A roof leak can be difficult to detect, but it’s liable to do damage out of all proportion with its size. It’s vital to get it fixed before water starts to rot timbers or infect your plaster with damp and mould. But how do you find a leak?
What Causes Roof Leaks?
The two main causes of roof leaks are the wear and tear caused by time and extreme weather. In practice, though, the cause is usually a combination of the two — a storm or extreme cold finishing off already eroded tiles
Any part of the roof can be damaged, and in most cases, this can lead to leaks. The most common vulnerable areas are:
- The tiles or slates
- The ridge
- The flashing
- Any roof valleys
How to Find a Roof Leak
The most obvious sign that you may have a leak is if you notice stains on your ceiling. However, some damage will have done by then, so it’s as well to be proactive about looking for damage.
It’s advisable to check your roof at least a couple of times a year, as well as straight after incidents like a storm or heavy icing. You don’t necessarily have to climb up. Using binoculars can show worn, cracked or missing tiles, cracks in brickwork or loose flashing.
If you suspect you have a leak, you can go into your loft space in the daytime, turn off all lighting and look for pinpricks of light. A more extreme method is for one person to go up on the roof and spray a hosepipe around. Another person in the loft can pinpoint where the water’s coming through.
How to Fix a Roof Leak
If the damage is slight (e.g. a single cracked tile or missing mortar), an expert DIYer with a good head for heights should be able to manage it. The minimum you’ll need is a professional-standard roof ladder or a scaffold tower, but you should also invest in tethers for yourself and your tools.
A tile can be replaced by lifting the two tiles above it on wedges, then lifting the broken tile with a trowel and replacing it, hooking the nib over the batten. Brickwork or the ridge can be repointed, while lead flashing can be either refixed or replaced.
It’s crucial that the work is done properly, though, or you could make things worse. If you’re not confident about your skills, or if the job is at all complex, give us a call and let the professionals safeguard your roof.