Can You Fix a Roof Leak From Inside?
More than the floors, more than the foundation, the roof is one of the hardest parts of a house to fix. There’s a reason that some roofing specialists operate their businesses independent of general contractors — and make a killing doing it.
If a leak just developed from the roof inside your house, there’s no guarantee the leak is actually a new one. Roofs are large, complex constructions that take the hardest battering from the elements. Structural faults on one end of the roof may be causing drainage on the other side. The point is, fixing a roof from inside a house appeals to the unskilled homeowner because it’s easier and safer than busting out the ladder and braving it on top.
Yes, you can fix a roof leak from the inside, but the process is complicated. Follow our step-by-step guide to embarking on this repair journey.
Locate The Leak
It’s usually easy to spot where the leak in your roof is draining — it’s that stream pouring onto the floor and furniture. It’s harder to locate exactly where the leak is originating from. The drain point and origin can be two separate locations.
Step one — contain the drain. Get buckets and be prepared to make multiple trips to dump out the water. If the leak is particularly bad, ensure you have some help or at the very least multiple vessels to catch the water.
Step two — find the leak. The best way to go about it is to use your ears and eyes. You’ll likely be able to hear where water is rushing from, so work your way towards that location. Pay special attention to vents that have access to the inner workings of the house. They might help you in locating the origin of the leak.
Seal The Leak
Once you’ve located the source of the leak, you’ve got to patch it.
Remember if it’s raining, you will likely need to wait for it to be dry to seal the leak effectively. In that case, get comfortable with bucket duties. Once you’re dry and in the clear, follow these three steps:
- Mark the affected area with chalk or another non-permanent marker. You don’t want to slather the area with the sealing solution, and you’ll want to remember where the leak originated in case it starts again down the line.
- Seal the leak using tar or roof patching with caulk. With a palette knife or scraper, spread the substance liberally around the affected area and wait for it to dry. If you’re using tar, apply a shingle or plywood to the tar to ensure the leak is properly plugged. If you’re using a roof patch, seal the patching with caulk.
- If you haven’t already addressed the leak from outside the house, get up on the roof and repeat the same steps. If you have, check the work and make sure no shingles have come uprooted, that no large objects are pressing down on the roof, and no loose nails are threatening to puncture its surface.
Map The Roof Leak
Back in the interior space where you detected the leak, grab a measuring tape, a pen, and a notebook that you won’t lose track of. To the best of your abilities, make a detailed sketch of the room, including a three-dimensional rendering of the ceiling, any space between the ceiling and the roof, and the roof itself.
Remember that water abides by the law of gravity, so map out the probable course of the leak from roof to room.
Water can also bend around rafters and spill through barely visible cracks, so if your point A to point B imagining doesn’t live up to the probable snaking reality of the leak, don’t sweat it. As long as you’ve got your chalk outline of the leak opening or your map of where the leak starts and where it drains out, you’re prepared for the return of the rains.
What If I Can’t Find The Leak?
This is the question every homeowner fears.
Water is streaming into your house, and it seems impossible to pin down where from. But there are a few pro-tips for tracking down stubborn leaks:
- Dye test your toilet. It’s not uncommon for a leak to originate with the pipes connected to the toilet. If you suspect this might be the case, squeeze a few red or blue droplets into the bowl, flush, and wait. You’ll know immediately when you see that water coming out of your wall.
- Investigate all your appliances that use water. That includes the dishwasher, laundry machine, and ice maker. Cut the water off to one room after another and see how the leak responds.
- Buy a good old-fashioned leak detector. These battery-operated, pocket-sized items let out ripping alarms when they detect small amounts of water.
Conclusion — When in Doubt, Call a Professional
It’s entirely possible to detect and patch a leak yourself without messing around with ladders and hard hats.
But who has time for that? And, in the best interest of your family’s health and safety, you should always follow up with a professional evaluation.
The leak detection experts at All Dry USA are on hand 24/7/365 to respond to roof leaks from diagnosis all the way through repair. Our experts guarantee the leak will be detected by utilizing advanced tools, professional-grade plumbing equipment, and certified training, and a plan will be formulated before any wall or ceiling is opened up. Call All Dry USA today for a quote.