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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

How To Find A Roof Leak

The easy way is to call me but if you want to find it yourself, here's what you can do.

Remember if the roof started leaking in a long drizzle, hard rain, long enduring rain, windy rain, or a combination of these. If it is leaking and it is not raining but you think it is a roof leak, you need to call a doctor or have your medication adjusted. We have had several people call us on sunny days, believe it or not.

Trace the leak, preferably when still wet, through the attic to the point of entry. You might find it is your air conditioner. During rain the humidity is 1000% and I've seen heavy condensation occur on the freon line resulting in water dripping, but not from the roof. Almost one entire cul de sac where we did about ten out eighteen homes had this problem.

Once you've traced the roof leak as far as you can, you need to go get your ladder. You are too old now to scale a tree or fence to jump up on the roof. In fact, you should read up on ladder safety rules because more people get hurt on the ladder than on the roof. Normally they get hurt when the ground breaks their fall. That sudden stop...

Look around for the obvious like missing shingles or backed out nails. Be careful because the decking might be rotten or weak due to the leak. Try to walk on the rafters because falling through is like the hangman's trap door opening and you don't have a noose. Your family jewels will greet a 2x6 rafter if you are lucky because if you don't you'll have the ride of your life hitting lumber, nails, insulation, ceiling joists, sheetrock, computer, table, and finally floor. You won't know how bad it is until the ambulance gets you to the hospital.

Don't smear poookie, plastic cement, all over the roof. We'll only charge you more when it cracks and splits. Plus once you get it on you it will crawl up your arm to the elbow, then jump all over you like Steve McQueen's "The Blob." Besides ruining your clothes you might get it on the carpet, or worse, your wife's dress. Know any Esquires? You might soon.

Assuming you haven't fallen through, try to determine if the leak is one of the two mentioned above or a roof penetration. If it is a penetration like a stack or chimney, you can tar it. Go ahead, you have my permission. This will hold you for a little while. Plastic cement works best when it is sandwiched between two items like shingles or metal and shingle. This will last longer just like the little bit of glue on an envelope. if the glue was on the outside of the envelope and not between the flap and the envelope, the first movement after it dried would beak the seal. inter ply sealing survives movement and you need a lot less.

The better method to repair a roof leak is to replace the shingles. This requires a better skill set than the pookie grenade tactic but knowing where the leak might be and a close survey of the roof might tell you if you think you have an insurance claim or if the roof is too old to repair. Why would you repair a roof that will only leak a lot more rather soon.

If the shingles go crunch under your foot like fresh saltines then roof replacement is in order. If they slide out from under your feet then you need to get down.

Good luck.


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