Think Safety First
Fussing to try and find a leak as soon as it happens is something that could put you in the hospital. Meddling on a roof while it’s raining or covered with ice and snow isn’t the ideal way to find a leak. Trying to temporarily fix a leak could be highly dangerous. If you want to do it right, there is no quick-fix. Just take your time, and be very patient and careful to wait for Mother Nature to give you the green light.
Being on a roof will put the body in positions that are not comfortable or safe. Make sure to wear rubber sole shoes to prevent slipping. Also use a harness and always work with a buddy.
Spray the Roof
Take a garden hose and go up to the roof and start spraying in different locations to find the leak. Wait if it’s wintertime because it’s not safe to run water on the roof when it’s freezing out.
Keep Gutters Clean
One of the most common areas and causes for roof leaks are clogged gutters. Gutters that have not been cleaned can cause the water to build up during rain.
Avoid Dry Rot
Dry rot isn’t related to any type of water damage, but lack of ventilation. If a roof repair is right in the middle of the roof, there is a chance that the plywood might be deteriorating. The roof will actually sag in and cause the roof shingles to get brittle, crack and then leak. Preventing dry rot consists of installing a ridge vent, which will only work if there is a soffit vent. Holes have to be drilled through the soffit vents so cool air comes in through the bottom and pushes the hot air out through the top.
Prevent Ice Buildup
In the wintertime, ice has no problem building up under the roof membrane, shingles and gutters. The ice builds back up when it reaches the wall line where the house is heated and it creates an interior drip. Proper ventilation, rain and ice shields along with installing a drip edge will help prevent this problem.
Fix Roof Boots
Flashing, roofing, ice damping and skylights are all obvious places for potential leaks. One thing people often miss is the rubber boots. It’s where the roof fence comes up that you find roof boots. If they dry up they will cause major leaks. It’s a quick fix; purchase a new roof boot in a local hardware store. You may have to remove some of the shingles, lay a better tar under it and put it back in place.
Sometimes shingles are faulty and will begin to crack after they’ve been nailed down. Faulty installation with nails and shingles can also play a big part in leaks. Nails could be nailed too low and it will start pushing back up. Make sure to always check merchandise before getting on the roof.
A valley is where the intersection of two roofs comes together. It is also called the ridge, which is again where two roofs meet at the top. Valleys are very common places for leaks because that’s where the water from the entire roof goes to and it will start sloshing back and forth.
It’s important not to get discouraged when a leak can’t be found. It’s a process of elimination. You’ve covered one area, installed the shingles back and sealed it watertight so at least one spot is eliminated. Now, you can try other areas.