What does a roof leak look like?

woman collecting water in a bucket under a leaking roof

Dealing With a Leaking Roof

With the Texas weather, you need to be ready for anything at any time, including roof leak repair. Maybe it’s a small drip or maybe there is a sudden downpour of rain coming into the living room. Whatever the case may be, the first thing you need to do is know how to find a roof leak. You may be wondering why do you need to “find” it if the water is coming through, right?

Taking Care of a Leak

Most of the time, the roof leak repair isn’t needed where you see the water coming through. It usually comes from a different area and runs downhill, where you see the leak in the living room. To find a roof leak, take the following steps: 

  • In the attic: With a flashlight, climb in the attic and examine the decking, (the underside of the roof), and check for dark areas on the decking. If it is raining, this won’t be hard to find, but if it hasn’t rained recently, you may find mold before the dark and moist spots. 
  • Follow the damage: If there is insulation on the underside, you’ll find the leak easier because you’ll notice wet insulation. Remove all the wet insulation you find, and this will leak you up and over to where the actual roof leak repair is needed. 
  • Inspect the underside: If you’re not finding obvious roof leak repairs needed, check other areas like around the chimney and vents, the roof gables, and ridge for indication of leaking. 
  • The leak roof repair: Immediate roof leak repairs need to be addressed promptly. By postponing them, they’ll get worse and cause more damage. When it comes to how to fix a roof leak, sometimes, replacing a shingle or two is all that is needed and a homeowner with basic DIY skills can do this type of repair. Anything more, you should call a professional roofing contractor. 

Why does my roof leak when it rains?

 Keep an eye out for these possible causes of roof leaks: 

  • The Plumbing. Yes, plumbing can create the need for roof leak repairs. Plumbing can include the exhaust vent pipes and the flashing around the vent. 
  • The Chimney. If your home has a chimney, it can be the reason you need roof leak repairs!  Without a chimney cap, the rain comes straight in the chimney when it is coming in at the right angle. Rain will come in around where flashing is loose or missing too. Where the shingles are loose or missing, the shingles may need replacing too. 
  • The Skylights. Skylights are another component that can cause your need for roof leak repairs if they are damaged or were improperly installed. The flashing around skylights is important too, a professional roof inspection is recommended to determine if the problem is from a roof leak or condensation.
  • Degrading shingles. Eventually, all roofing shingles will become aged and begin to dry out, unable to do the job intended. A roof leak repair may be as simple as replacing a few shingles, or you may need a full roof replacement. 
  • Condensation. An attic that isn’t ventilated properly will absorb moisture from the hot air collected. This creates condensation that collects on any pipes in the attic and that condensation drips down through the ceiling. 

Will a roof leak with missing shingles?

Yes, if the shingles are improperly installed, have aged, and dried out, or shingles are bent, broken, cracked, loose, or missing, a roof leak repair or replacement is needed. 

Will a roof leak cause mold?

Absolutely! There are two kinds of mold that a roof leak can cause: 

  • Systemic Mold Growth: This occurs when a roof leak causes an adequate amount of moisture that builds up in the attic and the mold grows throughout the whole area.  This happens when the moisture builds up indirectly, only a small area is affected but the dampness causes condensation.
  • Limited Mold Growth: This occurs when there is sufficient ventilation in the attic to expel the additional moisture that is caused by a roof leak.  In these cases, only the surrounding area of the leak will need mold remediation. 

Can a roof leak cause a fire?

Yes, especially in older homes.  If a roof leak repair isn’t done quickly, it can be a hazard where there is wiring near the leak. Water and electricity are not a good pair, and this can cause a spark then a fire can quickly follow. 

close-up of a water-damaged ceiling

In Closing – The Common Question

Will insurance fix a leaking roof? Yes, if the cause of the leak is within the policy as an acceptable cause. A roof leak repair or replacement is needed because of fire, high winds, hailstones, or a tree falling on the roof. 

If the roof is beyond 10 years, the amount the insurance pays will be based on the depreciation of value. If the insurance adjust declares the roof has been neglected, your roof insurance claim could be declined.