Did you know that the roofing industry was worth over $40,000 million this year, and around $50 million last year? It’s not a surprise, considering that it’s not really possible to live with a roof leak—so if someone has one, they’re likely to hire someone in the roofing industry.
If you have a leaking roof, then you need the right roof repair tips to find the leak and fix it, whether it’s you fixing it or a professional.
If you don’t have the right tips, then you can end up with dangerous, expensive flooding damage—or take so long to fix the problem that you spend a huge amount on a repair instead of having dealt with the problem early enough to save money.
It’s a stressful situation to find yourself in, especially because it’s time-sensitive, having to repair a roof leak. Fortunately, we’ve put together this guide. By providing you with 12 roof repair tips to find and fix a leaking roof, you can stop leaks yourself—no experience necessary.
We show you how to track down and fix the most common types of roof leaks. Most leaks take only minutes to repair. Read on to learn more.
Leaky Roof Overview
The first step in fixing a leak is noticing that there are water stains in your home. If you find them above you on the ceiling or leaving damp marks on the walls, then the cause is a leaky roof.
The next step of doing a leaky roof overview is identifying where it’s coming from. It’s important that you do this quickly because putting it off can damage your ceilings, create mold problems, and ruin your home’s insulation.
If you put it off, you’ll pay much more for repairs in the long-term. Deal with the problem now, starting by finding out where the roof leak is coming from.
How to Find Roof Leaks
When it comes to repairing a leaky roof, you need to know how to find roof leaks. To get started, track the stains you’ve found, by following with your gaze upward until you find the end of the stain.
This end is where the leak has started upon your wall or ceiling. Then, you can look at the roof itself, above where the leak is within your home. Most leaks are caused by an object that has penetrated the roof.
These objects can include dormers, chimneys, roof vents, and even plumbing. Sometimes, a tree branch or other heavy object can be the cause.
Unless you have an attic, you’ll need to climb up on the roof to find out where the penetration is and what has caused it.
A Trick for Finding Difficult Leaks
A trick for finding difficult leaks when investigating a roof leak is to cause the leak yourself. This may seem counterintuitive, but with the right help and your everyday garden house, you can easily find where the penetration in your roof has occurred.
Have a friend come over and go inside where you see the evidence of the leak. Then, climb up onto your roof with your garden hose, and spray spots in the general area where you think the leak is.
Once your friend notices that the leak is dripping on the inside, you’ve gotten close to where the leak is on your roof.
Solution for a Small Leak
There’s a special solution for a small leak, when you’re doing your roof repair because they’re so difficult to identify. This solution is to look for ‘shiners,’ which are nails that didn’t go through the frame correctly. You can find them in your attic.
If any of these nails have water that drips from them, even one small drop, then that’s where your leak is. By using side-cutting pliers, you can cut the nail and stop the leak.
Fix Plumbing Vent Boots
Often, plumbing vent boots can crack and break, creating a leak that spreads to the rest of your home. To fix plumbing vent boots, and stop your leaking roof from leaking, you’ll want to take a close look at them.
If they’re broken or cracked, or if they’ve rotted away and are leaking, you need to remove them and replace them with new plumbing vent boots.
Sometimes, however, the problem isn’t in the plumbing vent boots, but instead, the nails attaching it in place are loose or broken.
If this is the case, you’ll need to remove the shingles and reattach the plumbing vent boots properly. While doing this, be careful with the shingles, so that you won’t have to shell out money for new ones.
How to Fix Roof Vents
If you find that your roof vents are broken, you might think of how to fix roof vents. But this isn’t how to repair your roof. If there’s any damage to them, whether the cause is age or a recent storm, they’re going to need to be replaced.
Unfortunately, caulk won’t fix this problem; eventually, the water will get through and the leak will start again.
Instead, you need to replace the vents and use rubber-washer screws so that you can minimize a second leak happening with the new vents.
Fix Walls and Dormers
When you’re figuring out how to repair your roof, you might think that all the leaks come in through the roof. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, you need to fix walls and dormers to prevent more damage to your home.
Sometimes, when rain falls at an angle against your house or drips down from the roof, it enters through a leak in the siding of your home, or near where your windows attach to the wall. Dormer walls, especially, are rife with the potential for leaks.
If your leak isn’t appearing on your ceiling, but instead on the side of your house, then you likely have to fix walls and dormers.
Complex Roof Problem
There’s a complex roof problem that can sometimes cause a leak. This seasonal problem is called an ice dam, which can form anytime there’s heavy snowfall. Basically, if there’s a lot of snowfall, it can build up on your roof and create a dam.
This dam doesn’t allow water to come off your roof, which means that pools of melted ice water are slowly collecting on your roof.
This can cause a leak if the dam stays there for too long. To fix this problem, you’ll need to put in an adhesive ice-and-water barrier between the shingles and the sheathing beneath. This will also prevent the problem from happening in the future.
Fix Step Flashing
Sometimes, a leak can be caused by step flashing having been worn down by weather or age. Step flashing is a piece of material that’s used to protect the unshingled wall or roof that touches the shingles on your roof so that if water pours from the shingles, it’ll pass over the step flashing instead of going through the unshingled area.
To fix this problem, remove the old step flashing and replace it. It’s a bit of a complicated process, so you might want to consider hiring a professional to do this for you.
Don’t Count on Caulk!
It may be tempting to use caulk to fix a leak, but it will only work for so long. Even though caulk can be sued for many repairs, the power of water and gravity combined means the leak will eventually work through.
For all of these repairs, you’ll have to replace parts of your home, instead of simply plugging up leaks with caulk.
Fix Small Holes
If you want to fix a small hole by plugging it up with caulk—well, didn’t we already tell you? Don’t use caulk. Because it’s a small hole, it may seem to make sense to fix it with a small fix.
These small holes, which can appear because of a removed nail or an old satellite dish that was uninstalled, can cause big problems when it comes to leaks. Fortunately, there is a solution: flashing. Install it where the leak is, and you won’t have a leak anymore.
Leaks Around Brick Chimneys
Brick chimneys, though they mean you can enjoy a beautiful fire in the middle of a winter storm, have the potential of causing disastrous leaks. Often, the flashing protecting the chimney rusts over, which means you’ll get a leak.
To fix this, you need to replace the flashing. Using flashing that’s specially designed for chimneys is the way to go.
Need More Roof Repair Tips?
Need more roof repair tips? Or information on how much repairs might cost? Whatever your question, we’ve got the answer. Here at Hulsey Roofing Co., we’re experts on anything related to roofing.
If you have questions or want to learn about our services, visit our contact us page.