Visible roof leaks are a manifestation of a larger roofing problem, such as a plugged drain or an ice dam that has formed on your roof. Leaks become visible during rainy weather, but the problem may have been around before you’ve noticed it.
Sometimes water travels a good distance from where the roofing problem originated to where the leak occurs or the area of the water spot on your ceiling. The visible leaks are where the water has pooled and are not necessarily an indication that the roofing problem is located directly above the leak.
Water leaks have to travel a far distance to reach your home’s ceiling as a water stain. First the water has to travel between roofing layers, through roof insulation and down the beams where it will finally pool into the roof leak that you see.
The best way to prevent a roof leak from occurring is to regularly inspect your roof. Remember, once you can see a leak manifest itself, the damage is already done and all you can do is repair or replace your roof. The sooner you can identify any signs of weakness in your roof that has the potential to cause a leak, the less expensive the repair.
As a homeowner, you can help the inspector by gathering the following information:
-approximately how old are the roofing layers
-what are the dates and type of roofing repairs completed on your roof in the past
-a history of roof leaks or other problems with your roof
-the square footage of the roofing area
With this information the roofing inspector will check to make sure that the roofing layers are properly bonded to underlying areas. They will be looking for surface signs of weakness or vulnerability in your roof such as blisters or soft spots. It is important that all screws and fasteners be tightly secured around mountings, drains or other structures such as chimneys and skylights.