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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.

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 leaks that are not addressed can lead to mold issues and deck deterioration.

Active roof leak.

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.

Are you currently having issues solving a roof leak?
Contact Jurin Roofing Services, the roof leak experts!

Contact us today!
Contact us today!

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.
Moisture saturated roof insulation.

Leaving wet materials can lead to repair failure and further damage to insulation and decking substrates.

  • 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.

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…

MAINTENANCE, MAINTENANCE, MAINTENANCE!!!!

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

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.

Contact Jurin Roofing today!

Stop paying for extensive roof repairs that could have been caught by regular maintenance. Contact us today to schedule your preventative roof maintenance visit!

Founded in 1974, Jurin Roofing Services, Inc. is known for top quality roofing throughout the east coast. Jurin Roofing Services is a full-service commercial roofing contractor offering roof maintenance, roof and leak repair, and roof replacements. Jurin Roofing Services also offers professional roof services such as roof inspections and infrared roof moisture scans. Jurin Roofing is also a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) and is a Carlisle SynTec Hall of Fame and ESP (Excellence in Singly Ply) contractor.
Contact Jurin Roofing today!

About the Author:

Dan Bonebrake
With 14 years experience in the roofing industry, Dan is responsible for Jurin Roofing Florida’s estimating and project management. He oversees all roofing projects from inception to completion. Dan aims to provide results and exceed expectations, continually striving to do the best and welcoming new challenges.

52 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Mia Boyd May 11, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for the information. My roof has been leaking quite a bit lately; it seems like there are pools of water all over my home. I’m going to follow your tip about hiring a professional to ensure that it gets fixed. Do you have any other special tips for me?

    • Avatar
      Laura May 11, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      We would definitely suggest you hire a professional roofer to come out an assess your issues. It sounds like you have massive roof leaks at the moment and you should find the issue before it does serious damage. That much water could even be a broken water pipe or some other issue separate from your roof. Make sure you check that the roofing contractor has been in business for awhile, is fully insured and fully licensed. If you need help finding a good roofing contractor in your area we suggest you use the National Roofing Contractors Association contractor find – http://www.nrca.net/RoofingContractors/Find. Good luck! Let us know how you make out!

  2. Avatar
    Deanna R. Jones May 12, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    These seem like great tips to help people know what to do in case of roof repairs. I recently found out that there are at least three leaks in my roof that need to be fixed. It’s helpful to know what to expect when evaluating my current warranty. Looking into the remaining expected useful life of my roof to see how it matches my warranty length is a very good point. I should look into that in case my current warranty can help me save some money on repairing the leaks in my roof.

  3. Avatar
    Will Fawkes June 15, 2015 at 1:47 pm

    This is solid advice. Your third point seems especially important, as you want to take care of your roof. This may mean repairing your roof as necessary, and sometimes it means that you need a roof replacement before things get worse. Regardless, taking care of your roof can save money and difficulty in the long run. What specific maintenance do you personally suggest?

    • Avatar
      Laura September 24, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Hi Will! It depends on what sort of system you have. Is it a sloped shingle roof or a flat rubber roof?

  4. Avatar
    Jamarcus Dantley June 16, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I had no idea that roof leaks could be so problematic. I really don’t want to get any mold! There has been an infrequent leak that I’ve noticed, but I didn’t think much of it. I’ll be sure to follow your tips about diagnosing it and getting it fixed before it’s a bigger problem.

  5. Avatar
    sean June 16, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    I like your suggestion to identify why the roof failed at the location that it did. Your suggestions about what to look for to find the reason for failure are also very helpful. I think, especially with flat roofs, ponding water is fairly common. This is definitely something to look out for.

  6. Avatar
    Delores Lyon June 19, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Thanks for sharing this roof leak repair and diagnosis guide. It is really nice that you are considering every single part of a roof’s structure when making this diagnosis guide. Since the roof is such a complicated thing, you need to be sure that you don’t make a mistake when deciding what the problem is. I definitely agree with your point that it is important to let a professional inspect the problem as well, and make sure that you will make the right repairs.

  7. Avatar
    Serge Duval June 19, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    As mentioned, this is one of those maintenance things that can seem hard to accept because of the expense, but can end up saving you a lot of money in the long run. It’s true that some of these expenses may be covered by insurance or a warranty. You should always check this before settling to pay for something. Water that sits for an extended period of time can cause a lot of damage, especially if you are unaware of the issue until it becomes very severe. Thanks for the advice!

  8. Avatar
    Lily de Grey June 23, 2015 at 11:43 am

    Hey, Dan! I appreciate you sharing this article with us! I’ve lost a few shingles on my roof, and, as a result, my roof has begun to leak. I’m not sure if I’ll have to replace it, but I’d like to avoid unnecessary costs. Next time, I’ll be sure to follow your suggestion to maintain my roof; it would have saved me a lot of money!

  9. Avatar
    Susan Hirst June 23, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    Thank you very much for this information on finding roof leaks. For the life of me, I can’t seem to identify the source of the leak in my roof. Your advice on how to go about repairing my roof was very helpful. I like what you said about asking yourself whether or not the roof leak caused any other damage that should be addressed? I’ll be sure to remember that.

  10. Avatar
    Sara Killinger June 25, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    I completely agree that maintenance is an important part of keeping your roof effective. My carport hasn’t had it’s shingles replaced since I purchased my home and has been leaking profusely. I’ve been having trouble locating the source of the leak. What is the best way to determine where my leak is so I can repair it?

  11. Avatar
    Lilly Sedrick June 26, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    I have never really though of using water testing to find a leak in your roof before. However, it can be really hard to find little leaks in your roof at times. There is definitely nothing worse than having a leak in your roof. This is one thing that can cause a lot of damage and can even welcome mold into your home. That is why it is so important for you to try to locate leaks as fast as possible.

  12. Avatar
    Walter Kowalski June 26, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    I appreciate these repair tips. My roof is leaking, but I’m having trouble identifying the exact source of the leaks. What you said about how to go about identifying why the roof failed in a specific location was very helpful. I’ll be sure to remember it.

  13. Avatar
    Fred Summers July 1, 2015 at 1:13 pm

    Thanks for the information on the importance of fixing leaks. Mold is a big danger so I know that this is important. I think that prevention is very important. I like how you point out some things I can look at before getting a roofer.

  14. Avatar
    Rachelle Reeves July 7, 2015 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for the tips! My dad was trying to fix our roof last year. He bought all the supplies and set them outside in our back yard. It rained before he could do the roof, and all the supplies got wet. He decided to get new supplies just to be safe, because he didn’t want to cause more damage.

  15. Avatar
    Irena Ryans July 8, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for the information. I’ve been thinking that my roof needs to be replaced. As a matter of fact, it’s leaking in a few different places. Anyway, I’m going to follow your tip about checking it to see exactly where it’s leaking so that I can pass that information onto the replacement team. I just don’t want to end up like the man in your picture!

  16. Avatar
    Fitz July 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Hello, and thank you very much for this article on how to repair roofs and leaks. There are many reasons why it’s important to stay on top of your roof repair work. I think it’s good to seek the help and advice of professionals when taking on a project such as roof repair or replacement.

  17. Avatar
    Charlotte Eddington July 14, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Your comment about roof leaking lead to more damage is so true. Our roof was leaking and it later led to more damage. It ruined the walls and we had to replace the carpet. Once you notice any leak, make sure you contact a roof repair company immediately.

  18. Avatar
    Eli July 16, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Thank you so much for explaining how to find and fix these kinds of roof leaks. I’m afraid that too many people try to treat the ‘symptoms’ of a roof leak without fixing the source of the problem. As you said, roof leaks can lead to mold and water damage, which is much more serious than a puddle of water gathering in your house.

  19. Avatar
    Drew Harrison July 17, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Thanks for the help with posting this process. I never know where to check so I find myself wasting a lot of time. I’ve got a few more walls to check since they are just covered in water now. Great post!

  20. Avatar
    Gaston Parizeau July 17, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    As the article explains, though it may cost more than you’d like to pay to diagnose a roof leak, it may very well save you much more in the long run. Once mold starts to appear, repair and maintenance costs increase drastically. It is important not to waste any time in finding and fixing the problem after a leak is noticed.

    • Avatar
      Paige Smith August 14, 2015 at 10:44 am

      I agree with that. It may be a lot more expensive, to diagnose the leak. Also, if it is not a huge issue prying at you, it is easier to forget it. In the long run though, it could save you so much time and energy.

  21. Avatar
    Jessy Shaw July 20, 2015 at 12:25 pm

    My husband and I just moved to Port Charlotte, FL and we discovered some lovely leaks in our roof after the last storm. We had buckets everywhere. We knew that this house was a fixer-upper but I didn’t think that it was that extensive. We are looking for a roofing contractor to come and help us with the repairs. Thanks for these tips!

  22. Avatar
    Rachelle Reeves July 27, 2015 at 11:08 am

    I’m looking to buy a new home, but it has had problems with the roof leaking in the past. The owners said they fixed it and that it has been taken care of. Should I have an inspector make sure that there is no water damage?

    • Avatar
      Laura September 24, 2015 at 9:32 am

      Hi Rachelle! Yes ALWAYS have a home inspected before you buy!

  23. Avatar
    Virginia Davis July 27, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    Thanks for the information. I’m not sure if I have a leak in my roof, but I noticed something weird going on with the ceiling in my home. I will be sure to get it checked out by a roofing professional, though. Like you said, it is better to maintain the roof and prevent serious issues, instead of having to deal with the costs of repair.

  24. Avatar
    Paige Smith August 7, 2015 at 10:46 am

    It is interesting to learn a little bit about how to fix a leaking roof. For me, I have noticed that a leaking roof is a huge problem, but can be temporarily be fixed by putting a plastic protective covering on the top of it. This article really helps me understand other ways to fix leaking roofs.

  25. Avatar
    Ted Smith August 10, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Thank you so much for the information about what time is best to replace or repair my roof. I love the tip to do it in the off season months. It will be much cheaper then. Plus, the roofers will be able to spend a lot of their time on your roof so that it is perfect when they are finished. However, if the roof is badly damaged or something like that, then it is best to get it fixed or replaced right away.

  26. Avatar
    Stephie Smith August 14, 2015 at 10:07 am

    This is great advice. My husband and I bought our own house a few months ago, and want to be handy when it comes to issues that need fixing. This is good timing, because we might need some roofing repairs done.

  27. Avatar
    Casey Jones August 17, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Thanks for all the information on possible causes of leaks in your roofing. Hopefully I can get what it causing mine figured out! Maybe I will have a contractor come take a look at it.

  28. Avatar
    June Robinson August 21, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    At times it can be difficult to know the problems behind leaking, and what to with them when they are there. I appreciate that this article gives direct and specific things to do to help with the issue. I know that when I have had leaking problems in the past they have lingered for a long time, but hopefully with this advice that won’t happen again! Thanks for the information.

  29. Avatar
    Bill Barnett September 16, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    We have had a lot of problems lately with our roof. We didn’t really know how to take care of the problems so we needed help. Luckily my uncle is a professional roofer so he solved our problems for us! And like you mentioned, he helped us understand the different warranties and pricing related to roof repairs.

  30. Avatar
    Alex Lane September 21, 2015 at 10:38 am

    Thank you for sharing this advice. I am going to need to get my roof re-done in the near future. I wasn’t aware that warranty repairs may have restrictions. I will have to see if that is the case for mine. I believe I am still under warranty. Thanks again.

  31. Avatar
    Daniela Adams September 23, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    We’ve moved into a new house just recently. Unfortunately, the roof is not in a good shape and we need to either repair it or replace it. You mention that there is a roof warranty that may cover the expenses. I can’t find any records about roof installation. Do you know how I can learn about our warranty if there is no documentation in the house?

    • Avatar
      Laura September 24, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Hi Daniela! The previous owner should have the paperwork. Also if you can figure out who the manufacturer of the roofing material is you can call them, they should have your address on file if the roof is in fact warranted.

  32. Avatar
    Stephie Smith October 7, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Luckily, we were renting, but my husband and I lived in an apartment where the roofing had damage that went unnoticed for a while. It manifested when the ceiling in the bathroom sunk and almost fell down! It’s good to address roof leaks immediately, and I know we’ll be keeping this advice in mind when we move into our house. Thank you.

  33. Avatar
    Logan Murphy October 7, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    I love the idea of asking the right questions about your roof. We are in the process of fixing our roof right now and we have never had to deal with it in the past! Thanks for providing some good questions for us to consider during this process!

  34. Avatar
    Stephen Adams October 13, 2015 at 12:53 am

    I didn’t know our roof should be checked twice a year. I don’t want to wait for puddles and deal with emergency situations. I’m going to check with our buildings maintenance guy to make sure they are checking our roof twice a year. Great article!

  35. Avatar
    Joel Sampson October 13, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Checking a warranty may seem obvious, but it’s also incredibly helpful. Sometimes there are repairs that need done that are covered, whether or not you realize it. A friend of mine recently had to get repairs done on her roof, and she did just that. It was covered, so they fixed it with no additional charge. Great post!

  36. Avatar
    Cohen Jacobson October 19, 2015 at 9:20 am

    For me, isolating the problem is the first step. Yes, obviously there’s a leak in the roof somewhere, but it finding out where it is and what is causing it exactly is the thing we’re searching for. These are really helpful pointers and I really appreciate you sharing this. Thanks so much!

  37. Avatar
    Steven Harrison November 2, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    What you say is true. Roof leaks are definitely time-sensitive issues. They should not be procrastinated for a host of reasons. Mold is one of the biggest reasons. Don’t wait, don’t construct an immaculate fountain of pots and pans, just get it taken care of.

  38. Avatar
    Drew November 2, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Great advice for diagnosing roof leaks. It’s a good skill to have when you have your own home. Thanks so much for the great tips!

  39. Avatar
    Dee Francis January 22, 2016 at 2:05 pm

    The three tips that you posted for diagnosing and repairing roof leaks is good to know about so that I can know when I need to hire a contractor to fix my roof. Your first tip to consider whether there was a design flaw that could cause a leak seems really important for homeowners to think about. If there’s a chance that the design for a roof would allow water to leak through, then it’s important to hire a good contractor to make any necessary repairs to fix these flaws.

  40. Avatar
    Paul Langley January 29, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Wow, I had no idea that leaky roofs could be as bad as you said. I always knew it was bad when water could get into your house, but I didn’t know that it could lead to mold. Thanks so much for writing, I’ll be sure to perform regular maintenance on my roof to prevent leaking and mold.

  41. Avatar
    Jeff Curtis February 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    I am scared I might have a leak in my roof. I will look into water testing, and a moisture scan to see what is going on with my home. I like how you mention that if I get a roof repair I should also figure out why it failed in the first place. I think that would save me a possible nightmare of having the same issue happen again. Thanks for the help!

  42. Avatar
    Kyler Brown February 17, 2016 at 10:09 am

    The roof at my work building has had some leak problems lately whenever it rains really hard. We’ve already invested a lot of time into making the necessary fixes. I really liked this post though because of the focus on maintenance. I like the advice to get regular inspections to prevent problems before they arise, which is exactly what I am going to start doing!

  43. Avatar
    Hazel Adams March 11, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I think that it is important to be able to learn about what different roofing materials protect against. I think you should learn your environment before adding a roof. This article gives me a lot of ideas that I would like to try with my roof repairs.

  44. Avatar
    Jack Palmer March 16, 2016 at 8:35 am

    I think you provide a really good idea about checking to see if you have a warranty on the roof before doing anything. That would be extremely relieving to know that all of the roof repairs would be covered because of the warranty. We haven’t had any issues with our roof yet (knock on wood) but I think it’s nice to know what to do if we ever do have issues. My wife and I are relatively new homeowners so we are still learning a lot about home maintenance. Thanks for your article, I learned a lot about our options of fixing leaks.

  45. Avatar
    John Carston March 16, 2016 at 11:28 am

    Repairing roof leaks is important, especially to avoid potential future damages, like you mentioned. I’ll have to use the advice you mentioned in your list to assess the current situation and have a pro fix the problem. I’ll be using roof maintenance tips in the future as well.

  46. Avatar
    Hazel Owens March 31, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    I like your advice to diagnose why a roof failed. If your roof failed because of a design flaw or improper drainage, it’s best to fix the problem before moving on. If you patch the roof without fixing the cause of the leak, you’re just setting yourself up for future water damage. Thanks for the tips.

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