How to find and fix a roof leak

The roof is generally subjected to the hardest wear of any part of the house. Beating rains and sleet, strong winds, scorching sunshine, and alternate freezing and thawing with sliding snow and ice contribute to the wear and tear on the roof surface.

Roofings of various types may be and frequently are applied over old roofs, but it is usually advisable to remove the old roofing before applying an entirely new roof. The home owner then has the opportunity to have defective or rotted sheathing boards replaced, thus providing a smoother roof deck with opportunity for better nailing.

When a leak develops, it is important that repairs be made without unnecessary delay. If repairs are neglected over a long period, plaster may become cracked, loosen, eventually fall, and the framework below the leak may rot. Even small leaks will often cause discoloration of wall coverings and stains on finished floors.

Although it may not be possible for the average man to apply a new roof or to do extensive repair work, he may be able to patch up leaky spots until permanent repairs can be made or until the old roof can be replaced with a new one.

It is often difficult to locate the point of leakage from a wet spot on the ceiling, especially if the underside of the roof is not easily accessible, since water may follow along the roof boards or rafters before dripping down. It is equally difficult to locate a hole from the top of the roof. However, if the attic has no ceiling, most holes may be located readily from the inside of the attic on a bright day. Even small holes will be plainly visible, and their location may be marked by pushing wires through to the roof surface.

When making repairs, one should not attempt to walk on a steep roof without a strong rope for support. Using a rope is ,the simplest way to insure balance when doing small patching jobs. It is advisable to wear tennis shoes or go shoeless.

This will provide better footing and prevent possible damage to the roof covering. Avoid all unnecessary walking on any type of roof; unless particular care is taken, walking on a roof may cause considerable damage. This is especially true of old roofs.