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What is a Roof Water Test? (How to Check for Roof Leaks)

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One of the most frustrating things a homeowner can experience is a roof leak, especially because that can be so tricky to figure out just where it is coming from.

Sometimes a quick visual inspection can work, but what do you do if that doesn’t help?

Roofing companies will sometimes perform what’s called a “water test” to help determine where a leak is coming from.

In this blog, we’ll define what a water test is, how else you can check for a leak, what some of the causes of roof leaks are, and what you can do to fix them.

Let’s get started!

What is a Water Test?

A water test is a testing method that allows you to better pinpoint where a roof leak is located. Sometimes it can be difficult to actually find where the hole in a roof is, so an intentional and controlled water test can be a great way to aid you in diagnosing the problem. Typically one would be done after someone has visually inspected the roof, and the inside of an attic, without finding the source of the leak.

 roof hose guy-1

So how exactly is one conducted? The first step is get a hose or water source to pour onto the roof. Then choose a spot, and spray the water so it runs over that section. To actually know if it’s leaking, you’ll need to be able to communicate with someone inside. It can take some time for the leak to show up, so you’ll have to be patient, but if after 20-30 minutes you haven’t noticed a leak coming through, move over to another area, slowly moving up the roof until you’ve either found the leak, or covered the entire roof.

How Else Can You Check for a Roof Leak?

This all may sound super inefficient, and to be honest, it is. That’s why water tests are typically only used if the leak has evaded detection through other methods.

The other main way to find a roof leak is by visually inspecting it, like we talked about earlier. If a hole has been punched through your roof material and decking, you’ll be able to see light coming through any holes. Another tell-tale sign of a roof leak is if you see some rotted parts of your roof decking.

Rotted roof decking_WebP

If you notice these kind of water-damaged areas in your roof decking, you can be sure that somehow, water is slipping through your primary defense against it, and beginning to rot your decking.

What are Some Causes of Roof Leaks?

Though there are all kinds of different reasons you may be facing a roof leak, here in Raleigh we get a couple more common than others.

Clogged gutters, damaged shingles, rotted pipe boots, damaged or poorly installed flashing at chimneys or penetrations, and improper nail placement are all some are all some common areas we have to repair in order to fix a roof leak. These all have different causes, but can be exposed or pop up after a storm, so that’s always a good time to check for a leak.  

If you want to learn more, check out our blog on How Much it Costs to Repair a Roof Leak.

How Should You Fix a Roof Leak?

To fix the leak itself, the main way to fix it is to replace the damaged shingles, pipe boots, nails, etc, that being said, when it comes to fixing a roof leak, you may want to leave that up to the professionals. Leaks often are not a simple patch up repair, as the damage they cause will also need to be repaired.

If you want to get in touch with a roofing contractor in the Raleigh, NC area, click the “Contact Us” button below! On Tops Roofing has been serving the NC Research Triangle for over 30 years, so whatever your roof repair has in store, we are happy to help!

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