If you suspect you may have a roof leak, it can be challenging to pinpoint the source of it because it often originates away from where the leak actually appears. In order to find the source of a leak, follow a roofer’s advice and “think like water.”

Water typically enters your home in these areas:

Through worn, broken or missing shingles where nails have worked loose;
Through corroded or poorly sealed roof flashing around vents, skylights or chimneys;
Along the intersections of roof planes.

Once water passes the roofing, it flows along the sheathing, roof rafters or topside of ceilings until it finds a place to drip down, inevitably onto your favorite piece of furniture.

Homeowners should search for a roof leak during the day. Go into the attic with a bright flashlight, step only on secure framing members and never on the insulation or topside of the ceiling below – neither of these will support you! Start above the place where the drip has occurred and work your way up the roof, looking for wetness along the framing members.

If the weather has been dry for a while, look for watermarks, stains, or discolorations on the wood made by moisture. Then switch off the light and try to find a hole where daylight shows through the roof. (Note: With a wood-shingle roof, you’ll see many such places, but while the overlapped shingles let light show through, they shed water.)

If it’s still raining, put a bucket under the leak in an area with proper support. Let the bucket collect the drips and fix the leak when the weather clears.

Water-Testing for Roof Leaks

If you can’t find the cause of a leak from the attic or by visual inspection on the roof surface, wait for dry weather and ask a friend to help you perform a water test. To do this, one person goes onto the roof with a garden hose; the other person goes inside the attic with a bucket and a strong light.

The person in the attic watches carefully while the one on the roof floods the roof with the hose, starting at the bottom (the eaves) and slowly working up the roof until water from the leak appears in the attic. Once the leak is located, push a nail up through the hole to mark its location for rooftop repair. Mark the surface of the roof with chalk, if necessary.

The exact methods for repairing the roof leak will depend upon the roofing material and the roof’s construction.

Emergency Roof Repair in Allendale, MI

Here is how to make an emergency cover for your leaking roof from plastic sheeting and 2x4s:

1. Partially unroll or unfold enough heavy (6-mil) polyethylene sheeting to cover the leaking section of roof from eaves to peak, add about 4 feet extra and cut it with a utility knife. Wrap one end around a 2×4 that is as long as the plastic’s width; staple the plastic along the 2×4. Sandwich the assembly with a second 2×4, and nail the boards together with three or four 3-inch or 3 1/4-inch common nails.

2. Place the sandwiched end of the plastic along the eaves. Stretch the sheeting from eaves to ridge, running it over the top of the ridge and down the other side a few feet.

3. Sandwich the top end of the sheeting with another pair of 2x4s so the wind will not carry it away. Do not nail any part of this assembly to the roof.

Fast Roof Repair in Allendale, MI

If you know that a roof leak is being caused by a hole, you should be able to temporarily fix it with a 12” x 12” piece of galvanized sheet metal flashing, available at almost any home improvement center or hardware store.

Lift the damaged shingle with one hand, and push the sheet metal flashing up underneath the shingle so the sheet metal covers the hole. It may be necessary to pry up one or more roofing nails in the row above the damaged shingle so you can push the flashing all the way up under the course of shingles above the leak so water will be shed over the metal.

About Do-It-Yourself Roof Repair in Allendale MI

Working on top of a roof can be difficult and dangerous. Unless your roof’s pitch is relatively low and you have the necessary experience, tools, and confidence to get the job done safely, you should leave this work to a professional.

If your roof is showing signs of wear or you’ve noticed a problem, call us at 1-616-278-0828 or click here to request a roof inspection and repair estimate today! We are your experienced roofing contractor serving Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland and nearby Michigan areas.

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