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How to Find Roof Leaks and Fix them

How to Find Roof Leaks and Fix them

September 5, 2022

Roof leak repair for a leaky roof can lead to an emergency roof repair depending on the severity of the problem. When you have a roof leak repair Toronto, it is never where you see the water coming in, for the most part the drip is the end point. The roof repair starts with your contractor thinking like water, to find the source of a flat roof repair. A commercial flat roof repair is constituted when worn, broken or, missing shingles are in disrepair. Other problems like loose nails or corroded flashing and bad seals around skylights or chimneys allow water penetration. Once water enters into the roofing system it travels along the decking, rafters, and ceilings until it finds an exit point – most times on to that exquisite piece of furniture you adore. Common leaks are simple fixes – and we can show you how, no experience required – and the repairs can be done in a few short minutes.

Leaky Roof Overview

Find a roof leak is the hard part, fixing it – should it not be a major problem – is the easy part. There are several straightforward techniques to repair small roof leaks that we would like to share with you today, but first, don’t blow off that roof leak today because you are replacing/restoring your roof in the future. Neglecting a roof leak can lead to roof rot and mould buildup, costing thousands of dollars to remediate.

How to Find Roof Leaks

Gravity should be your guide. Could you look above the stains/leaks for the source of entry on the roof? A common source of leaks is due to penetrations (think skylights/piping/HVAC) as an entry point. In general, uninterrupted sheets of shingles are not a source of leaks but vents, chimneys and dormers are. The leaks can be far from the signs of leaks or close to the leaks. If you have an attic, and can access it, check the decking for stains, once you identify stains, you have found the leaks.

Tips for Roof Leak Repair

A Trick for Finding Difficult Leaks

Teamwork here will help find a leak – you need a helper and garden hose. The helper is in the house, you take the hose and gently spray the downward portion of the roof – where the penetrations are like chimneys, and vents – and have your assistant locate the drips. If that doesn’t produce results, wet down the side areas of the vents or dormers to see if that produces results, if not water above the HVAC or skylights, you should find the leak at some point through the process of elimination. If you don’t find the leak, but have suspicions of which area it might be, don’t be afraid to lift the shingles, the damage will be self-revealing.

Solution for a Small Leak

Leaks can be hard to find. At times, water enters far from the area that has been identified as the problem area. If you have a vapour barrier in the attic, follow the stain pathway – it should lead to openings like ceiling fixtures to find a leak. If the tiny leak is hard to locate, try a different strategy and look for ‘shiners.’ A shiner is a misdriven nail that leaves an entryway for water to invade. Other problems created by misdriven nails is condensation. The release of warm air into the attic hits cold nails and creates water drips – you will know this problem when you see it. The nails will be white – frost covered – once warm air hits them they will warm up dripping water. It is like Groundhog Day during the winter, frozen nails meet warm air and leaks abound. To stop this, you need side-cutters to trim the exposed nail to stop the drips.

Fix Plumbing Vent Boots

The plumbing vent boots can hold the answer to roof leaks. The boots can be plastic, plastic, metal, or rubber below the sheathing. Cracks, and broken seems are points of entry, if the rubber insert is rotted or torn, it can be another entry point. Any damage sections should be replaced as a matter of form, if you are missing screws for the boot, there is another option. Obtain rubber-washers for new screws to stop water entry. To repair this problem, gingerly lift the shingles in the area to help with the repair using a pry bar to lift the shingles from the sealant.

Fix Roof Vents

When dealing with vents – plastic/metal – there are things to look for. Plastic vents crack, metal vents have seams that will separate. The only satisfactory repair is replacing the vents, as caulking will only be a temporary fix for a long-term problem. When reinstalling the vents, use rubber-washer screws and make sure you securely nail the vents down. Use caulking to create a watertight seal at the edges of the vent to prevent further leaks from penetrating the roof’s structure.

Fix Walls and Dormers

Water leaks topside don’t always come through shingled areas of a roof. Leak entry points can come in the form of wind-driven rain that makes an appearance at windows, at the corner boards, cracks in siding and dormer walls. Caulking doesn’t last forever, and it will crack or shrink around windows and corner boards allowing water to penetrate your home. There is two things you can do here, check the caulking – use a knife to find the caulking that has failed and reseal it the second thing you can do is replace the damaged siding – make sure that is at least two inches of overlap with the step flashing. Don’t forget to review the corner boards – old caulking can harden at the corner boards rendering it useless.

Complex Roof Problem

Flashing can be a problem; you will know if your roof leaks when the snow melts on the roof or leaks during storms. Your soffit is notorious for being a poor water seal and aids in the formation of ice dams. An ice dam is frozen melted water occurs in the winter – and water backs up behind the dam and ends eventually under the shingles. You’ll need to improve your current flashing to stop the leaks, so you’ll need to strip the shingles in the area and install an ice/water barrier under the soffit or main roof joint. You need to overlap the barrier all the way down to the roof’s edge to get the protection your roof needs from water penetration. Replace the shingles, and the step metal flashing behind the fascia. At the valley, where two sections of the roof meet, make sure you have overlap of the barrier – two inches should be sufficient – then shingle. There two ways to combat this sticky situation, the first one is to replace or replenish your attic insulation and improve ventilation or buy heating cable to keep water from refreezing.

Fix Step Flashing

Step flashing is installed at the roof’s edge and helps water flow to eavestroughs for drainage. If the flashing has come loose or rusted through, water enters your roofing system. You start by prying up the shingles – at the roof’s edge – loosening siding and removing/replacing the flashing.

Don’t Count on Caulk

Caulking and roof cement are temporary fixes that can’t stand the test of time. Use the tried and true roof repairs – like replacing defective shingles/flashing to effect long term solutions for leaks. Caulking may be able to close a small hole on the roof but isn’t a long-term solution to roof leaks.

Fix Small Holes

Tiny holes on roofs pose long-term problems. Due to the nature of the small hole, it might escape notice and cause rot and mould damage. Exposed or misdriven nails must be taken care of and small holes patched immediately.

Leaks Around Brick Chimneys

The flashing around the chimney is weak. It can corrode or lift due to exposure, which is how leaks begin. A quick fix starts with inserting new flashing under the old, rotted flashing, so water will run down to the shingles and off the roof.

About DIY Roof Leak Repair

Roofing work can be hazardous. You need tools confidence, knowledge and courage to assail roofing problems. If your roof has a steep pitch, leave the repair work to a roofing contractor who has experience dealing with hazardous situations.

Integrity Roofers, Your Roof Leak Specialist

How to Find Roof Leaks and Fix them At Integrity, we offer emergency and standard roof repairs for commercial and residential roofing. Before we mount can effort on the roof, we digitally memorialize your roofing problems to demonstrate the issues and advise you on the solutions. Once we completed the initial consultation we set about the work. Our work and material come with a warranty – workmanship is for 10-years – our name is Integrity and we stand behind our work. For a free estimate fill out the form or contact us here for more information.

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