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  • Trent Gabel

Leaky Roof? Quick Fixes to Tide you Over

How to find a roof leak is really the easy part; accomplishing the task can be frustrating and tedious. Quick fixes for a leaky roof can be less time-consuming than originally locating the leak.

Water will frequently enter the house near things that go through the roof, like nail penetrations, vents, dormers and chimneys. Locating the exact source can be tricky because visible signs of a leaky roof on the inside might be several feet away from the actual source. Water seeks the lowest point and path of least resistance.

How to find the source of a roof leak:

  • Check the attic with a flashlight for evidence like water stains, then trace them up the roof and rafters to the entry point.

  • If the leak isn’t obvious, have a helper watch in the attic while you get on the roof with a garden hose.

  • Soak the low spot on the roof, just above where the leak is visible inside the house.

  • Water enough to mimic heavy rains.

  • Continue running water over the low side of the penetration for several minutes while your helper watches for any water intrusion.

  • Move to the right or left side of the penetration and let the water run over the area for several minutes before moving to the other side.

  • Continue to work your way up the roof, isolating areas around each penetration until your helper yells that a drip is visible.

  • This will be the vicinity of the leak, and a source will become somewhat obvious

Be sure to check plumbing vent boots and roof vents as they can often be the cause of a leaky roof.

Look for cracks in the base of flexible rubber flashing or broken seams in metal vent pipe flashing. The rubber gasket that surrounds the vent pipe could be eroded. Either of these situations could allow water to find its way into the house.

Replace the plumbing vent boot if necessary and use washer-head roofing screws to secure the base to the roof. If the boot is in good condition but fasteners are missing, replace them with washer-head roofing screws to keep any future water from intruding through the repair.

Similarly, roof vents with cracked or otherwise damaged housings should be replaced to prevent water entering at the base.

Small nail holes are a very common type roof leak source. They can be from old vents, satellite dish brackets or anything previously attached to the roof. This can be due to improper dealing, type of nails used and or lack of protective washers.

You can patch the nail or screw holes by slipping a piece of roof flashing underneath the shingle. Add a bead of caulk or roof cement to the top and bottom edge of the flashing to keep it in place.

Step flashing is found around the chimney and on walls that intersect a shingle roof. Short sections of overlapping L-shaped flashing are arranged to channel water over the shingle downhill from it. If one of the steps has become loose or rusted, this can allow water to creep behind it, underneath the others and leak into the house.

You can replace a damaged piece of step flashing by carefully loosening the shingle and siding pull it gently out. Slide a new flashing piece into place and secure the repair with roofing cement. We recommend caulking edges, diversion is the best way to avoid future leaks.

Water doesn’t always enter a home directly through the roof surface. Dormers provide a number of vertical places for water to dribble in, such as walls with cracks between the siding corner boards or, windows.

  • Dig out any cracked or dry caulking that isn’t properly sealing adjoining surfaces and replace with silicone caulk.

  • Replace any missing or rotted siding above the step flashing on dormers.

  • Re-caulk the corner flashing if any areas have hardened or cracking caulk.

Tersuli Construction Services has a A+ sub network and can assist any homeowner seek out and solve water damage from leaky roofs. These simple tips should help you avoid future damage, however whether this is the first leak you have experienced or one of many. It is always a good idea to have a thorough professional inspection to make sure the issue isn't more serious.

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