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Finding Roof Leaks

Roof leaks are a potentially serious headache as they can structurally damage your roof and other parts of your home. As your roof ages it becomes particularly important to look for signs of leaks so that you can prevent problems before they arise. Some areas are prone to leaks so prevention efforts should be focused on these areas. Neverheless, the effects of stormy weather can weakened roofing materials and make leaks possible almost anywhere on your roof. So, what is the best way to approach finding leaks?

Roof Penetrations

Roof leaks are most common around flashing, sealants, and fixtures such as chimneys and skylights. To this end, you should search for leaks wherever there are penetrations through the roof membrane. With regards to single-ply roofing systems, flashings are made from the same material as the membrane, so you'll want to look at flaps, seams and sealants in these locations.

Roof drains may also penetrate the roof membrane. Because drains carry excess water away from the roof, they can be a high risk area for leaks. After all, rain that falls on the roof will flow over the drains' seals. These drains should be inspected for leaks, but they also need to be cleaned regularly to prevent water buildup.

Perimeter Leaks

Roof leaks along the edges of your roof are common because of changes in roofing materials from flexible flashings to metal flashings. The right materials and proper installation can be critical in preventing leaks, but the potential still exists. Similarly, leaks are common near expansion joints on the edges of your roof. Wherever expansion and contracting of construction materials is likely, roof leaks are common so these areas should also be inspected carefully.


Homeowners are sometimes surprised to discover leaks in the least likely seasons. Even in the middle of winter when temperatures are regularly below zero, condensation may form as warm interior air meets cold air or the cold surfaces of your roof. Eventually, as condensation builds up, leaks begin to form. As such, it is important to ensure proper installation and inspection of the vapor barriers between ceilings and walls and the roof.

Tips for Finding a Leak

Once a leak has formed, finding it requires some solid problem solving skills. You can try doing a water test on a dry day to determine the source of a leak. You'll need one person on the roof with a hose and another inside looking for the leak. Start from the bottom of the roof, spraying water on the roof and progressively moving up the roof until the leak is identified. This process can be very time consuming as you'll need to give the water time to travel from the roof to the point of the leak. This means you should spray one area of ​​the roof and wait for up to 2 hours to see if water ingress begins.

You can also inspect your roof for signs of damage, which is where leaks will usually originate. Inspections of your attic may also prove useful. Ultimately, finding the source of a leak can be challenging and time consuming. You should consider hiring a roofing professional to find and fix your roof leaks.

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