Yes, Or No?
It sounds like a simple question, with a yes or no answer.. In real life though, most homeowners try to tend to small repairs themselves, before investing time and money into a professional service provider.
When it comes to your roof leaking/being damaged, in most cases, hiring a professional is advised. However, this is Texas, and one can be certain there are some folks who are DIY project ready., with tools and supplies often waiting in the garage or shed.
What You HAVE To Know, First.
So for DIY savvy homeowners, where is the line for trying to tackle this one yourself, too? The first thing to be mindful of is the sure footing that is required to be on your roof. Plus, the good balance needed, and being comfortable in high, awkward places. Professional roof repair workers are accustomed to the risks of being on a roof.
If you aren’t familiar with roof tops, and are thinking about climbing up on top of yours, we strongly encourage you to research to the proper safety techniques and tips, BEFORE you climb on your roof. We found a trustworthy explanation of the proper safety methods of climbing on your roof, on familyhandyman.com. Check it out at the link below.
Step 1: Isn’t On The Roof.
If you are confident in your knowledge of roof safety, and are willing to climb on your roof to identify damages, here are a few things to note.
Some problems, leaks especially, are more easily identified from underneath the roof itself, rather than on it. In the attic, there are evidences of water leaks that will usually stand out more easily than you can see from the roof top.
Where To Begin.
Before getting in the attic though, help yourself by just inspecting the ceilings inside your home (on the floor below the roof for 2+ story houses). There are often brown stains that will appear on the ceiling where water has dripped through the roof, down the rafters, and into the ceiling material of the home. This is the easiest way to identify there is in fact a leak.
Follow It Back To The Source.
The next step is identifying where the leak is coming from. Pro tip, if you find one leak, take a look at the different rooms of your home, and see if the ceiling is presenting brown stains anywhere else. Be sure to check the closets, and other areas you might not often frequent in the home. You want to address all the issues at once, if there are more than just one.
Watch Your Head.
At this point, going into the attic is the next step to finding roof leaks. There are safety tips you should definitely follow. My granddad found out the hard way when he went in his attic and a nail protruding from a rafter unfortunately met the top of his bald scalp. Watch for nails above and to the sides, and then watch where you step.
Mind Your Feet.
There are people who have walked into their attic only to find themselves back in the living room because they didn’t know to keep on the wooden boards that run parallel along the floor of the attic, and fell through their ceiling. Once you step between the boards, there is nothing but ceiling and insulation holding you up. Don’t make a surprise entrance that your family will never let you live down, step on the boards, and again, watch for nails.
If you are confident you can safely move around your attic, then here are the things to keep an eye out for when looking for the source of a leak.
The brown stain in your ceiling doesn’t necessarily represent the location of the leak, in fact it often doesn’t. More commonly seen, the water enters a spot closer to the top of the roof than the brown stain’s location. Then, it trickles several feet down the angled rafters to a spot where it drips down onto the ceiling.
How To Find Leaks When It Isn’t Raining.
The key to finding leaks, when it’s not raining, is to look for stains where water has discolored the wooden rafters, and/or the wooden decking behind the rafters. Noticeable stains will be visible if there has been water coming through the roof.
Make It Rain!
The easiest way to do this is by spraying the roof with a hose, starting at the bottom and working up slowly. It may takes a few moments to seep through. Don’t just quickly spray and move on. Gravity will trickle everything down over the are you have covered, saturating the roof with more water, as rain would.
So have the person handling hose duty work their way up the roof with the hose slowly to allow time to identify the leaks accurately. Additionally, this can be done safely from the ground. A good 10 minutes should be allotted for this process. This usually won’t make the problem worse, don’t worry, a brief 10 minutes is ok unless you have a visible hole allowing light through it from the outside. In which case, there’s your leak!
The Clock Is Ticking.
It is important to note, this is a time sensitive issue, once a leak is visible in your home. Each rainfall after the one that made the leak in your roof, adds to the problem. Moreover, this allows more water to invade your attic, ceiling, wiring, insulation, drywall, floors, carpets, and more. This can cause a cascade of additional damages and thus, repair costs. Additionally, water can come to a rest, and begin to cause mold and mildew. This can cause health issues, and respiratory problems.
Can’t Find The Source Of The Leak?
Can’t find any sign of a leak, but definitely have a new brown stain on the ceiling? At this point, a trained eye is worth considering, as they are quite used to identifying these types of problems. If you are dead set on finding out where the problem is before you hire a professional, and again, are aptly familiar with roof safety & are following the roofing safety best practices, then the roof is the next place to look.
Once you are on the roof safely, and securely, have a look around. Check for easy to spot, visible damage. Look for gashes in the shingles/metal, from fallen branches or hail. These are the easier to spot issues usually, but aren’t guaranteed to be easy to see. If these signs aren’t present, and you are not seeing any tell tale signs of damage, this is where it gets tricky.
At this point, the leak could be hidden in a valley, which is an extensive repair to have to do. Or, it could be originating from a bad seal one or more of the roof fixtures (i.e. skylight, vent, pipe jack, etc.). If after looking at all these places, you can’t find the leak, then it could be time to hire a pro.
Back To The Original Question.
There are all sorts of DIY roof repair videos. That being said, this is the point where the question can be answered. Is it time to open up the DIY videos and get cracking on a repair? Or, is it time to call a roofing specialist because you aren’t confident you can adequately perform the repair yourself?
Be Honest With Yourself.
If you are ready to tackle your next DIY project though, we do hope we helped give you valuable information to help you along. If you find that you have bitten off more than you can chew, that’s OK. You aren’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last. In this case, hire a professional. Don’t put your safety at risk.
There is nothing wrong with this being a bigger job than you thought. It is the most important part of a house (the roof), and should always be handled with great care.
How We Can Help You.
Our blog is here to inform homeowners of all things important to roofing, for the homeowner. We also have a local DFW roofing company of our own though, focused on offering a long overdue customer experience in the roofing industry, the repairman.
With the vast majority of customer experiences being handled by salesmen in the roofing industry, we want to make sure DFW homeowners know they can call a roofing company that will connect them with a repairman, who will be with them from the onset of their experience, through to the completion of the repairs. No salesmen.
If you’d like to contact us about roof repairs, follow this link.
For our readers though, we appreciate you taking the time to read our blogs, and hope you have enjoyed what you’ve learned with us. Please, share our blogs, and like us on social media, if you think someone you know could benefit from this material.