Protect your possessions by placing anything you can move into buckets or tarps. You may also need to cover furniture or other items that cannot be moved from the area of the leak to limit water damage and stains.
If you have attic access, try to locate the source of the leak. Look for areas where water is collecting and check the flashing around vents, dormers and chimneys.
Signs of a Roof Leak
If you have water spots on your ceiling or walls, there’s a good chance it’s coming from the roof. This could be a sign of mold and early rot development that’s only going to get worse over time if not addressed. If the stains are accompanied by a musty odor, that’s even more cause for concern.
Once you have some of the water damage stemmed, it’s time to find the source of the leak. If you have access to the attic, start by checking for obvious problems such as missing or overly brittle shingles, poorly sealed or corroded flashing around chimneys, skylights and vents or along the intersection of different planes.
If you don’t have attic access, enlist the help of someone with a ladder and some experience climbing. Have them run a hose on the roof, starting low and moving up a bit each time, to isolate the area where the water is showing up inside the house.
Water Spots on Your Walls
If you notice water stains on the walls, it’s time to investigate a possible roof leak . This is a major problem and will need to be addressed immediately. You may need to lay down drop cloths or rubbish bags to protect carpets and floors from water damage. You should also make sure to clear out the attic and remove any items stored there.
If you have attic access, enlist a helper and start searching the roof for evidence of a leak. Begin by looking for any penetrations into the roof such as chimneys, vents and dormers. Once you find a suspected area, run a hose over it. Move the hose uphill and retest until you find the source of the leak. If you can’t find the source, sanitize the area with a bleach solution. This will prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Afterward, the drywall in the affected area will need to be repaired.
Mold on Your Exterior Walls
If mold grows on your exterior walls, it’s a sure sign that there’s a roof leak repair. Mold in your walls indicates a lot of moisture, which is bad for the drywall, insulation and wood framing, and also leads to rot. Mold inside the walls can be dangerous to your health, and if you’re planning to sell your house, a major deterrent to prospective buyers.
It’s a good idea to have any mold growth professionally remediated. However, before you do that, it’s best to test the growth to make sure you’re dealing with mold and not something else like lichen, moss or algae. You can use an at-home mold testing kit to get a better idea of what you’re dealing with. If it turns out to be mold, you’ll want to encapsulate the mold using a fungicidal paint. Then, you’ll need to rebuild the area with new drywall and insulation, if necessary.
A leaking roof can cause extensive water damage, so it’s important to take preventative steps until the leak is fixed. Move any furniture, electronics, or other items that could get wet to a safe place. Soak up as much water as you can with towels or a mop. Document any damage with photos, which will help if you file an insurance claim for the repair costs.
If you have attic access, use a flashlight to look for the source of the leak in the ceiling and walls. Start at the base of a stain and trace it upwards, looking for loose or missing shingles, damaged flashing around chimneys or vents, or areas where different planes meet. Water can also enter through a gap in the dormer or wall, so look for evidence of this on the exterior as well. If your floor is wet, put down drop cloths or garbage bags to protect surfaces from water and the dust created when removing damaged drywall.