Finding Roof Leaks Before They Become A Disaster

Estimated read time 7 min read

On any given day in Michigan, there are at least half a dozen insurance claims filed due to water damage from a home leaking out its windows and doors right through the siding. That is because often times when you see a leak outside of your house that has made its way inside, it’s just a collection of problems that have been left unattended for some time now. Once one thing starts going wrong, another problem manifests itself until eventually you have an issue as serious as an leak or worse yet – rot on your framing members.

For the purpose of this article, we are going to define the following terms for you:

Pre-Purchase Inspection

This is an inspection that most people forget about until it’s too late. But with roof problems being so common, you would be smart to have a roofing contractors Canton MI inspect your existing roof before making a final purchase on a home or commercial property. That way if there are any issues with the roof, you can make certain they are taken care of before purchasing the building and discovering them later on down the road when it is more serious.

Roof Mold

This is a black or gray fungus that will grow on the shingles and other areas of your roof over time. It will even grow in wet, warm environments where you’d least expect it! That’s why every few years, we recommend having your roof pressure washed by professionals with equipment designed to cut through tough stains like mold.

Finding Roof Leaks Before They Become A Disaster

Post-Purchase Inspection

If you are buying a new home with a warranty, be sure to have an inspection performed by a professional within 30 days of moving into your new home. Special attention should be paid to the following places:

Around The Damaged Area – Many times when there is damage due to high winds etc., you see initial signs near these points but not directly at the point of impact. Pay close attention to these areas for damage that may not be immediately obvious or you could end up with big problems down the road caused by leaks and even mold .

The Roof Drainage Pans – The water flow in your gutters will follow the path of least resistance along the roof line. As a result, if there is any kind of damage like a nail popping out or failing shingle , it can cause serious issues for you eventually if it’s not repaired promptly.

Around The Chimney – This has always been one of my greatest concerns when inspecting roofs during wind events. You see, most chimneys are built very well structurally but sometimes fail at their base where they meet the roof decking creating an area were water can pool and ultimately make its way into your home.

Where The Fascia Meets The Soffit – This is often times a spot that is overlooked when inspecting roofs for damage after high winds. If the wind was strong enough, it could have pushed or pulled on these areas causing shingles to pop up or fail by cracking around the nails. In other cases, that pressure from the wind could have pushed air down between each roof deck board creating a very large area were water can pool directly over your ceilings and interior walls… not good!

Since we have described all of our terms for you now lets get back to today’s post topic: How to find roof leaks before they become a disaster .

Leak Detection Is Simple

So, you’ve noticed a leak inside the house coming from what seems to be the roof. We all know by now that finding a leak on your own is not too difficult a job. But finding a leak early – before it has had a chance to rot out structural members or ruin carpeting and drywall can be quite challenging sometimes! That’s why we recommend hiring an experienced roofing contractors Canton MI with advanced equipment to assist you in this challenge known as “detecting leaks before they become disasters.

When attempting to find roof leaks, the first thing you want to do is start at the peak of your roof (usually where your chimney is) and work your way down to the lowest area of the roof where water seems to be dripping into your house. Now this isn’t really a surefire method but it does get you 80% of the way there! Once you’ve located the general area of the leak, follow that path all of the way back until you find where two roofs are meeting.

Detecting Holes On The Roof

Holes are usually pretty obvious to detect since they look like holes. But these holes can be caused by lots of different things, most of which aren’t actually leaks. So what you really need to do is get out your ladder and check these areas out up close before calling us for help… unless it’s the kind of hole that just screams “I’M A LEAK!”.

If you suspect a hole in some area where there isn’t any water damage on the ceiling below it then take some time to inspect the roof under this area for signs that water might be running through somehow. If there are no signs of water coming through at or around this location, then odds are it’s not a hole and probably just cosmetic damage such as previous roofers failing to add enough ice and water shield around the chimney.

If you do notice water coming through your chimney or wall flashing, then we recommend getting on the roof and checking out where this damaged area is relative to the hole that you think might be a leak. Usually these holes can be detected by looking for areas where shingles have been pushed up or removed from the decking of your roof in order to see if there is any kind of rot going on underneath them (like we talked about above).

Sometimes it gets very difficult with certain types of roofs like tile because they make it hard for you to get up close and check things out unless you know what to look for. When helping customers find leaks on tile roofs, we have them go inside the house and start checking their ceilings below everywhere they know there is a hole up on the roof. That way they avoid climbing onto extremely steep pitch roofs.

Detecting Leaks With A Water-Emitting Source

If you don’t want to drop 100 bucks for an electronic device that can help you find leaks in your roof decking, then there is another method that has worked pretty well for customers over the years. The simple idea behind this technique (which works best after dark) is by using sound waves to find where water might be running on the ceiling of your home.

All you really need to do this is a 10-ft long garden hose that’s filled with water and then slowly dragged across an area of the ceiling while someone listens for drips coming from above (this might be easier if one person holds the hose while another stands above holding their phone up to their ear). We haven’t tried this ourselves but we’ve know customers whose roofing company has used it in order to find leaks quickly and save time/money. Just keep in mind that this method will only work well when there isn’t any excess water pooling out onto your roof decking… which means you shouldn’t use it right after a big rainstorm or flood, etc.

Okay, so that pretty much covers all of the ways to identify a roof leak from the outside. If you want to get down and dirty with diagnosing where your damage is coming from then we recommend going through this process from the inside out.

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