The valley flashing needs to overlap the step flashing by a minimum of two inches.
If leaks continue as a result of ice dams, you need to seriously consider the installation of heating cables on the edge of the roof. The best way to prevent the formation of ice dams is to improve attic ventilation and insulation, though they may not be completely effective if you have a complicated leak situation.
Repair Step Flashing
This flashing is utilized along the walls that interconnect with the roof. Each short section of this flashing tends to channel water over the shingle and down from it. However, if a piece of flashing becomes loose or the flashing rusts all the way through, the water runs behind it and right into the home. You will need to replace rusted flashing, which involves removing the shingles, prying the siding loose, and removing and replacing the step flashing.
Don’t Count on the Caulking.
It is not often that roof cement or caulking will repair a leaking roof—or not, at least for a long period of time. Whenever possible, it is important to attempt a mechanical roof repair, which means repairing or replacing the existing flashing as opposed to using a leak stopper or sealant. Caulking should only be used for small holes or when flashing is not an option.
Repair Small Holes
Small holes in the shingles can be tricky and sneaky since they can result in a leaky roof, rot, and additional types of damage for many years prior to you ever noticing signs of an actual leak. You could locate holes over from antenna mounting brackets, a satellite dish, or something else entirely. Misplaced, exposed roofing nails need to be pulled out so that the holes left behind can be properly patched. Small holes like these are incredibly easy and quick to repair, but you shouldn’t just inject some caulking into the hole as the repair. Instead, flashing should be used as the permanent solution.
Leaks Around Chimneys
Many issues can occur around brick chimneys. There are a lot of issues, and they cannot all be discussed here. The flashing that is installed around brick chimneys can rust all the way through if it is made out of galvanized steel, particularly the 90-degree curvature located at the bottom. A fast and relatively long-term solution is to slip a new piece of flashing underneath the old rusted piece. This ensures that water that makes its way through the old flashing will be diverted. An ideal solution is to cut a saw kerf into the chimney mortar and place brand-new flashing.
When Should You Call a Roofing Company?
Quality Exterior specializes in roof repair and maintenance in the Dayton area. As a professional roofing company, we like to offer useful information for both homeowners and business owners in regards to roofing issues and needs. Read our list below to help you decide when it’s time to call a roofing company to help you.
- You see water damage on your ceiling. If you see water stains, something has gone wrong with your roof. It could be the flashing, a problem with your gutters or downspouts, or bad shingles. Remember, leaks only get worse, so if you see water damage to your ceiling, it is important to discover the cause and stop it as soon as possible.
- Your roof is old. If you bought your house 20 years ago and have never replaced the roof, it is time to start planning for your new roof. Roofs have a life cycle and have to be replaced every 20-25 years. Sometimes roofs last less time, and sometimes roofs will last longer, but every year your roof lasts past twenty years without leaking is borrowed time.
- You can see cracked shingles. If you see cracked shingles, then it is time to consider calling a roofing company. A few cracked shingles on your roof can be replaced, but if you are seeing a lot of them throughout the roof, then it is a clear sign your shingles are aged and will protect you much longer.
- You get ice dams in the winter. More common with flatter roofs and climates with cold weather, ice dams form when your attic is warm enough to warm the snow and cause the water to seep under the shingles. This problem can be fixed by improving the insulation in the attic and the living space and by venting the space between the insulation and the roof sheathing. Venting will dissipate any heat that does leak through.
- The edges of your shingles are curling up. Curled shingles are a sign of aging. Curled shingles indicate a problem and are cause to begin shopping for a new roof.
- Your roof has dark stains. If it’s from algae or moss, these dark stains are not typically a big issue. We don’t recommend scraping or power washing your shingles.
- Your neighbours are getting new roofs. Most neighbourhoods are built around the same time, within a few years or so. If all of your neighbours are getting new roofs, it is probably time to take a good look at yours to see if it is aging.
- Any part or all of your roof is sagging. Sagging roofs can be a sign of structural damage. Please call a professional immediately if you see that any part of your roof is sagging.
- An excessive amount of shingle granules are ending up in your gutters. The granules on your shingles are there to help keep the sun’s heat away from your house. If they appear in your gutters more and more frequently, it is a sign that your shingles are wearing out.
- You see mould. Mould is a sign that your drainage system is not working properly. Clean out your gutters at a minimum of one time per year to make sure water can be moved away from your house and roof properly. Not doing this preventative maintenance can cause your roof to wear prematurely.