How To Find And Fix Roof Leaks

How To Find And Fix Roof Leaks

Roof leaks can cause a number of challenges for the homeowner. They always seem to occur at the most inconvenient of times and can lead to significant damage to your home’s interior. The effects can also remain even after repairs have been made, in form of mold on the interior surfaces of your house.

Finding the source of the roof leak can sometimes be a much greater challenge. In most case, the source of the leak won’t match the location the effects of the leak appear inside the house. This can be very frustrating especially when attempting to repair the leak. But spotting the source of the leak isn’t a science; it’s all about knowing exactly what to look for, often through the process of elimination.

What to Look for to Locate a Roof Leak

Water stains

If there are any gray, brown, or yellow stains on the interior surfaces of your house, these are usually a sign of water damage. Check to see if there are such stains on the ceiling and the walls of your home. In case there are spots in any of these area, immediately start searching for the cause of the leak in the surrounding area. In general, the sooner you spot the source of the leak, the sooner you can have it fixed and prevent further damage to your house.

Missing, Broken, or Curling Shingles

If there are any damaged or missing shingles on the roof, that’s a major problem. These are weak points that will let water penetrate the home. Be sure to regularly inspect the roof visually for such problems so that you can resolve them before they cause water damage to your home.

Mold and Mildew

Check around the house to see if there are sections around the roof where there’s mold forming. If you notice some mold there might be a minor leak in your roof. You can confirm it’s a minor leak when there’s clearly presence of some mold in a section of your roof, but with no water stains. This is because enough moisture is getting through to keep things damp, but not enough to cause staining. Check the outside of your home around the area you spotted the mold for any signs of a leak.

Musty or Dumpy Smell

Regularly check the attic to see if there’s a damp or moldy smell. Although this could just mean that there isn’t enough ventilation in the area, it could be a sign of a leaky roof that’s allowing moisture to get in. if there are leaks, you will likely also notice spongy and damp plywood around the leak, and possibly some water stains.

Wrinkles or Blisters

On a flat roof, one of the most common signs of a leak is wrinkling or blistering. If you notice seriously creased, wrinkled, or curled sections of your roof, it might be a sign that water is getting into the roofing layers, causing them to expand when heated up. You can fix this issue fast to prevent further damage on the roofing and your home.

How to Fix Different Types of Roof Leaks

Patch Up a Flat Roof

Any small holes on a flat roof can be fixed by patching them with a special primer and patching system. Since the technique varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, here’s the typical repair for this kind of roof.

Materials and equipment needed: Brush, primer and patching system, flat roof roller, and scissors.


  • Clean the damaged area by dusting off any particles and loose material. Apply an ample amount of primer in the area and overlap it on the undamaged part of the roof.
  • Let the primer to dry off as instructed. Cover the primed area with some self-adhesive patching material and overlap it on the undamaged roof.
  • Smooth the patch by hand, and then use the flat-roof roller to smooth it better for a good seal.

Asphalt Shingles Repair

If properly maintained, asphalt shingles can last anywhere between 15 to 20 years. However, if there are any damaged shingles, they could allow rain to penetrate and cause damage to your home. Here’s how to fix them.

Materials: pry bar, asphalt shingle, roofing nails, hammer, and roofing adhesive.


  • Lift the torn or broken shingle from the roof, pull out the nails, and remove the shingle completely.
  • Lift the tab above the damaged shingle using the pry bar.
  • Cut the desired length of shingle and slide it into position.
  • Fasten the shingle with the roofing nails.
  • Press the shingle into place and be sure to coat each nail’s head with adhesive.

Fixing other Roofs

Since laminated roofing shingles are generally thicker than the standard asphalt shingles, they may require longer staples or nails to securely fasten them.

Wood shake roofing is relatively durable and should last up to 30 years before it requires replacing. However, it can still be damaged through shrinking and warping. Fixing it requires a repair method similar to repairing asphalt.

Fixing a Leak Around the Chimney

The cricket and the counter flashing are among the most common culprits for chimney roof leak. The cricket should be firmly sealed into the chimney’s grout. In case it has come off, use a waterproof sealant to reapply it.

The counter flashing is the vertical structure of the flashing designed to prevent water from entering underneath the chimney. It should be sealed tight into the mortar of the chimney. If it has slipped off, you can use mortar or roofing sealant to lock it back into place.

Fixing Leaks Around a Vent or Drain

Vents and drains are usually sealed using a rubber boot on the roof. However, rubber doesn’t last forever, and if you identify this area as the source of your roof leak, you only need to replace the boot. Check the rubber boot to see if there are any cracks or tears. If found, simply purchase a new boot based on the diameter of the vent or pipe.

Seek Professional Help for Complex Leaks

If the leak problem is beyond your skill set or too complex for a DIY fix, it’s best to call a Cincinnati roofing specialist as soon as you can. They can quickly assess the extent of your roof leak and provide you with estimated costs of repair. Plus, since they are professional in the field, they can complete the job much faster.

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