One of the major perks of having a roof over your head is not getting wet when it rains. Even if water isn’t pouring through the ceiling like Niagara Falls, the smallest drip could lead onto something more damaging such as mould, rot or damaged insulation. You may have noticed water stains on the ceiling or heard some dripping. If so, you most likely have a leak and should take these steps to find and fix it.
Check the inside
Quite often water will show up in a ceiling spot distant from the actual leak on the roof. However, it’s always worth checking the inside just in case it is something that can be simply patched up.
A good example are ‘shiners’ – nails protruding through your roof that shouldn’t be there. This is often due to the carpenter missing the beam when initially building the roof. Such nails often freeze up in winter and then leak water when they warm up again. An easy solution to this is side-cutting plier to clip the nail.
Sometimes there may be no visible signs on the inside – no water stains or mold. If this is the case, you may have to wait up in the attic for when it rains. If you’re not that patient, another solution is to get someone up on the roof with a hosepipe whilst you wait in the attic. Get them to spray water over the surface and wait until it starts seeping through. This process can take a while and may not be the best option if you’re trying to cut down your water bill.
Check the outside
Quite often the problem will be external, in which case it could be a number of issues. A loose shingle is the most common cause and easiest to fix (although some notorious shingle types such as Atlas Chalet Shingles may require the whole roof to be replaced).
Other common points of entry can be plumbing vent boots and roof vents. Missing nails, damaged rubber sealing or cracks could be letting in water. If a missing nail is the problem, you’ll need to fix up the old hole with caulk and hammer in a new one. A loose nail could also be the cause of the problem – harder to locate but you’ll know when you find it if you give it a firm tug and there’s movement. For rubber sealing, you’ll want to buy rubber boots and rubber screws. These can be found easily at any large DIY store.
Cracks are a little harder to fix up and may require professional help. Caulk can work as a temporary solution but it could be possible parts of the house are tearing apart and it is something structural. You should also check the sealant around dormers, windows and chimneys. Cracked caulk that was put in a long time ago could be the culprit behind your leak.
More often than not, chimneys will be surrounded by steel covers or flashing. These can rust up and crack, also leading to leaks.