Let’s talk about roof leaks. Yay! This is has be everyone’s favorite subject, right? Okay, I know. Not so much. Most people don’t know what to do when their roof starts leaking. Letting it continue to leak is a recipe for disaster and can ruin not only your roof, but your rafters, joists, insulation, and sheet rock and/or ceiling tiles.
Some roofs are beyond help and need to be replaced, but others can be patched. The trick is to figure out where the leak is originating. My husband and I always to try to check things out before hiring professionals, and have enjoyed some DIY success.
You can’t always tell by looking at the water spots on your ceiling where the roof is leaking. In fact, you usually can’t. Water is tricky and takes the path of least resistance, which means it doesn’t always go in a straight line. Once it seeps in through whatever crack or hole you have, it often runs down your decking and takes a jog down your rafters before pooling on your ceiling and causing that beautiful yellow or brown stain.
The best way that I know to find a leak is to climb up into your attic during or right after a good heavy rain. Shine a bright light around and look for wet spots, discolored wood, or anything that doesn’t look quite right. When you find moisture, follow the path upward to find your leak. Be careful to only step on the ceiling joists if your attic is unfinished. You sure don’t want to fall through the ceiling. It has been known to happen.
A common place for a leak to originate is around pipes that are vented through the roof. A few other sources of leaks are chimneys, missing shingles, gaps in flashing, cracks, and hail holes. In our case, our leak was around a vent pipe. My husband bravely climbed up on the roof with a bucket of tar, and sealed the leak. It wasn’t nearly as difficult to patch the leak as it was to find it.
Roof leaks are serious. Don’t let them linger. Calling a professional is always a good idea, especially if you can’t find the leak or are unable to fix it yourself. I just prefer to always try to fix something myself first. In this case, my husband discovered the source of the leak and repaired it. The project gave him a sense of satisfaction and saved us quite a bit of money.