How to Repair a Leaking Roof [Full Guide]

A leaking roof is one of the most frustrating problems you can ever face in your home. If you’ve got a leaking roof, then there’s a high chance that the integrity of your house is compromised. More to that, it can be quite embarrassing when your relative comes over and finds a hole in your roof, however small it may be. The worst part is that if you don’t fix it, the leak will continue to cause damage to your roof over time. So if you’re wondering how to repair a leaking roof, you’re in the right place.

This constant water intrusion will eventually start to spread, causing expensive damage starting from the attic area to the very foundation of the house.  As a matter of fact, mold will start to grow on the damp surface in just under 48 hours. In most cases, leaks can form on your roof years before you need a roof replacement. So, instead of wondering whether or not to fix your roof, continue reading this article to answer all of your roof leak questions. The longer you wait the higher the cost is likely to be.

With that in mind, let’s get to the point… how do you repair a leaking roof? The idea might seem like something simple but there’s a lot you need to know. Keep reading on…

Signs That You Have a Leaking Roof

Leaking roofs are pretty easy to spot. But for those of us who are not able to detect it easy, here are some quick pro tips to look for when inspecting your roof. Sometimes it can be quite obvious that your roof is leaking. That’s because you will easily notice black stains on the roof or water stains or drips from the ceiling.

Other times you are likely to notice that the roof leak has a more subtle. It starts to show a very small spot that later on begins to grow in size. To give you an even clearer picture, let’s list all the signs so you know how to inspect your roof. It’s important to keep in mind that a leaking roof is not a joke and should be taken very seriously to prevent bigger problems.

1.    There are Water Stains

A water stain may resemble a large puddle on your ceiling. It’s usually a ring of brown or even black. However, in most cases, it may not look like it at all. There are some stains that are quite difficult to see especially if they are in the darker corners of your house. While others can be small stains which could indicate a bigger leak on the roof.

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Therefore, in case you ever notice discolouration on your roof even if it’s a small one, then you need to take a closer look for any moulds. Also, you can check for moisture or other signs that might signify that there is a leak. That way, you will be able to prepare in advance.

2.  You Might Spot Drips of Water

In case you see moisture on the walls, drips or moisture stains, you might still have a leaking roof. More to that, even if the leaks seems to go away, you need to get the roof checked. That’s because there is a high chance that you might have an ice dam. The ice dam is usually caused by thawing and freezing of melting ice or snow.

The thawed water moves under the shingles of your roof then it freezes again. This causes an intermittent leak. So, in case there is a leak or moisture on your roof, then you should inspect the roof. It may cause chronic moisture problems which in the end might cause permanent damage to your roof.

3.    In Case there are Spots on the Outside of Your Roof

Once in a while, always take a look at the outside roofline of your house. If by any chance there are water spots under there, then there is trouble where your roof meets the walls. Depending on the type of roof, you will be able to spot any water spots in this location. In case there are any water leaks, then there is an issue with your flashing.

4.    Mossy Walls

Is your exterior wall or roof growing a large moldy or mossy surface? If so, then there is a chance that you have a problem with your gutters or downspouts. It could be that the mold in a spot that doesn’t get any direct sunlight. Either way, the gutters and downspouts are not made with the same materials as the roof although they do form an integral part. That’s because these parts help move water away from the roof.

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When one of the gutters or downspouts is leaking, you will likely see signs of moisture on the sides or even on the exterior side of the building. That also depends on where the leakage is located. The best way to deal with such a situation is by adding gutter covers or heating. This will help repair the sagging gutters. It will also reduce your problems with any icy or clogged gutter.

5.    Missing Shingles

When you have any missing shingles on your roof or debris in your downspout, then there is a high chance that you have trouble on your roofing material. If your roof is getting patchy, then there’s a high chance that it will develop leaks sometime in the near future. More to that, there could be a small leak in the attic that you probably never noticed.

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Whenever you see such damages on your roof, it’s probably time to talk to a professional who will help you deal with such problems. Otherwise, the longer you wait the more it will likely cost you. Call an asphalt shingle repair professional for an inspection to see whether or not you need a simple repair or a new roof.

6.    Damaged Flashing

In most cases, the damage to your flashing is caused by improper installation especially if the roof is new. It can also be caused by cracking or drying in case the roof is old. However, this is a small problem that can be easily repaired instead of replacing the whole roof.

However, if you don’t take care of the damaged flashing on time, it will likely cause problems to the roofing system. In turn, you will have leaks in your home that will affect your livelihood.

7.    Problems in your Attic Ventilation

The attic is more than just a storeroom. As much as most people don’t like to admit it, the attic is what is actually holding the integrity of the house intact. So when there is a problem in the attic, it will likely affect the whole house.

In this case, when there is a problem with the ventilation system of the attic or maybe you didn’t install a ventilation system, then it will cause leaks. When there is no ventilation in the attic, it will result in trapped air accumulating in the attic. In turn, it will cause the air conditioner to work extra hard to get rid of the additional moisture. Eventually, the air conditioner can start to damage. Also, there’s a high chance that your roof shingles might also break.

8.    Roof Rot

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This is also another major sign of a leaking roof that definitely needs repair. Roof rot is usually caused by absorption of moisture on the mat. This is actually very common with organic-based shingles. In the end, it will weaken the roof. So, when the heavy rain falls on it, the drips will leak into your house. Therefore, if you spot any roof rot, then you should get the whole system checked.

9.    Curling Shingles

An important fact that you should also note is that some of these signs may appear all at once or simply just one at a time. So, when you are checking your roof, you will have to check for all the above signs. Make sure to check the entire roof thoroughly even if you spot one damage. We will discuss how to spot a leak in your roof down below so you can have a better understanding of what I’m talking about.

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That being said, curling shingles are also another sign of leaking roofs. The curls in the shingles are caused by water absorption. More to that, these curls may also be formed as a result of hot air in your attic.

When this happens, the curling shingles will not effectively protect your home from leaks during rainy seasons.

P.S. if you’re wondering whether to install a shingle roof vs metal roof, you can find more information on our blog discussing the pros and cons of each one to have a better understanding.

10. Buckling Shingles

Lastly, another major sign of leaks in your roof is buckling shingles. This problem is caused by improper application of felt. Additionally, it can also be caused by the movement of the deck of the roof. If you’re unsure of the root of the problem, have a professional roofing company conduct a thorough inspection to identify the problem.

How to Find a Leak in the Roof

If you’ve never had a leaking roof, then there’s a high chance that you don’t know how challenging it can be to find the actual source. As much as looking for the above signs might seem easy and straightforward, many times the root of the problem is much more complicated. It’s not all about looking for simple stains on the roof or walls. That’s because the water has the ability to move and travel.

On top of that, a stain on the wall could be caused by a missing shingle. It’s not always that the stain is an indication of a leak in the roof. Therefore, for you to find the leak in the ceiling as soon as possible, then you need to start thinking like water. Sounds crazy? Well, it really works. Here’s how to think like water.

Thinking Like Water

Before we get down to how to repair the leaking roof, you will need to find the leak. And for that to happen, you need to start thinking like water. So in water rules, you will need to find the path that has the least resistance. You also need to find the path that will enable you to use the force of gravity to move.

In addition, water will also destroy anything it comes into contact with. This will eventually cause the surface to rot, rust or even deteriorate. Water will take out any object in its path and use any route that doesn’t have any obstructions no matter how long it will take.

Being able to understand the amount of damage that can be done when water washes through surfaces or any type of moisture will help you a lot. It will also help you understand why the roof fails even before the material used has served its purpose. That’s actually the first step to learning how to repair leaking roof.

Identify the Water Path

Now that you’ve learned how the water behaves, it’s time to head into the attic and find the source of the leak. It’s actually simple to identify the water bath. Firsts thing first, bring your flashlight to make it easier for you to see the water. More importantly, the best time to find a leak in your roof is usually when it’s raining. However, you can also simulate rain in your home if someone else uses your garden hose to splash water onto your roof.

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Start by checking signs of wetness. You also need to know that it will take time for the wood to soak up the water and become wet. More to that, wet insulation is a clear sign of leak in your roof. But it doesn’t always indicate that there is a leak directly. For the less obvious signs, you will have to follow the water trail all the way from the rafter to see where the water is heading.

Sometimes, the leak is usually caused by a small thing like a missing shingle or a crack in the roof. This happens because of the age of the roof, maybe there is a tree branch, storm aftermath or rodents that have compromised the integrity of your roof. In that case, replacing the shingles will easily solve such problems.

In some cases, it might be difficult to find the leak in your roof. When the shingles are intact, there is a high probability that the problem is the seal around the plumbing vent or the exhaust flashing. If that doesn’t seem to the issue then you can check if there is any misplacement or look for rusty nails. One of the biggest reasons why your roof may leak is due to improper installations. That is why it is a good idea to find a professional roofing company that will do the job right.

Causes of Leaks in Your Roof

There are several types of roofs. All of these types of roof show different signs and also have different causes of leaks. All in all, here are the most common causes of roof leaks:

1.    Attic Vent Leaks

The attic vent is a vital piece in your roofing system. That’s because it helps the air circulate through the underside of your roof. That way it helps prevent excessive moisture build-up that can cause wood rot and in the end cause roof deterioration.

However, even though the attic is able to reduce the accumulation of moisture, it’s no match for a heavy pouring storm. That said, the excess water will make its way to the vents in your home. The vents will eventually get damaged or even wear down. So you need to be keen on what is happening to your roof. All it takes is one tiny drizzle and your roof will start leaking.

2.    Chimney Leaks

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The leaks in your chimney are the most difficult to spot. That’s because the leaks happen inside your chimney. If you want to spot a leak in your chimney, then you need to check for leaks outside the chimney. More to that, chimney leaks usually develop when the sealant surrounding it is not installed properly.

3.    Leaks in the Roof Valley

The roof valley carries a lot of water. These structures are constructed in such a way that they don’t damage when handling excess amounts of water. And in the north, these roof valleys are constructed so that they are able to hold up snow.

Unfortunately, damage may occur on these structures. One of the major reasons for damage in this space is poor construction. When such instances occur, the roof will eventually cave which results in leaks. Another reason for damage on the roof valley is when you let debris pile up in these structures. That is why it is important to clean up the roof valley every now and then to prevent potential leaks.

4.    Missing or Damaged Shingles

During that stormy weather, shingles can fly off your roof or get damaged in the process. In turn, this will lead to severe issues, in this case, leaking water. The damaged or the missing shingle will offer a way for the water.

But you should also remember that your shingles don’t have to be completely damaged to start leaking. Even a small crack will invite a leak. Unfortunately, these smaller damages are almost impossible to notice. Therefore, it’s important to have a professional team of experts who will be able to deal with such instances.

5.    Clogged Gutters

When the gutters are clogged, it can result in a myriad of problems. The worst-case scenario is when your clogged gutters lead to leaks in your roof. These gutters are designed to take the water from your roof all the way to the ground or reservoir. This typically protects your roof from any structural damage due to moisture. Unfortunately, these gutters can clog up sometimes.

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When this happens, it results in the debris and water leaching inside the gutters. In the end, the water will find its way into your house.

6.    Skylight Leaks

Skylights are features that are constructed on the roof which helps to let light into the house. More importantly, this section is usually sealed to let in only light and block out all environmental hazards.

As much as skylights will help save a lot of energy, they also pose a danger of leaks in the roof. This is usually through the accumulation of moisture on the skylight which gets even worse if the frame wasn’t installed properly. Eventually, water will leak into your house.

7.    Ice Dam Leaks

Ice dams are basically snow or ice that’s accumulated at the lower edge of your roof. It can cause moisture build-up in your roof and eventually lead to leaks. If you’re experiencing this issue with your roof, check out this link on how to deal with and prevent ice dam leaks.

8.    Loose Nails on the Roof

When the roof is not installed properly, the nails can get loose. Another reason for loose nails your roofs is a heavy storm or age. All in all, these loose nails will expose the shingles below. And hence, when it rains, water will find its way into your house.

9.    Leaks in Dormer Roofs

When you have a dormer roof, it will result in multiple roof problems. This will include rotting, trim, and even damaged siding. Each of these damages will cause water to enter into the dormer. Now, let’s get to the reason you’ve come here:

How to Repair A Leaking Roof

For starters, I’m sure you are probably wondering how long it takes to repair leaking roof. Well, that will mainly depend on the person doing the job. If the person is less experienced, then there’s a high chance that he or she will complete the task in a very short amount of time.

However, when it comes to a professional, he or she will take a bit longer to get the job done. When the job is done by a less experienced individual, they (Or even you) risk missing some of what you really need to repair. The result; the leak in the roof will likely appear again and the second time it might be more severe.

When a professional takes care of it, he or she will assess the condition of the entire roof and house. That will include both the interior of the house and exterior. They will do this before starting on the job.

If you are using the DIY approach or a less experienced handyman, then they will likely only concentrate on what is broken. This will save them a tremendous amount of time and expense. It actually gets the job done in a matter of minutes. But be sure that there’s a high chance they missed a lot in the aim of rushing through the task.

So, a low expense cost for repairs may sound lucrative but it could be a sort of trap in its own way. Again, you are wagering on the basic idea that a quick fix with low costs will get the job done appropriately. In reality, a few weeks or months down the line, the repair for the leak might be more costly than you initially thought.

How to Fix the Leaking Roof on Your Own

Sometimes the shingles on the roof are simply loose or curling. Or even perhaps pieces of the shingles on the roofs have cracks. On the other hand, there is a chance that maybe the shingles are missing patches on the roof. All the above problems are minor repair jobs.

As much as fixing these types of repairs on your own is the best idea at the moment, it could be a sign of an underlying problem. That is why it’s better to let a professional handle it for you.

Even a simple sealant fix is something that is easy to notice for you so I’m sure you don’t see anything challenging about applying the sealant. Assuming that the roof doesn’t have a steep slope, then I bet you are thinking about dealing with the situation on your own. I mean, it only makes perfect sense to go and do it yourself when you can actually spot the problem.

It will probably cost the same as hiring someone else to handle this tiny problem for you, right? Well, not necessarily… We can’t emphasize enough that there is a chance you might improperly ‘repair’ the roof. I know you’ve instantly changed your attitude. Well, I’m sorry but that’s actually the truth. If you do it on your own, then you are leaving some room for error. Unprofessional roofing installations are very common and can lead to major problems.

You may actually be good with most of your DIY problems at home. But if it so happens that the patch you just fixed was a sign for a much bigger problem, then you might be causing more harm than good. For the untrained eye, you will not be able to notice such problems easily and in the end, it will be more costly. This is quite a significant gamble.

You are actually betting that you will be able to fix the problem as you see it. In reality, there is a chance that you are covering up the real problem which continues to grow even after you DIY the patch. At least, consider getting your roof inspected before or even after the DIY.

Why Should I Go for a Professional Roofing Company to Repair My Leaking Roof?

When it comes to how to repair a leaking roof, you need to be careful when you are picking your options. More importantly, a professional roofing company in Los Angeles will provide a warranty should anything go wrong a few months later. Do you think you will get the same assurance from a handyman doing the work only for an extra buck?

A professional roofing company will present itself as a professional contractor. Not only through their experience and skill, but also through being licensed, bonded, and insured. Obviously, when learning how to repair a leaking roof on your own, you will not get such assurance. In case anything goes wrong, then you will probably suffer more losses than you would if you let the professionals handle the repairs.

Sure, this kind of services will come at a premium but in reality, it’s not a high price to pay. Take a minute and think about it. When you hire a professional there is no way he or she will make mistakes. And in case of anything, you have the warranty.

On the other hand, after you’ve learned how to repair a leaking roof, you can choose to do it yourself or simply pay a handyman. When you do this, then you are likely to miss the important parts of the repair. Therefore, the process will likely end up costing more than you imagined.

What to Look for When Looking for a Professional Roofing Company?

  • Experience: This goes without any question. The company needs to have enough experience in the field. There’s a lot that you learn through practice. You will also want to know the roofing company can actually do what they advertise.
  • Service Area: The next step is to find out where the company operates. This will help you quickly access the history of the roofing company and the team will be able to reach your location in a matter of minutes.
  • Testimonials:  If they are a well-established company, the roofing company will probably show all the testimonies of their previous buyers. Before you trust a roofing company with your money, check out the experiences of their previous clients.
  • License, insurance and warranty: This is definitely a must for any professional roofing company. If they are licensed, then you can trust that they will do a better job.

Forget about Putting the Cost First

As you can see, even if you learn how to repair a leaking roof on your own, it doesn’t mean that you will actually do a better job. Instead, you might be making the problem even worse. That is why you should stop considering the cost over everything.

The cost of repairing your roof always has a way to bite you back. If you avoid it now, then the problem will likely build-up and it will cost even more than before. The aim of this article is actually to let you know that time is not on your side especially when it comes to repairing a leaking roof. So, what should you do if your roof is leaking? Well, the answer is pretty simple:

Choose Energy Roofing Company

Energy Roofing is a roofing company that operates in Los Angeles, Inglewood, Chatsworth, Woodland Hills and other surrounding LA county region areas. We offer free inspections and estimates to our clients and will answer any roofing questions you might have. More importantly, we’ve been in business for 10 years which shows off our expertise in this field. Each member of our team is fully committed to providing you with stellar services. In addition, we’re licensed with a C-39 Roofing Contractor License to ensure our professionalism.

If you’re still debating on how you’re going to repair your leaking roof and decide to do it on your own, we recommend you let a professional check it afterwards. It’s critical to double check your work to make sure you won’t encounter any future costly problems.

We know how important your roof is to you and your family. With that in mind, we will take better care of your roof and bring it back to a healthy state. Let a professional handle all your roofing repairs and you won’t regret it.

2 thoughts on “How to Repair a Leaking Roof [Full Guide]”

    1. Hi Fatimah,
      The expense of a complete repair varies for each property. We would need to inspect the roof before giving an estimate. Give us a call if you’d like a free inspection for your roof or have any other questions.

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