How To Fix A Leaking Roof

Everybody’s roof degrades over time. This can lead to everything from a minor leak to serious water damage. In order to repair a roof leak, most homeowners need to pay a roofing contractor thousands of dollars. But what if there was an easier and more affordable solution? Read on to know more about how to fix a leaking roof in easy ways.

Regular roofing checkups, and prompt leak repairs, are the prime ways to get the most out of your residential roof system. This article will teach you ways to detect a leak, find the source and repair the roof leak. Sometimes this can be done all by yourself, and other times it means needing to contact a roofing company to find and fix your roofing leak.

A roof leak is a problem because it will cause several problems and can cause severe problems. Certainly, having any water dripping through your ceiling is annoying, and at a minimum, it will leave a discoloration on your white ceiling. Left unrepaired, you may have to replace ceiling drywall, retexture the sheetrock, and prime and paint the ceiling . . . after you spend the time and money to fix the roof leak!

Other problems that often happen when you get a roof leak are carpet stains, mildew growing under wet carpets, hardwood floors buckling and warping, and furniture may be stained.

Sometimes there may be damage that is out of sight, such as ruined insulation and concealed dampness that will result in a harmful proliferation of toxic black mold and will make a more inviting area for insects. If rainwater gets into your electrical fixtures or near junction boxes, you can have shorted circuits, sparking, and damage to your home’s electrical system. Any roof leak should be repaired ASAP!

How To Detect Roof Leaks

The easy roof leak to detect is the sudden flow of water into your home. If you cannot quickly locate and stop the source of the problem, you are allowing the water to potentially cause a lot of damage.

Water leaks usually start away from where the water actually comes through the ceiling. By the time the water comes through your ceiling, the sheetrock above is usually soaked and may need to be replaced.

Hidden roof leaks need the immediate attention of a roof leak detection company that can use infrared cameras or other specialized equipment to find the leak. Some leaks start small and then grow to be a big problem.

Another sign of a roof leak is when you see large black stains on the plywood in your attic; you have a roof leak.

Roof Leak Sources

Roof leak sources are almost always found in a handful of locations and usually have more to do with poor flashing or sealing than it does with bad roof shingles. Leaks around roof vent pipes, ridge vents, skylights and aluminium flashing are common problem areas.

As your house seasonally expands and contracts, it can cause caulking or flashing to become loose or create gaps where water can penetrate your home. Weather-related damage from hail storms or strong storm winds can loosen flashing or even blow water up and under the flashing. Dry-rotted rubber boots used to seal off roof penetrations such as plumbing vent stacks can be big problems yet are fairly easy to repair.

Many roof leaks are the cause of neglect in doing routine maintenance such as replacing missing shingles, caulking open joints or keeping your gutters clean. Overflowing gutters probably can cause water to flow over into your home’s soffit, where it can then run for some distance in your home.

Sometimes a roof leak can be caused by damage from squirrels, raccoons, or other animals working on getting into your attic. If you have roof damage from animals, you will need to contact a wildlife removal company to remove the animal before you repair the roof.

And lastly, it goes without saying that a worn out roof will have many places where leaks will occur.

Choices For Roof Leak Repairs

Every situation has its own unique “best roof leak repair option” because the repair solution depends on the size of the leak as well as the type of roof you have on your home. Sometimes it’s as easy as paying someone $100 to clean out your gutters, so they don’t overflow into your soffit.

Sometimes you can simply caulk your flashing, and then other times, you will need to hire a legitimate roofing contractor that knows how to properly fix roof leaks. If you need to hire a roofing company, you should make sure that they have the proven skill to properly fix your leak and do so safely.

Finding a roofing company that knows how to work with all types of residential roofing means that you have found a truly experienced roofing contractor. It is a good idea to check for online reviews of any company before you hire them.

Your particular type of residential roofing material, and the place of the leak, will mandate the optimum approach and type of roofing products needed to repair your roof leak. There is no one-size-fits-all way to repair a roof leak. A good roofing company can let you know if your roof leak should be repaired with roof sealant, roofing mastic or tar, replacement shingles or flashing, new rubber boots at vent stacks or if you simply need a totally new roof.

How To Fix a Roof Leak – DIY

Here’s how to DIY repair a roof leak using a roof sealant. By using a spray-on rubber sealer on your roof, you can easily prevent leaks and water damage from ever affecting your home. A good roof sealer like is an easy way to save thousands of dollars on home repair costs. Remember that all of these steps can be done by somebody with absolutely no experience in home repair – it’s that easy.

Supplies needed:

  • Ladder
  • A can of good rubber spray roof sealer. Depending on the size of your roof, you may need multiple cans.

Step #1

First, you need to get up on your roof. Since the rubber sealer takes some time to dry, try not to do this on a rainy day, and check the weather forecast for any chance of precipitation. Use a ladder and climb onto the roof, bringing a can or two of rubber spray sealer with you.

Step #2

Once you’re on the roof, take a look around for the various areas that you need to tackle. Leaks will often occur around various features on your roof, like piping, chimneys, skylights and channel valleys. Essentially, think of the areas where a lot of water could build up, and focus your efforts there.

Of course, if you already have a leaky roof and know the general area from which it is coming, you can simply focus on that area. However, remember that leaks can come from all sorts of different places, and they may not necessarily be directly above the area of the actual leak in your house. For example, if a leak is coming from the ceiling above your kitchen, the actual roof leak may be on the other side of your house, and the water could be travelling through your ceiling to get to that point.

For that reason, finding a leak can seem like a difficult and frustrating task, but by per-emptively fixing trouble spots today, you can ensure that your roof remains leak-proof for as long as possible. To make this step easier, it’s important to be aware of the way water flows once it hits your roof.

Step #3

After identifying the problem spots on your roof, you will find flashing underneath. Roof flashing is a sheet of metal designed to funnel water away from your home. Over time, the seal between this flashing and the shingles around it will degrade. Gently lift up the shingles in the areas you have identified to reveal the flashing beneath.

Using your rubber spray sealer, point and spray at the area between these shingles and the flashing. This works best when you focus your efforts approximately six inches back from the edge of the shingle. Be sure to lift the shingles gently, as you want to avoid breaking them. Also, do not be afraid to liberally the spray sealer, as spraying it too thin will cause the seal to disintegrate more easily.

Step #4

Repeat step 3 with all of the problem areas of your roof, using as much spray sealer as is necessary. You may need to order several cans in order to be effective. The sealer will dry throughout the day, forming a protective barrier between your roof and the elements. After that, you’re done!

Best of all, you’ve avoided paying thousands of dollars to fix a leaking roof.

When to Call a Pro

Residential architectural styles in cities feature very steep roof pitches, which pose a safety risk of falling off of the roof. Because working at heights and on steep roofs is dangerous, you probably should go ahead and let a professional roofer handle the job of finding and fixing your residential roof leak. You will get the leak repaired, not risk personal injury, and have a guarantee in case it takes another trip onto the roof to repair the problem.

A homeowner will usually know when they have a roof leak; however, finding the source is another matter. Because time delays can mean more and more water damage, it may be a good idea to call a local roofing contractor to at least get a price to repair the roof leak.

In most major cities, there are even companies that specialize in roof leak detection. When you know what you are facing, you can then decide whether to risk fixing the roof leak yourself or do the absolute best way and hire a roofing company to fix the roof leak.

No matter how you decide to proceed, the bottom line is to repair any roof leak as quickly as possible and do so with the proper method of roof leak repair.

Mas Broto

Written by: Mas Broto

Mas Broto is a small business owner with 30 years experience in the real estate industry. He is the founder and editor of, the most comprehensive free home improvement website on the planet!