How to Find Roof Leaks

Let’s take a look at how to find roof leaks in your home.

Okay so you wake up one morning and notice a small discoloration in your ceiling indicating a water stain. Unfortunately, it’s likely a leaky roof. The repairs for these leaks are typically very simple but it can take some elbow grease to find their source.

As annoying it can be to find the leak, it is very important that you don’t put the repair on the backburner. If you know you don’t have time to look for it yourself, by all means  hire a professional roofer near me to help. Timeliness really is your friend if you want to avoid incurring some serious repair costs down the line. The last thing you want is mold, insulation damage, rotted framing, and drywall damage.

To save yourself some energy when looking for your leaks, always start by searching above where the water damage has been spotted. This is because gravity and water will combine to create stains wherever it settles. Additionally, start with the most common areas. Any area of the roof where hardware penetrates the decking and/or shingles is where the leak is most likely to occur. Vents, their surrounding boots, and the sealants are all examples of common locations for leaks.

If you have access to your attic, you’re in luck. The easiest method in leak seeking is simply using a flashlight to find mold or stains. Unfortunately, those of you with attic access might still have to run your own water test on the roof itself. This is much easier to do with a friend. Essentially, all we’re doing with a water test is using a hose to find roof leaks.

That being said, getting on your roof doesn’t come without its dangers. Please read the article from healthsafety.com titled “Essential Roofing Safety Tips”, and roof IKO’s guide on how to use a safety harness for reference before you attempt any work.

With your friend inside, use the hose to spill water onto the roof in one area for a couple minutes at a time. Always start lower on the roof closest the fascia, and work your way up to the ridge. You want to spend extra time around vents, chimneys, and valleys.

In the event you’re unable to find the leak using the hose, it’s time to start lifting some shingles up. Don’t be scared, it’s okay! Every part of the roof is important, but the shingles are the first line of defense from the interior of the home. They can sacrifice a little bit for us for the greater good! Using a flat bar, you can safely remove your shingles so they can be reused. What you’re looking for is stained wood or felt. You can also feel the felt for moisture to hone in on the leak.

Around the vents, and under the shingles are your vent boots. They act as a physical sealant between your decking, and the vent. These can be metal or rubber, but should be examined for cracks or missing nails. In almost any case, the entire vent should be replaced if there are damages. It can take a while to find roof leaks, and it’s definitely not worth the time you already spent to simply remedy the situation with some caulking.

If you’re in the Colorado area, your weather changes rapidly during the winter season. You can check the nails coming through to your attic for moisture when the temperature shifts. Condensation can build on the nail during a freeze, and then turn to liquid when it gets warmer. If this happens in your attic, you can use cutters to trim the nail.

At Aspen Roofing & Exteriors, we constantly harp about Ice & Water Protector for your home. It really does do wonders for homes in Colorado. We want to keep the water in the gutters or on the lawn. A combination of properly installed flashing, quality insulation, and Ice & Water Protector are a great recipe as preventative measures. Good insulation can keep the house warm enough to slow the freezing process which would otherwise cause water to creep under the shingles during expansion. Another tactic is to install heating cables at the edge of the roof.

It’s important to keep in mind that sometimes the roof isn’t always to blame for water damage in the ceiling. Some roofs have dormers above them on the second story which contain windows. As the home expands and contracts with temperature changes, caulking can crack and paint breaks down. The siding then becomes further exposed to the elements and experiences drastic deformation.

When high winds occur with precipitation, water can find it’s way in. In these areas, it’s especially important to use a paint scraper to feel around for loose or cracked caulking. Add new caulking over the deteriorated areas and replace any warped or rotting boards close to the roof. It’s a good idea to get primer under the new boards after they have been installed, and even paint under them to further seal out the water.

If you have a roof leak which is already very serious, or you’s like the help of a professional “roofer near me”, please don’t hesitate to contact us by phone or schedule an inspection on our website.


  1. Roof leaks on a flat roof can often addressed by rolling a liquid rubber solvent over the area where the water is penetrating.
    Butyl Liquid Rubber is one such solvent based coating used by many roofing contractors.
    Butyl Liquid Rubber is ideal for recoating existing roofs and adding a significant number of years to the life of a roof. In fact, our customers have described it as essentially getting a new roof for a fraction of the cost, since, for most roof types, this is a single application with significant cost savings compared to multiple coat systems. The cost savings alone have made it the choice for thousands of our customers over the years. Labor costs are also decreased since you only need one coat versus 3-4 with other systems.

  2. Thanks for the reminder that it’s important to double check all the safety gear before getting some roof repairs done. I’m interested in looking for a good contractor for that because it rained for a short while a couple of days ago. That’s how I found out that there are some leaks on my roof that had gone unnoticed through out the dry summer.

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