DIY Tips for Finding and Fixing Leaks in Your Roof

By now you must have determined that there is, beyond any shadow of a doubt, a leak in your roof. The telltale water stains on the ceiling may even be reaching down the walls. There's no denying it anymore. This is a problem that needs to be fixed. Luckily for you, most roofing problems are relatively simple to repair on your own, provided you know what to look for and how to fix it. There's no time like the present to fix problems like these, so if you've got sunny skies in the forecast this week--get up there right away and start diagnosing the problem.

Roof leaks are not only bothersome and unsightly, they can lead to mold, rotting wood, and serious structural problems in your house if left unattended. The first step toward fixing your roof like is finding the leaky area itself, and this should be done right away. If you have visible water stains on your ceiling inside the house, use these as a divining rod; they will likely point you directly to the problem area. Naturally, gravity causes water to stream downhill, so if your roof has a slope to it, look higher up.

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Some of the most likely problem areas will be those spots in which something protrudes out from.

The course of action for fixing your leak will depend on the nature of the leak itself. For a leaky seam around some structure, the usual fix is called flashing. Flashing is a metal covering that is used to seal corners in your roof, and when it is improperly installed or has been neglected for too long, it can lead to leakage. Be sure that your flashing creates a reliable seal that will keep water out. A damaged vent letting water pass through often has no easy fix.

Caulk won't do the job--you'll have to replace the entire vent. Caulk is often suitable for window leaks, but most others require a flashing fix.m the surface of the roof. Whether it's a vent, a window, a chimney, anything interrupting the flat surface should be investigated.

The seals around these structures often crumble and crack with age, letting water in. Check around the edges--look for cracks, swelling, rust, and any signs of mold. Another common culprit is the small penetration, or multiple penetrations, left in the roof surface after mounting hardware such as satellite dishes. These tiny holes, left by nails or screws, are so small that they may be hard to find, but they break the seal in your roof, allowing lots of water to seep through.

If you feel that your roof leak is beyond your scope to repair, it may be time to call the roofing contractors. They can certainly fix your leak thoroughly and quickly, but it may cost a pretty penny. It is recommended that you try your hand at identifying and fixing the leak first. It's not as difficult as you may think, and the experience can be very rewarding.