Roof Leak Detection: A Homeowner’s Guide

Jul 20, 2023

WRITTEN BY:

Moises V.

CATEGORY:

roof-inspection

POSTED ON:

July 20, 2023

UPDATED ON:

August 1, 2023

Got Questions?

The danger of roof leaks lies in how easy it is to miss them. And by the time your ceiling is dripping water, the leak will most likely have already caused major damage.

So, how do you conduct roof leak detection methods effectively? As a professional roofing company, we’ll help you locate and manage roof leaks. At Viking Contractors, we have years of industry experience and knowledge. You can also contact us directly to identify, evaluate, and fix roof leaks as fast as possible.

 

How Are Roof Leaks Detected?

For proper leak detection, you should do the following:

1. Look for Ceiling Issues

Fungus mold close up roof corner humid

If it’s leaking, your ceiling may have warping or paint discoloration. That’s because water can turn white paint into a yellowish-brown tone or cause the paint to bubble up. It may also have water stains or marks (that look like dark rings), and your wall may drip water. Not to mention, you’ll probably smell must or rot.

2. Check Walls, Windows, Siding, and Dormers

Walls, windows, siding, and dormers are good points for roof leak detection. Simply look for loose or damaged spots in the caulk using a putty knife. Check to see if the siding above the step flashing has gaps, cracks, or other issues.

3. Inspect Your Attic Regularly

Make it a habit to get your attic inspected for leaks on a regular basis. Twice a year should suffice. And we recommend doing this during or right after a rainstorm because it’s easier to find active leaks than dried-up ones.

Merely take a flashlight to the space, and look for any leakage in the underside of your roofing. It’s especially likely to occur at the meeting point between different surfaces.

You should start from the floor and make your way up. Inspect beams to see if water is tickling over them, and listen for dripping sounds. Also, check to see if the floor or exposed insulation looks damp to you. Any moisture, stains, black marks, damaged sheathing, and musty odors are roof leak signs.

4. Check Your Roof

Roof Leak Detection - Roof and shingles damaged from water leak

Using a ladder, conduct a leak detection or inspection once a year and after windstorms. Be extra careful to avoid dangerous slip accidents. Better yet, enlist the help of roofing experts, as they know how to climb onto roofs safely and are trained to spot even the most obscure leaks.

Roof penetrations are the main leaking source, so pay extra attention to any item that penetrates your roof system, as it may facilitate pooling. These include roof chimneys, vents, skylights, plumbing, dormers, seams, and valleys that aren’t properly sealed. For chimneys, any wear and tear on the mud cap or the top of the chimney can enable leaking.

Still, what should you look for? You may pinpoint the leak source by looking for the following signs:

  • Missing shingles
  • Loose shingles
  • Stripped shingles (ones that are no longer covered with asphalt)
  • Cracks and water stains
  • Areas with leave clumps
  • Damaged or warped shingles
  • Damaged or exposed flashing
  • Missing nails
  • Damaged caulking (close to vents and chimneys)
  • Small shingle tears
  • Ice dams (which block melting snow and lead to water pooling rather than sliding off roof membranes)

Tip: Leaves are likely to accumulate in your gutter openings. This blockage means that your gutter system isn’t discarding rainwater properly. So, it’s probably pooling on your roof and causing moisture damage.

Think of fixing such damage in your roof area as a proactive measure. After all, it targets every weak point to ensure it doesn’t become a leak source in the future.

5. Hose Down Suspected Areas

An effective method for locating a leak in your roof membrane is to flood the spot right over the leak in your house with a garden hose.

In this two-person test, you’ll be on the roof, hosing down that area while another person remains inside the house under the leak waiting for the ceiling to drip water. Give it a few minutes, and wait for your partner to call or shout. If they don’t give you a signal, move up the roof, soaking roof areas one by one until you determine the exact leak point.

6. Call a Professional

If you’ve located the roof leak, leave the repair to the professionals. They have the expertise, equipment, materials, and methods necessary for leaking roof membranes and tricky repairs. DIYing the repair process is possible if you only have a missing shingle or other minor problem.

If you haven’t found the location of the leak, it may be an obscure internal leak. Professional roofers can help conduct roof leak detection. To illustrate, they know every method needed to examine roofing layers without damaging roofs, particularly electronic leak detection methods.

Other methods include the impedance method for moisture mapping of the roof layers. There’s also the wet or dry detecting method, which involves low or high-voltage sensor leak detection. For spot and seam testing, roofers may use a high-voltage sensor leak detection method.

Your expert roofer might combine them with additional techniques for roof leak detection on flat roofs with super low pitches. Such a solution is efficient and accurate even on evasive flat roofs.

 

Final Verdict

Ultimately, roof leak detection enables you to pinpoint the location of the moisture beneath your roofing surface via the visible leak. You want to check the interior of your house for mold, mildew, leaking, and so on, and examine the exterior of your house for the same and needed roof repairs.

Getting your roof inspected on a regular basis limits the extent of repairs needed for roofing membranes. As for hidden damage, contact us, and we’ll test your roof to find the leaks and repair them immediately so that you can go back to your everyday life. 

At Viking Contractors, we understand the urgency of leak detection and time-sensitive repairs.

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