How to Pinpoint the Location of a Roof Leak if You Don’t Have an Attic
Homes with attics make it relatively easy to spot where your roof is leaking. Gazing up at the underlayment or sheathing of your roof, you will quickly notice wet spots, stains, and dark patches which indicate that water is leeching under the shingles in that location or slightly above (since water will follow the pitch of the roof).
But if your home doesn’t have an attic, the task is a bit more difficult.
Finding the Source of Leaks
A roof leak is usually indicated by stains, bulges, mold growth, or dripping on your ceiling. Attics are usually non-existant over cathedral ceilings and a variety of roof types. To understand how to discover a roof leak without an attic, you’ll need a few simple tools and the directions that follow. Once you’ve narrowed down where the roof has failed, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where a roof repair is required.
Tools needed include a ladder, garden hose and a pry bar.
Step-by-Step Roof Leak Detection
Search the ceiling for all of the water stains. Look for a stain that is higher up on the cathedral ceiling than the rest of the stains. Consider whether a minor stain in a high position is upslope from larger lower stains. Water should be penetrating when a little stain is higher up the slope than a large stain. Water seeps through and runs down the interior of the ceiling, eventually gathering and causing a larger stain.
Now that you know where the leak is coming from, gently climb up onto the roof.
Securely anchor an extension ladder to the roof’s edge. When climbing on the roof, wear nonskid rubber-soled shoes. Approach the probable leak’s location.
Check for damage to the flashing on any adjacent vents or chimneys. Examine the shingles for any that are loose or have moss growing on them. To inspect the roof deck, use a pry bar to gently lift up shingles.
If you see torn tar paper and decaying wood, you’ve got a leak.
Pull a garden hose up on the roof if you can’t locate any evident damage. Soak the shingles in small areas and ask someone to keep an eye on the house for leaks.
Wet little portions of the roof in a methodical manner until you identify the leak.
What to Do Next
You can cover a leak with a tarp, but your roof will need to be repaired permanently as soon as feasible. Water leaks into your home can cause structural damage as well as mold growth.
Contact a local roofer who is an expert in roof repairs for your type of roof. While there are some leaks that can be easily remedied by DIYers, getting a professional will ensure that the job is done correctly, to code, and safely.