If you can hear dripping or have noticed a pool of water on the ceiling or other signs of damp, you most likely have a leak. Roofs are designed to keep us dry, but due to wear and tear or simply poor construction they can become prone to leaks. These may only be inconvenient at first, but can later have more substantial damage – which is why it’s could to nip them early in the bud.
Locating the leak isn’t always straightforward. Even if you manage to follow the drips from the inside of the property, the water may be getting in through another part of the exterior.
Loose tiles and broken chimney seals can be some of the biggest culprits. To locate these you’ll have to go up onto the roof yourself. In some cases, the entire roof may be in disrepair (common with flat roofs) in which case you may need to find a local roof replacement company to get the whole thing reconstructed. Storm damage could be the cause, in which case you should check out you home insurance policy to see if you’re covered.
If even after going up on the roof the damage is not obvious, it may be worth going up on the roof and taking a hose with you. This method will require you to have somebody else below in the inside of the attic (you may have to communicate via phone). Run the hose over the roof, going slowly from one end to the other. Eventually you should hit a spot that causes water to run down into the inside of the property – allowing you to locate which part of the exterior the leak is coming from and which part of the interior it is exiting through. Doing this is a time-consuming task, so take that in mind!
Occasionally, the leak may be the result of a ‘shiner’. These are stray nails that missed the beams and rafters when they were being hammered in and as a result stick down directly through the roof. These nails collect water, which freezes in the winter and then melts when it gets hot creating a leak. Trimming off this nail could be the answer to your leak.
Another source could be cracks in walls or windows frames within the attic. These can be filled out with caulk if they are small. Bigger cracks may pose a structural risk and may need professional intervention. You can usually judge this from how deep and long the crack is (if you can fit a pencil in, you’ve got a problem).
The final possible source of your leak could in fact be broken piping or a leaky boiler. Check if there are any pipes running through your attic, and if so, call a plumber. In some cases you may be able to repair the leak yourself with a bit of epoxy resin (if you know which pipe it’s coming from and whereabouts on the pipe that the leak is).
If none of these solutions seem to be the source of the leak, try and seek help from a handyman.