So you’ve noticed a roof leak and want to find the source of the drip? (Hopefully only a drip!) We highly recommend contacting a professional to inspect your roof, but if you want to check it out for yourself, here are a few helpful tips in finding the source of the leak in your home.
1. Identify the specific location of the leak inside your home.
To find the leak in the roof, we need to know, from the outside of the house, exactly where the leak is. You can use exterior windows to measure how many feet left or right and how far back from the exterior wall the leak is appearing inside. When you walk outside, you can use that frame of reference, the window, to figure out where the leak is appearing inside. Remember, where the leak is appearing inside, is not necessarily where the hole in the roof is, but it will help us in identifying the leak.
2. Look above the leak.
Water almost always travels downhill. If the leak is appearing in the middle of a roof slope, the source of the leak could be anywhere from there up to the peak.
3. Check the attic.
A brown spot on the ceiling is a helpful clue as to where the leak is coming from, but if you have the ability to get into the attic and see where the water is running from, that can really help. This is something a qualified roofing contractor will often do if they can’t see an obvious source from the outside.
4. Check the chimney.
Your chimney is essentially a hole in your roof! There is metal flashing around the chimney which is designed to keep water on the outside and protect your home. If the leak in your home is appearing near the chimney, this is the first place to look. Sometimes the metal will rust or a hole will appear and allow water to work its way in.
5. Inspect your roof.
If you have a general idea of where the leak is coming from, closely look at the roof above that part of the house. There are several indicators that there might be a problem, from rusty nails or lifted shingles. We go into more detail on what to look for in this article.
This article specifically addresses leaks in shingle roofs. Some of these tips will translate to slate, tile, metal, or rubber roofs, but not all. In any case, the best thing you can do is call a qualified roofing contractor and let them help you assess the situation.