Several factors contribute to a roof leak, so you may not always be dealing with just one specific problem. Water usually enters through worn or missing shingles, through damaged or poorly sealed flashing and where gutter nails have loosened, making it difficult to find where the leak originated. Therefore, any signs of a potential leak should not be ignored. Take immediate action to avoid expensive repair costs.
Locate the source
Tracking down the source is the hard part, but whether it’s raining or not, you can find telltale signs of a leak. If you have an attic, look for water drips, stains, mold or discolorations on your ceiling, spots on your exterior walls or protruding patches on your interior walls. Take note of where you found the leak, then inspect the corresponding spot on the exterior of your home. If you do not find anything, check the upper area of your roof, if it is slanted. You can also inspect for curled, cracked or missing shingles to further evaluate the overall condition of your roof. Finally, see if the flashing under your shingles has cracked or bent, because damage to it allows moisture to run inside the roof seams.
Sometimes, visual inspection doesn’t always help you find the source. If you cannot find the cause of the leak, wait for dry weather, then do a water test with a friend. To do this, go to the roof with a garden hose while your friend stays in the attic with a bucket. Flood the roof with your hose, starting at the eaves and working your way up until the leak is found in the attic. Mark the location of the leak so you can begin repairing.
Repairing the leak will depend on the source as well as the material and construction of your roof. One common fix is straightening or reattaching curled shingles. Smooth the curls out and apply a dab of sealant under the corners using a caulking gun. Use a trowel to press down the raised shingles, then cover the edges with roof cement. If your shingle is completely damaged, replace it by removing the nail that holds it in place and scraping up the roofing cement. Lay down fresh cement and take a new shingle to place over the exposed area.
If your vent boots are the problem, obtain another rubber seal at any hardware store. Apply a liberal amount of sealer to your old boot and clean up the excess. If your existing boot is still in good shape, you may only need to have the screws replaced with rubber-washed ones to keep water from seeping in.
Sometimes, homeowners neglect their seamless rain gutters because these experience fewer clogs and are less likely to leak. However, they will need repair at some point. For small holes, spread a generous amount of silicone caulk or roofing cement over. For larger holes, repeat the same step, then settle a piece of flashing into the caulk or cement.
Call a professional
Your roof is subject to lots of wear and tear, and, while you can try the DIY route to repair, sometimes your best – and safest – bet is to enlist the services of a professional. The Best Gutters knows how to get the job done. We provide expert roofing services, as well as seamless gutter installation and protection in Wisconsin. Learn more about our products and services by contacting us. We’d love to hear from you.