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Do it yourself

Do it yourself roofing diagnoses

How to stay ahead of your contractor by identifying the leak, and what is causing it before you call in a pro.

In this blog, we will give you a few key things to look for in order to help you diagnose what type of roof leak you are experiencing.

1. Age of your roof: typical issues that occur

How old is your roof? Knowing the age will give you a general idea of what could go wrong.

For example, when your roof reaches 20 years old, you may start experiencing shingles blowing off more easily, depending on the type of shingles installed. Also older roofs are more likely to show workmanship defects. These defects could cause leaks.

Typically a roof will have a life expectancy of 20+ years. But often, some of the roofing material used around penetrations, like the pipes in your roof, will deteriorate around year 6. This is because they aren’t always made with the same strength as your shingles.

Typical issues that occur on an older roof:

  • Nail pops
  • Blown off shingles
  • Shingles without adequate adhesive to stick together
  • Failing material, “flashing” around penetrations, like pipes and chimneys
  • Easy to puncture (for example: a tree branch hitting the roof)

2. Attic inspection

The easiest way to find the location of the leak is to look in the attic. Identify the general location from inside the upper living area and then look in that same general direction in the attic.

Look for wet insulation or water stains on the decking and trusses. This will typically give you the exact location. At this point, inspect the same spot from on top of the roof.

Keep in mind, in some cases, leaks are known to travel a few feet before entering into the attic space. Checking the attic first is the best industry practice for finding a leak.

3. View from the ground

While looking from the ground would be difficult to help you locate something as small as a nail popping back out of the roof or a crack in the flashing, it can still help when observing more drastic damage.

Look for missing shingles or parts of the roof that have come dislodged from their place. Your ventilation system at the ridge of the roof is a common place where roofing will become loose during high winds.

4. Corners and flashing

At every corner of your roof, chimney, skylight or any penetration, there is a chance that the flashing has been damaged or even installed wrong.

The most common mistake during installation occurs at the first piece of flashing on the corners, sides of a wall, or chimney. If the metal flashing doesn’t wrap around the corner enough, it ends up leaving a gap for water to get into.

5. Maintenance items

Here is a list of a few items that need to be maintained:

  • Caulk around the windows where it meets the brick or siding.
  • Exposed nails in the ridge vent or flashing.
  • Pipe collar and box vents that either have exposed nails or deteriorating material.
  • The sealant on the flashing metal around your chimney or brick wall.

Understand your roof

Do some research to understand what type of roof repair you will need. By understanding what repair needs to be done, you can make sure that you have hired the right person. To learn more about fair costs for roof repairs and replacements, head over to our page: Price: Is this Fair? Third Party Research

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