If you had 20 year shingles installed 18 years ago, repairing your roof is likely an exercise in frustration. During Vancouver’s 9 month rainy season, I do a lot of roof repairs, but I won’t repair a roof that is at the end of its life. In all likelihood your roof will be leaking again shortly, possibly 10 feet from your repair. If your roof looks badly worn or damaged, repairing it will probably cost you more in the long run; and worse, water damage means mold, and nobody wants mold. So let’s find that leak in your roof!
BEFORE YOU START – SAFETY! SAFETY! SAFETY!
There is a reason the roofing industry has one of the highest worker’s compensation fees of all: IT’S DANGEROUS! Make sure you take all necessary safety precautions before you head up to the roof. Make sure your roof isn’t damaged to the point of being unable to bare your weight; ideally you should have a safety harness, especially if your roof is high pitch. If your roof is wet, stay off! Wait for a dry day. Wear appropriate footwear, and most importantly be careful. Check out the WorkSafeBC safety information. It’s best to contact a reputable roofing company to hop up and take a look for you. (After all, Kanga roofers are great hoppers!)
TRACKING IT DOWN
It’s not always easy to find a leak in a roof, so let’s start with the basics. Often the first sign a homeowner has that his or her roof is leaking is discoloration on the ceiling. You may think the leak is likely directly above that spot but more often than not, that isn’t the case.
The first thing I would do is a visual inspection of the exterior of the roof. You may get lucky. Look for damaged or missing shingles, and have a close look at the flashing, ridge cap, valleys, gutters, etc. to find any obvious problems.
Next, I would head into the attic for a similar inspection. Grab a flashlight and have a careful look from the inside. Look for any signs of water ingress, staining, discoloration, dampness or mould. If you find a trail, do your best to follow it back to the point of entry. If you find the point of water ingress, take careful note of the spot and head back out to conduct a thorough inspection of the corresponding area on the roof. Sometimes you may find the general entry point, but you may be unable to identify the exact shingle or failed component without removal of several shingles or components. It is often best in these instances to replace a relatively small area of material to ensure you have actually solved the problem.
If you aren’t completely sure you’ve nailed it (pun intended) make sure to verify your fix the next time it rains. Alternatively, you can run a garden hose up to your roof to spray down the area. If you’ve covered all these steps and you are still unable to find the source of your leak, call a professional.
Until next time – Dan says, ” Keep Dry!”