We've talked about the 3 most common sources of roof leaks here: https://www.contourroofing.com/post/3-of-the-most-commons-sources-of-leaky-roofs
But then, you noticed a small spot on your ceiling after a rain and you say to yourself, it's not too bad. Little do you know that this little insignificant spot may actually have been an ongoing leak that has finally made it's way into the interior of your home causing major damages to your home.
On several occasions, small spots go unnoticed and a leak that has been slowly making it's way into your home can cause damage to insulation, rotting the wood framing and become a breeding ground for mold.
What to look for:
First off, do not put a leak on the back burner. As previously stated, this leak could have been progressing for quite some time and now is to take action! If there is access to the attic, poke your head up there to see if there is something obvious like a hole or a branch poking through. Do not walk around too much in the attic unless the floor of the attic has solid plywood. This is a very dangerous place to be walking as you can easily lose your footing and fall straight through. Carry a very bright flashlight and shine it around to see any wet areas. Look around pipes, wall intersections, valleys, and vents. Try to determine where about the leak is coming from in relation of the room that you have found the stain or leak. If you have a good idea where about on the roof it is coming from and your roof is easily walk-able, it might be a good idea to hop up there and see if you can determine the source of the leak. Refer back to our blog topic on the 3 most common sources of roof leaks and check those items first. Also, another good item to check is your HVAC if it is located in the attic. Check that the drain pan located under the unit is not full of water from condensation and also check that the PVC drain line coming off of the unit is not detached or has condensation dripping from it. This is also another very common source of a leak that is mistaken to be a roof leak.
What to do now:
You've done everything you can to try to figure out the leak source and have been unsuccessful. Now it's time to call a professional! Leaks can be a tricky thing. Kinda like an electrical problem on a car. Sometimes it takes a little diagnosing to really find out what is causing that leak. A water test can be a sure bet when finding a leak. This takes two people and some common knowledge of roof construction. The leak can turn out to be one lonely nail. You will know this by the fact that the nail head will be rusty. So don't over look this. Once the leak is found, it is necessary to have it fixed asap. Not fixing it now will cause you major headaches and more money down the road.
The photo above is from a leak that was determined to be due to debris buildup causing water to back up under the shingles and get in through the nails. This then rotted out the plywood and some framing which all had to be replaced. The homeowner reported a small leak in the living room and little did they know, this was taking place over the course of several months to a year. The repair for this was to remove all of the damaged plywood, replace the rotten rafters, remove some of the siding, rotten wall sheathing, and wet insulation. This could have all been prevented by cleaning off the roof a few times a year. A little bit of preventative maintenance could have prevented this very costly repair.