Roof Leaks – Helpful Clues Professionals Know About the Nat…

Finding the origin of a roof leak is the only way to permanently repair it. You can use the same systematic approach professional roofer's use in finding the cause of leaks. Then you will be better equipped with the knowledge to make the repairs.

There are a number of things professionals look for to help them find where a leak is originating, beginning with the evidence found on the inside of the home.

The size and location of stains, cracks and mold on the ceiling or walls can give you important clues about the nature of a leak. This evidence can tell you things like the size of the entry point, how long it's been leaking and if the leak is currently active. You can learn this and more by simply looking at the evidence on the inside of the home, asking questions, and by knowing how to analyze this information.

Expect to find stains on the ceiling if the leak is coming from the roof. Water stains are yellow or light brown in color with the perimeter defined by a darker edge line. The longer the exposure to water, the darker the stain will usually appear.

A recent leak (approx. 24-48 hours) will feel cool or damp to the touch and will not be brittle. If the stained area is hard or brittle, and shows cracks, it means the area was once wet and has since been discharged. This is a previous leak and may or may not still be active.

Mold may appear on the surface of the wall or ceiling. This could be removed with a chemical which kills the mold. However, if mold is present it is reasonably an indication of prolonged exposure to water and resulting damage may make it necessary to replace the wall or ceiling covering in this area.

The following is a brief description of the characteristics of the material commonly used for the construction of walls and ceilings: "Drywall" as it is usually called, holds up very well to a limited amount of exposure to water with no lasting effects to its properties . It has been used in the construction of interior walls and ceilings as a cost effective substitute to conventional plaster for over 50 years.

Drywall is comprised of a gypsum (calcium sulfate dehydrate) core (imagine crushed stone), sandwiched between two sheets of paper facing material. After an area affected by a roof leak dries out, the surface can usually be sealed and painted with no structural damage.

When drywall has been exposed to a significant amount of water over a longer period of time, it may lose its flat contour and begin to sag from the ceiling. When instructed after these conditions it will not regain its original characteristics and should be replaced ~ after you are sure the leak has been repaired!

Water finds its way to the lowest point before showing or leaking through to the surface (the ceiling). This means the evidence of a roof leak above, may appear around light fixtures, ceiling fans or in the joints of individual drywall board sections.

The joints between boards are sealed with reinforcing tape and joint compound, and the tape may begin to show when water penetrates these areas.

If the design of the ceiling in not level, as is the case of vaulted or cathedral ceilings, it may not be clear where the roof leak actually originates. Keep in mind that drywall comes in sections which are four feet wide and eight or twelve feet long. If there is a stain in one of these joints, carefully inspect every four feet above this point along the ceiling, looking for evidence at the highest point.

Now you are armed with information professionals use to analyze the nature of roof leaks. Stains give clues as to whether or not the origin of a leak is large or small; active or inactive, and what damage may have been caused.

The precise area where the evidence of a leak is detected on an interior wall or ceiling also gives the professional clues to the possible location of the origin of the leak. For example, the leak may be occurring at an existing roof penetration such as a plumbing vent stack, skylight, attic vent, chimney flashing area, or even a plumbing supply line or drain line.

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