Finding roof leaks is the hardest part of fixing them. The reason is that once water finds its way into the structure, it can travel a long way before it starts showing obvious signs on your ceiling or walls.
All roofs have a pitch to them…even flat roofs; however, their slope is very slight. The reason is so that water can drain off, so the pitch redirects the moisture off and away so it doesn’t begin to pool and cause other issues.
The way water drains off of your flat roof is different for a traditional pitched roof but either way, the slope is what causes water to travel on the outside as well as the inside. Here’s some info on identifying the true location of a leak:
If you have an attic, the easiest way to spot the leak is to up there on a rainy day. Water will reflect light, so bring a flashlight along. Once you locate the source of the water, mark the area. On a nice day, have a helper tap on the mark while you’re on the roof. After you pinpoint the location on the exterior of the roof, apply roofing cement or new shingles as needed.
Read more: How to Find a Leak in a Roof
Some homes don’t have an attic, so you need to look for spots on the roof that the water could be entering your home. Vent pipes, chimneys, and air vents are some places that can be suspect, and a skylight can also be a problem area.
Any place where the roof decking had to be cut out during construction is a potential issue if the seal has gone bad. Missing shingles, ridge caps, and dormer valleys are other places to inspect.
Simulating A Downpour
As opposed to waiting for a rainy day, another option is to try and replicate a downpour by using a garden hose and spraying water in the vicinity of the suspected leak. This video shows how that is done:
Through a process of elimination, they were able to find the source of the problem. As you can see, it wasn’t an obvious location. They started at the lowest possible level of penetration and moved upward.
Another important point with this method is to not rush through where you are spraying the water. Let it run for at least 10 minutes on each area they targeted, which gives the water time to find its way into the leak.
This is because the leak may be quite small and it takes a while for the water to begin dripping. Also, it could be a really hard downpour that is allowing water in so you may have to reproduce that type of situation by directing a really hard stream of water to cause the drip.
The national average for roof leak repair is $650, and finding the source of the leak is a big part of the expense. With the crazy weather we have in Colorado, one day sunny and the next a blizzard, it can be tricky to investigate and discover the problem.
This post offers more details on this topic:
Extent of damage
If your roof is too badly damaged, it may be useless to try to spot-repair the leaks and other issues. To ensure the structural safety of your home and prevent the need for additional repairs, it can be simpler to just replace the entire roof. The replacement of the roof costs an average of $6000.
A roofing contractor will usually charge around $3 per square foot for a leak repair project, or $45-$75 per hour. A roof repair usually takes one to two days (8-16 labor hours – $360-$1200) to complete.
Material costs are sometimes included in the package quote you receive from your roofer, but they can be charged separately as well. To repair a 10’x10′ area, average material costs are as follows:
It’s always best to consider routine roof inspections to allow a professional to manage the job. There are safety issues that an experienced inspector would be prepared for. Call a Denver roofing contractor to learn more about how to manage your important asset.