Unless it happens to be raining, you aren’t going to have a clear way to find the flaw in your roof. But there are ways around that! Here are the three things you can do to identify the source of the leak:
- Shine a light on it. The best time to look for a leak is during the day. You’ll want to bring a large, bright flashlight with you, and be sure to mind your step. Only the framing timbers are strong enough to support your weight, so avoid stepping on insulation or drywall.
- Work backward. You know where the water ended up. Start there, and work your way up the roof. Ninety percent of the time, the leak isn’t directly over the spot in question. Instead, the water has traveled down the rafters and sheathing until finding a place to drip down. Look for stains and other moisture-related discolorations on the wood, and trace it back to the source.
- When all else fails, add water. If you can’t find the origin of the leak via visual inspection, wait for things to dry up. Once the weather has cleared, recruit an adventurous friend to help you with a water test. You send them up to the roof with a garden hose while you go through the attic looking for where the water enters. You’ll want them to take a systemic approach, working their way across the roof one area at a time. Once you find the hole, you can mark it with chalk or a nail; anything that makes it easier to locate when it comes time to perform actual repairs.
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