Now that spring is here in full bloom, all that hard-packed snow and ice on your roof has finally melted—and with it, comes potential trouble. Extreme cold weather, like what we experienced this past winter, can create openings for moisture to enter, and if water stains have started to appear on the walls or ceiling, it may be a sign of a leaky roof.
While on the surface small water stains might seem more like minor cosmetic issues, dealing with it should not be put off until water starts gushing out of your ceiling. The leak will not fix itself, and proactive steps—including possibly hiring a professional roofing company—may need to be taken to avoid any serious (and expensive) problems, such as damaged ceilings, rotted framing, and mold.
Where Is the Leak Coming From?
Finding the exact source of the roof leak may be more difficult than you think. It often originates away from where you see the stain, meaning water can enter the roof in one spot and then flow down (maybe as far as several feet) to another place before making its presence known.
Some possible areas where you may find the source of the leak include shingles that are missing, worn, or broken; loose nails; roofing flashing around chimneys, skylights, or vents; or the intersections of roof planes. From there, the leak allows water to flow along the top of the ceiling, sheathing, or roof rafters before it finds a spot to drip (and results in the stain).
Tracking down the leak will be easier if you have access to the attic. Grab a flashlight and search for clues, such as mold, marks, or stains. If you can’t get up there or the ceiling is vaulted, it will take some more investigative work.
As long as the roof isn’t too steep, icy, or slippery and you’re not in the middle of a thunderstorm, carefully step on the roof with a hose. You will also need a friend or family member to be a lookout. Start low, spraying the spot just above the stain. Be sure to isolate the sections where you run the hose, and spend a few minutes on each place. (In other words, do not spray the entire roof at once because then you will have no clue where the leak might be coming from.) While you are spraying, the lookout stays inside, keeping a close eye on any drips. Once he sees water, you know you found your culprit. NOTE: Don’t attempt to get on your roof yourself unless you are used to regularly using and climbing up ladders higher than 6 feet. Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S., and ladder accidents account for more than half of those deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Roof Repair: When to Call an Expert
Simple fixes include replacing a compromised shingle, repairing a small hole, or installing a rain cap on the chimney. For a complete inspection of your roof, it’s best to call a professional roof contractor. With more than 30 years of experience, DryHome Roofing and Siding Inc. handles all types of problems and roof types, from steep to flat. Our roofers will find a cost-effective solution—whether it is roof repair or roof replacement.