How do I fix that leak in my roof? Need a roofer?

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How do I fix a leak in my roof?

How to Repair A Leaky Roof

A leaky roof is a major problem that can cause a series of rapidly cascading home interior issues, from waterlogged attic insulation to ruined floors. Repairing a leaking roof is important to maintaining your home. You should repair leaks as quickly as possible because the longer you delay, the more damage your home will take.

Leaks can be difficult to diagnose and identify. Your roof may not appear damaged from the outside, so you have to search for other clues that suggest a leak exists. Sometimes identifying the source of a leak is obvious -- a gutter broken at its base or an area of missing shingles are clear indicators -- other times the source is not so clear. You may have to climb up on your roof and look behind a ceiling or wall panel to find the leak's origin.

Once you’ve found where the water is coming from, you can decide how best to fix it. Because leaks can cause problems throughout your entire home, we recommend hiring a roofing professional to re-seal any damaged areas. However, if you’re feeling adventurous and would like to repair a leak yourself or your budget doesn't allow for an expert's visit, the following steps will guide you in repairing a leaky roof.

How to Fix A Leaky Roof

Leaking Roof, Roof Repair

Step 1 – Identify the Source of the Leak

The first step to fixing any leak is determining where it’s coming from. You probably don’t hear a leak, so you have to be very observant and keep an eye out for signs of water damage. Check your gutters every time it rains to see if they are overflowing with rainwater or if rainwater is pooling around your foundation.

Step 2 – Clean Up the Water Damage

If you do discover a leak, fix it as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your home. The longer you let the source of a leak go unchecked, the greater the amount of water that will enter and cause damage to your home’s structure and components. Fixing these leaks quickly can save you a lot of money in the long run since you don’t have to replace the underlying wood or plaster as well if water damage has entered your home.

Step 3 – Find and Repair Leaks Under Siding

If you've found that your gutters are overflowing, then it’s likely that water is seeping in through a crack or hole in your siding. Find the source of the leak by moving your eyes along walls and ceilings -- water will begin to discolor the surfaces it touches. Once you've located the area, pull back any damaged siding to find whether the wood behind it is wet. If it is, use a square or flat-edged tool to pry out the wet wood.

Step 4 – Apply Roof Coating

If you can’t see any wet lumber under your siding, you also have the option of looking for leaks by climbing up onto your roof with a flashlight. Check every inch of your roof for discolored spots -- this is where the leak is taking place. Once you’ve found the discolored spot, look to see if water (not ice) has accumulated on your roof shingles.

Step 5 - Replace Siding

If you've found that the inside of your siding is wet, not just the wood behind it, then it’s time to replace the siding. First, remove any screws or nails that are holding your siding in place and set them aside for later use. Begin to carefully pull down your siding where the leak is located using a flat-edged tool. Once you've removed the old siding, clean up any small pieces of debris on your roof, and then begin to replace the new siding.

Step 6 – Repair Roof Guttering and Flashing

If your gutters are overflowing with rainwater, that means water is seeping out at a spot where two parts of the gutter meet. Look up at the seams between each section of the gutter; if you see water visibly spilling out of these seams, then it’s a sign that the gutter has come away from the shingles slightly.

The flashing protecting your home has likely separated from the siding as well. Repair this leak by clearing debris from around and behind the seam, and then apply roofing cement or mastic to the seam. Hold the gutter in place until the cement dries and hardens.

How do I find a roof leak?

If you've found a discolored area on your roof, but no water collecting underneath it, that means there’s likely a hole or crack in your roofing material. The first step to repairing this leak is to remove any debris such as leaves or sticks that are clogging up the hole in your roof. If this patch feels like it's letting water through, then add another layer of roofing material to ensure a tight seal.

Step 7 – Check Ventilation Wells and Gutters

If the leak you’re dealing with comes from one of the ventilation wells in your attic, then chances are that either a squirrel or possum has made its home there. If you spot droppings on top of your insulation, it’s likely that raccoons have moved into your roof as well. Seek professional help to remove these pests before they cause any more damage to your property and end up costing you even more money.

Step 8 – Fix the Leak Under Your Siding

If your siding is wet on the inside, then it may be because water is being pushed into your house by a faulty gutter or downspout. The easiest way to fix this leak is to slide a piece of cardboard underneath your siding and under the gutter where they meet. Tape a hose to the cardboard so that it will collect any water that's leaking out of your gutter, then make sure you cut off the water supply while you're at it. Finally, apply roof cement or mastic over the hole in your siding until dry.

How to Find Roof Leaks

Roof Leak Repair: How to Find a Roof Leak and What to Do

If you’re concerned that your roof is leaking, review these steps to quickly diagnose and repair any leaks in your roof.

Inspect the Roof First

Before climbing onto your roof to inspect for leaks, take a minute to walk around the perimeter of your house and look for signs of water damage on the outside walls. An experienced eye can spot water damage by looking for the presence of mold or mildew on the walls. If you can’t find any signs of damage, then it’s a good sign that your roof is in good condition and free from leaks.

Step 1 – Inspect Gutters and Downspouts

Next, grab a ladder and climb up onto your roof. Walk around to the front of your house and inspect every gutter for missing downspout screens and loose flashing that could allow water into your home. If you find any problems, then use a screwdriver or pry bar to tighten up these pieces before proceeding with the rest of this inspection.

Step 2 – Inspect The Flashing

After inspecting your gutters and downspouts, walk around to the side of your house. Look up at the flashing that protects the edges of your roof and siding. Inspect this area for staining or signs of peeling paint; if you find either, then it’s likely that water is leaking into your wall cavity from a defective flash. If possible, slide a piece of cardboard underneath the flashing and behind the exterior siding to see if you can detect water or moisture leaking out from inside your wall cavity.

Step 3 – Look For Buckled Shingles

leaking roof

Walk around to the opposite side of your roof and inspect every shingle in this area for signs of buckling or curling. If any of your shingles appear to be missing, then the ridge on your roof may not have been sealed correctly during installation and is leaking water into your attic.

Step 4 – Check Your Gutters for Clogs

Finally, walk around to the rear of your house and inspect all gutters and downspouts for clogs. If you find any leaves or debris, then use a broom to clean out the gutters and downspouts before moving on to the next step in your inspection process.

Step 5 – Locate The Leak

Now that you’ve completed your roof inspection, it’s time to find the source of the leak. If you found water leaks in your flashing, shingles or gutters and downspouts, then it’s likely that the roof is still under warranty and will need to be repaired by a professional. However, if you didn’t find any signs of damage during your initial inspection, then we suggest that you either walk around to the front of your house and look for stains on your walls or check out the attic space above your ceiling.

Step 6 – Repair The Leak

If you find that water is leaking into your home, then simply grab a bucket, sponge or any other absorbent material to stop the flow of water. Once you’ve stopped the leak, then follow steps one to four in this guide to completely repair any damage you found during your initial inspection.

Don't Count on Caulk!

Does Roofing Cement Really Work?

If you’ve determined that the source of your leak is coming from a defective flashing or shingle, then we suggest that you consult a professional for help with this repair. However, if you found damaged flashing, shingles or downspouts and fixed them yourself, then it’s likely that water is still leaking into your attic.

If you’ve found a leak in your attic, then it’s likely that an interior or exterior wall is leaking. To find the source of this leak, grab a flashlight and walk around to the dry side of your house where you can assess any visible damage from inside your home.

Step 1 – Look for Stains

Water Stains on the Ceiling? How to Fix Them - Bob Vila

If you find any stains on your walls, then it’s likely that either water or moisture is leaking into your wall cavity. In some cases, this moisture could be caused by a damaged gutter or downspout; in other cases, the source of the leak may come from within your wall cavities. To determine what is causing the leak, you’ll need to check your attic for moisture.

Step 2 – Check Your Attic

Checking your attic is very important if you find water or staining on an interior wall as this could be a sign of serious problems. To ensure that your attic is dry and free from any leaks, open one of your attic access doors and use a flashlight or headlamp to walk around and inspect the floor boards. If you detect any water, then it’s likely that your roof is not properly installed or there is a crack in the siding.

Step 3 – Check For Attic Moisture

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If your attic appears dry from every angle, then you should next check the sidewall insulation for signs of moisture. Grab an insulated screwdriver and start poking into every nook and cranny between each two wall studs to ensure that your roof is properly installed and free from any leaks. If you detect water or moisture, then grab a bucket, sponge or towel to soak up as much water as possible.

Step 4 – Check the Gutters and Downspouts

Just Gutters | Gutter and downspout repair

If you are unable to locate any signs of a leak or moisture in your attic, then it’s likely that the source water is coming from another exterior area on your house. To identify the source area of this leak, grab an insulated screwdriver and check the gutters and downspouts for clogs. If you find any leaves or debris, then use a broom to clean out the gutters and downspouts before moving on to the next step in your inspection process.

Step 5 – Locate The Leak

Now that you’ve completed your roof inspection, it’s time to identify the source of the water leak. If you’ve identified clogs or damage in your gutters and downspouts, then simply clean out any debris or replace damaged components before moving on to the next step in this guide. If you did not find a clog or other obvious defects during your inspection, then it’s likely that your roof is damaged and needs to be repaired. To access the roof, crawl up into your attic through the access hatch or use the ladders provided by your local hardware store.

If a shingle is leaking, then you may have to remove the entire shingle before you can make repairs. In order to remove a single shingle, grab a pry bar and start prying around the shingle's edge until it starts to loosen. If this doesn't work, use your hammer and nail to make additional holes around the shingles' edges.

Once you’ve loosened the entire shingle from its original position, then remove the nails that hold it in place. Be careful! If you already removed the shingle, then it could fall on you while working. To reduce this risk, wear a hard hat or helmet to protect yourself from falling debris.

Step 7 – Repair The Leak

How to repair a leaky asphalt shingle roof - YouTube

Once your arrive at the source of the leak, inspect the area for any obvious cracks or holes that may be causing the leak. If your find a crack or hole, then you can use some roofing cement to seal up the damaged area. Make sure to follow all instructions listed on the packaging. Apply slowly with a brush or trowel working it into cracks and holes until they are filled completely.

Step 8 – Reinstall The Shingles

Roof Repairs Cheshire, Roof Repairs Macclesfield | Macclesfield Roofing

Once you’ve applied roofing cement to the hole or crack, you should use a dab of mortar to hold it in place. Once the leak has been filled with roofing cement, then you can re-install the shingle back into position. If you don’t have any mortars lying around, then try using regular cement or grout.

Step 9 – Check The Roof For Further Issues

Now that you’ve finished repairing the leak, it’s time to check for any additional issues on your roof. Inspect all of the shingles in this area and make sure that they are properly connected to each other and secured down with nails. If you find that some shingles are not in place, then grab your hammer and nails and fix them back into the right position.

To check for any further issues on your roof, climb up onto the rafters to gain a higher perspective of the surrounding area. Now you can see hidden signs of water damage or other problems. If you identify any additional leaks, then repeat the process above until all of your leaks have been repaired.

Leaks Around Brick Chimneys

Why It is Very Common For Roofs to Leak Around Chimneys

If you’ve checked all of your gutters and downspouts, and there are no clogs or leaks, then the source water could be coming from a leak around your chimney. Leaks around brick chimneys can cause significant damage to your home if not repaired immediately. To access this area, grab a step ladder and climb up to the roof. If your local hardware store doesn't carry step ladders, then use an extension ladder instead.

Check For Additional Problems

How To Make A Home Insurance Claim For Roof Damage – Forbes Advisor

Now that you’ve checked for leaks around your chimney, it’s time to make sure that they have been fixed properly. To ensure this, stand underneath your downspout and look up to the roof for any signs of further damage. If you find anything, then use the same techniques as before to make repairs.

If there are no other problems on your roof, then take a step back and admire your handy work! You’ve just completed leaky roof repair and saved lots of money in the process!

If you are looking for a professional roofing contractor in your area, then please visit to get a free estimate on your leaky roof repair! We service:














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Jul 13, 2021

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