Roof Leak Diagnosis and Repair Tips

Are you having issues with on-going roof leaks that cannot be identified?

When it comes to diagnosing and repairing your roof, do you get multiple opinions as to the source of your roof leak?

If the source of the leak is proving difficult to locate, there are several methods for finding these pesky leaks. Water testing may be necessary or non-destructive moisture scans can also be used to identify sources of intrusion locations and trapped moisture.

Roof Leak Diagnosis and Repair Tips

It is also possible that the roof itself is not the source of the leak. I’ve seen many times where the roof wasn’t the issue and the source of the leak could be related to cladding, glazing, and wall penetrations etc.

Roof leak diagnosis is an upfront added expense sure, but what you should consider is the outcome of on-going leaking activity. Roof leaks that are not addressed can lead to mold issues and deck deterioration.

Look at is this way, what expenses are you incurring to have multiple trips by the same crew or company to perform visual inspections and repairs to suspected leak sources? Upset tenants and customers along with further damage to the roof system, substrates, mechanical, electrical, and interior finishes are several issues related to on-going leaks.

3 Important Things to Consider When Diagnosing and Repairing Roof Leaks

#1 – Once an emergency temporary roof repair is performed, identify why the roof failed at this location.

There are several reasons the roof may have failed. Typically roofs fail at detail locations as a result of lack of proper maintenance. These items are typically easily identifiable and repaired.

Was there a design flaw not addressed during the installation of the existing roof assembly resulting in the roof leak?

Is there ponding water as a result of improper design to allow for positive drainage? Incorporating additional drainage points or slopes to drains may be necessary.

Is structural movement occurring at wall flashings or at deck changes? Expansion joints may need to be incorporated to avoid continual repairs.

Ponding water on roof system
Ponding water on roof system

#2 – What is the best course of action to take when repairing my roof?

There are several items to address when considering the best course of action. Are the questions being asked? Get a few opinions and go with what makes the most economical sense.

Here is a list of items that should be considered and evaluated to repair the roof in the most economical manner:

Is there currently a warranty in place on the roof? Before you do anything identify whether or not your roof is currently covered under warranty. Your roof warranty may cover the repair.

Is the result of the leak covered under my roof warranty? Contact your roofing manufacturer who issued your warranty and ask if your roof needs to be checked by an authorized applicator. Many roofing manufacturers require that only their authorized applicators can make warranty repairs. Using an unauthorized contractor could put your roof warranty in jeopardy.

What is the remaining expected useful life of my roof? Your roof life will typically match your warranty length and with preventative maintenance even last past that. However should your roof be past its use life you may want to reconsider having too many expensive repairs completed if replacing the soon roof is inevitable.

What is the estimated cost to properly repair? Sometimes your roof can be repaired and brought back up to a maintainable level. Preventative maintenance could prove to be less expensive than waiting for issues to occur that may cause more damage in the long run.

Has the roof leak caused any other damage that should be addressed? Now is the time to ensure that your roof doesn’t have any other issues caused by the roof leak such as wet insulation. If the leak has permeated your insulation it can severely affect your r-value. Consider having the insulation replaced in any areas where it has become saturated by moisture. Leaving wet materials can lead to repair failure and further damage to insulation and decking substrates. Reduction in R-values and increased energy costs are some of the issues with leaving wet materials in-place.

Is the roof system past its use life and are repairs just a stop-gap at this point before roof replacement? Again it could cost you less in the long run to have the roof replaced if it is past its useful and maintainable life.

roof replacement
Putting off a roof replacement too long could increase your replacement cost

If your roof is generally still in good shape, proper permanent repairs are important to get the most out of your investment. If your roof is shot and needs to be replaced, too much money spent on repairs can just become a waste at that point. Make sure your contractor can tell you how many years your roof has left before you start throwing good money after bad.

#3 – Preventative Maintenance

Whether your roof leak results in a simple repair to the membrane due to lack of maintenance or if the time has come to have a new roof installed, we can’t say this enough…


It’s possible the issues you are experiencing now could have been prevented through regular roof inspections and maintenance.

Regular Roof Inspections
The number one cause of premature roof failure is the lack of regular roof maintenance

The number one cause of premature roof failure is the lack of regular roof maintenance. Roofing industry experts say that a building owner who budgets only 5 cents per square foot per year can avoid losing three times that much per square foot each year. Your roof should be checked at least twice a year.

Stop paying for extensive roof repairs that could have been caught by regular maintenance.

Contact us today to schedule your preventative roof maintenance visit!

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