When you've got a constant drip from your ceiling, finding roof leaks will become your obsession. Leaks can disturb your sleep (nobody likes hearing the sound of drops falling into a bucket). More importantly, it can damage your floors and walls, so lowering the property value you of your home. While it sounds like it'd be easy to figure out where a leak is coming from, it can actually be quite complicated. Whether you have a flat roof, or one with tile or gravel, you need to move quickly. Read the tips below and get to finding roof leaks before it's too late.
Often, the spot where the dripping is coming from does not correspond to where the actual hole in the roof is. You'll need to investigate to find the source.
Problem Areas to Check
Flashings are the transitional pieces of material that connect the roof to the rest of the house. These are often made of materials that sometimes corrode or rust, and that are sooner to leaks. In particular, if they have been recently repaired around the same time you started noticeing the leak, a poor repair job could have left these flashings more susceptible to leaks. Examine these areas for holes to ensure they are not the culprit.
Check for holes in the chimney.
These may not have the same sealing integrity as the rest of your roof.
How to Diagnose – With a Hose to Simulate Rain
The good news is that water is a pretty predictable substance. When it rains, it will flow in just about the same way every time. Checking for a leak while it's raining wont do you much good, you can recreate a rainstorm with a hose. Just safely get on your roof, and spray water over certain areas.
Because leaks rarely occur from the space in the roof directly over the leak, you must determine where the water is actually flowing from. Try to follow the path of the water with your eyes to determine if it's going to an area where you've had problems with leaks. The purpose of this is to help you start finding roof leaks, specifically the source of the leak.
A good tip is to pay attention to exposed pipes and rafters, which have the ability to carry water for long distances. These may be difficult to see if you are untrained in locating such problems.
How to Diagnose – Look for Irregularities
Sometimes a discolored tile can be the sign that lets you know there's something wrong. If you have a dark tile (especially with mold at its corners), there's a good chance this tile has something to do with your leak. It's clearly receiving more water than the rest of the tiles.
Finding roof leaks is a challenge, but once they've successfully been located, repairing them will not be a big deal. If you do not mind spending some money, having a professional come in is a good idea, because you want to make sure the job is done right.