I will never forget the morning my best friend called and said he had a roof leak.
After three straight days of what felt like non-stop, pounding rain, he noticed a blotchy, dark stain on the drywall above his bathroom sink.
My friend said as they brushed their teeth, they immediately recognized moisture penetrating their bathroom drywall on the top floor of his home. In a bit of a panic, he called me (Luke, Top Dog Home Pro) and asked what he should do.
I chuckled a bit, only because the answer to roof leak questions vary. They can range from a very quick and simple fix, to sometimes a brand new roof.
That is why today we will help you understand these things as they pertain to roof leaks:
- How to determine if you have a roof leak
- Causes of Roof Leaks
- What to do if you have a roof leak
- The best ways to repair your roof leak
How to known if your roof is leaking:
The first question I asked my friend that day was, “How big is the water stain on the drywall of your ceiling, and is it concentrated or all over?”
His answer, “A small stain in one spot” was something that immediately told me the roof leak was there, but it wasn’t urgent. Most likely a pipe collar had corroded and cracked, water was seeping in and dripping down the truss and causing a small drip.
Sure enough, the day once the rain subsided that was the case. The pipe collar had cracked and needed to be replaced – a simple fix!
All this to say, it is sometimes VERY obvious when you have a roof leak, and not so obvious other times, let’s look at how you determine if you have a roof leak:
How to find roof leaks:
- If you see a water stain on your top floor ceiling, this is a very evident sign of a roof leak of some sort
- Go into your attic annually and look for any mold or soft/rotting wood (hopefully you won’t find this)
- Have your roof inspected annually
- Look for common “Water Penetration Areas.” Anywhere you have skylights, roof vents, chimneys, dormers or anything else that projects through the roof and cause a break in shingles it’s most likely the common cause of a roof leak. Very rarely is a wide-open space covered by unbroken shingles will you have a leak
- Look for missing shingles and caps on your roof
Causes of Roof Leaks
The most common cause of roof leaks is typically from missing shingles or where things like chimneys and skylights “break the chain” of shingles.
Areas, where shingles are missing or broken, can allow for moisture and water to penetrate your roof’s service. Obviously, things like rotting plywood and missing shingles can lead to bigger roof leaks.
Common causes of roofing leaks include:
- Missing shingles
- Loose or broken shingles
- Pipe collar seals that are cracked
- Flashing leaks
- Skylights, dormers, and chimney areas where moisture can penetrate
- Clogged gutters (causing heavy rain)
- Roof vents
- Holes in roof
- Age of roof (really old roofs that no longer work)
What to do if your roof is leaking:
If you have seen some missing shingles or you have noticed some wet spots in your home – it’s a sign your roof might be leaking. But what if you’re still unsure?
Here are the best logical steps to take to address a possible or existing roof leak:
1. Call a Roof Repair Company
Here at Top Dog Home Pro, we specialize in roof replacements and roof repairs. What we always tell homeowners is that if they suspect a roof leak – call ASAP!
While it might be something simple like fixing my friend’s pipe collar, it could be a small problem that if not addressed – could become an even bigger issue!
It doesn’t hurt to reach out and simply get your roof inspected! In fact, we recommend doing it annually!
2. Check Your Pipe Collars
Take a step back, far enough on the street to see if you’re pipe collars look “OK.”
While this might not be the most efficient check, just doing a spot check from the street doesn’t hurt. Getting on your roof, using a ladder, and inspecting your roof is something we don’t usually recommend.
However, if you insist on getting on your roof, be sure to use safety protocols and ladder safety steps!
Note: Get some binoculars! Use binoculars to check your roof and get a closer view!
3. Check your roof for missing shingles
The most common cause of roof leaks after pipe collar cracks in the seal, missing shingles are a major cause for roof leaks!
It’s really simple to check your roof with missing shingles – it’s pretty obvious, so long as you get the right vantage point.
Using binoculars is a good idea too! Be sure to be extra vigilant when heavy wind storms sweep through your area!
4. Fix your roof leak
Once you determine where your roof leak is coming from, it’s best to fix the roof as fast as possible!
A small leak can become a big leak in a matter of weeks, and even sometimes days depending on the time of the year (think spring rain).
Waiting to fix your roof leak can lead to more damage and fixing plywood, replacing more shingles, and even some interior cosmetic remodeling can start to add up!
However, the good thing is you do have options when it comes to repairing your roof which we will discuss below!
Roof Leak Repair Options
When it comes to fixing your roof leak, the options may vary depending on the size and scope of you roof leak.
Once you determine you have a leak the best options are to:
- Call a certified roof company that can work with insurance companies (Such as Top Dog Home Pro of Woodbridge, VA)
- Determine if the fix is worth just fixing OR contacting insurance and submitting a roof repair (We can do this for you, just learn about our video call option here). This will depend on size and scope.
- Decide if the roof repair is sufficient, or depending on age, if the roof needs to be replaced (which is sometimes easier).
If it is determined that a roof replacement is needed, that is most likely because the cost of a repair exceeds the benefits the repair. Sometimes, depending on the age of roof, it’s best to consider a roof replacement.
Final Word on Roof Leaks
As the joke goes, the Grand Canyon wasn’t formed overnight.
The same goes for a roof leak in most cases. While they might “Appear” over night or after a storm, most of the time they are slow emerging.
However, once they start, they don’t stop until they’re addressed. That is why it’s important to do an annual roof check visually and even consider having a professional roofing contractor in your area check your roof every few years – especially as your roof ages!