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Finding the Cause of a Leaking Roof

June 29, 2020
Finding the Cause of a Leaking Roof

Water damage is a primary cause of insurance claims filed by homeowners. If not repaired soon enough, a leaking roof can cause thousands of dollars in additional damage. On top of that, it can be an invitation for dangerous mold growth.

A leaking roof would seem like a simple thing to locate. You would think that it would always be just above the evidence of water in the interior of the home. However, this isn’t always the case.

Finding the Cause of a Leaking Roof

If you’re seeing water stains on the ceiling or walls of your home, you need to find the source as soon as possible. Once located, you can then determine if you can repair the leak yourself or if a roofing professional needs to come out.

Put on your Detective Hat

The biggest problem with finding a leak is that it can enter the roof in one location and travel to a different location before causing damage. This means that the leak may not be directly above the visible water damage.

The best way to find the leak is through the process of elimination. It’s good to have a roofing contractor there to help you out during this process.

Enter the Attic

First, you’ll need to enter the attic and go to the general location where water has been seen in the interior of the house. With a flashlight, look for areas on the attic ceiling that are darker than others. This could indicate water entering through the roof.

Also, look for any mold on the underside of the roof. Mold needs moisture to thrive, so this could be a good indicator. If you do see mold it is recommended that you wear a filtered mask before you proceed further.

Look for Signs of Penetration

A leaky roof could be caused by an object like roofing nails or cracks in a vent stack or plumbing vent.

Look for any objects that may have penetrated the roof. Water could be coming in through these damaged areas and running down the underside of the roof to enter the interior of the home in a different location.

Look for Deterioration

If you have insulation on the underside of your roof, look for areas that have deteriorated. You’ll need to pull off the insulation to expose the leak. Remember, the leak could be several feet from the wet insulation, so you may need to pull down all insulation in the general area to find the hole.

Also, keep an eye out for any rotting wood. Interior wood typically is not treated for water exposure, so if you see any rotting areas in your attic it’s a good bet you have water coming in.


Entering an attic or climbing on a roof can be very dangerous if you don’t take precautions. It’s best to do both with a partner so they can assist. If you don’t feel comfortable doing either, that’s the time to call the professionals.

Repairing Damaged or Leaking Roofs

If you’ve found that water is coming in through damaged areas on your roof, you need to fix the problem as soon as possible. Water damage spreads quickly and can cause costly damage to your home.

McKinnis Inc., an Omaha based roofing company, has been providing quality roof repair services in the greater metro Omaha, NE area since 1981, offering 24/7 emergency service and repair. Contact us today to speak with a qualified professional and schedule a repair.