Given that replacing or repairing your roof could cost you up to $20,000, many people put off repairs for years.
The problem with ignoring a roof leak is that you could then introduce more expensive and more invasive issues in your home. A roof leak could lead to structural damage if you’re not careful.
Here are 5 ways to check and see if you’ve got a dangerously leaky roof before it becomes a major issue.
1. Check After A Storm
One of the best ways to seek out a hard-to-find leak is to check your home following a heavy rain or a really big storm. Usually, this is when you’ll find the largest volume of water running down from your roof or pooling in strange places.
While you might not always know that your roof is leaking, it’s a good idea to check and make sure that you’re not leaking every once in a while. A small leak will begin when the water pressure is too much for water not to get in. Those small leaks will cause the serious damage that could cost you thousands later on.
Also, check when ice melts and winter ends. The heat from the sun could melt frozen areas on your roof or around the exterior of your home. You might be hit with one extremely sunny day after months of cold and everything that was once frozen will be quickly melted down to water.
Snow, ice, and heavy rains wreak havoc on your roof and could risk damaging your entire house if water finds its way in.
2. Look For Obvious Cosmetic Exterior Damage
Probably the most surefire way to ensure that you don’t have a roof leak is to inspect the exterior of the roof. Check that there are no obvious gaping holes or any shingles missing. If you see that something seems out of place, damaged, or dented, look for a leak on the other side of the roof.
Cosmetic damage can be innocuous and unrelated to a leak, but it’s a great first place to start. If you haven’t repaired your roof before, you should contact a professional for help to ensure you don’t do more harm than good.
If you haven’t had your roof looked at in awhile, it might be time to call in a professional. You should have your roof checked at least every 7-10 years. Make sure that everything is in tip-top shape so that you can get in front of any problems that might arise.
3. Do You See Mold?
If you see mold, that’s a pretty clear indicator that you could have a problem.
Mold can mean a variety of things depending on where it’s growing and where it’s coming from. If you have mold in the corners of your attic, you could have a leaky pipe or you could have a drip that doesn’t hit the interior of your room until it pools there.
Follow mold back to the source of where you find it. Mold is difficult to get rid of but once you eliminate the source, you can often rid of it for good.
Mold and mildew need water to grow. They feed off of moisture and contaminated water. Just a few spores can spread across a wall and start eating into the material. Some building materials are actually a great medium to grow mildew and mold on.
Once you start seeing signs, see if you can get rid of whatever is causing it. It might be difficult to manage the water source but if you can collect, redirect, or redistribute it until you fix your roof, do it.
4. Use a Moisture Meter
If you’re dealing with a hard-to-find leak, it could be time to pull out a moisture meter. A moisture meter will tell you what the issue is and where it’s coming from.
Any home could be suffering slow damage from a leak in the wall or along the floorboards. Sometimes you might smell mold or have an allergic reaction before you see signs of a leak. Leaks don’t always appear in plain sight.
If you use a moisture meter, you can see where leaks might be coming from and get in their way. You can find a way to collect and redistribute the water before it causes structural damage. You can also get a sense of just how bad the issue is with the help of a moisture meter.
5. Look For Peeling/Bubbling
Peeling of paint or bubbling along the wall could be a sign that you’re dealing with a leak.
Cheap paint will peel and bubble in humid or extreme weather. It’s important to not confuse those issues with a potential leak. However, if you notice bubbling in your ceiling and it seems like more than just a layer of paint, you could be collecting water. Rather than allow that big bubble of water to stick around, you need to find a way to “lance” that bubble and drain it into a bucket.
If you’ve never done anything like that before, have a friend or a professional help you out. You’ll need some tools and a ladder and you’ll have to be careful not to damage your home or your belongings. Prepare the area before you potentially release water into it.
A Roof Leak Can Be The First Sign of a Major Issue
By the time that you identify a roof leak, you could be dealing with water that’s caused damage to your structure or through several floors of your home. You could be amplifying the issue if you ignore it. It’s important to stay on top of a potential leak and to be diligent about repairing it as soon as it happens.
If you’re thinking about replacing your roof, check out our guide to the most common types available and why you should choose one over the other.