How to Detect and Fix a Leaking Roof

How to Detect and Fix a Leaking Roof

Here’s something that we can all agree on – the earlier you notice and fix a problem, the less cost said damages will incur.


This is especially true when it comes to your health, your car and your home. When it comes to your home, a leaky roof is one of the problems that you would want to detect and fix early on. Below, we discuss how you can detect a leaky roof and how to fix it yourself as a home handyman.

Detecting a Leaking Roof

Detecting signs of a leaking roof are easy when the problem is already severe – but the best case scenario would be if you can detect this issue while the signs are still considered minor.

Basic Interior Inspection – Severe Cases

In severe cases, you might smell an unpleasant odour wafting around the house due to the growth of fungus, rotting materials and mould.


The roof leak damage would already be considered severe if you notice water pooling around the floor or streaking down the walls! Your home insulation can get waterlogged with a major roof leak, and once it’s saturated, it can no longer insulate your home properly.


This is when you will notice that your house is getting really cold and perhaps humid as well.

Basic Interior Inspection – Smaller Signs

The most obvious signs of a roof leak can be spotted from within the house. Do you have dark, wet patches on your ceiling?


These patches usually indicate the pooling of water above your ceiling – a sure sign that you have a leak in your roof. You might notice the wooden fixtures around your house looking bloated, or they could be soft to your touch.


These indicate that water has seeped into the fixtures. If these fixtures are left unattended, you can expect it to continue swelling and eventually rot.

Exterior Inspection

You can start with an exterior overview of your house and roof. It might be tempting to inspect only the areas above the wet patch on your ceiling, but water can enter your roof from one end and trickle down into your insulation layers some distance away from where the leak is.


You can definitely start by inspecting for any obvious tears and wears, damaged spots or corrugated iron sheets or shingles first, where it is most likely for the leaks to be.

Thorough Interior Inspection

Look indoors – are there any paint peeling off one particular corner of the wall? You can spot a roof leak more accurately by looking inside your roof space or the attics with a flashlight.


Areas underneath your roof leak would most likely have moulds, or damp rafters and beams –  with some luck, you might just be able to follow the water flow to the source of the said leak!

Fixing Your Leaking Roof

If you are planning to fix your leaking roof on your own, you are going to need some handyman skills or even your own high-risk work license if the repair is severe enough to require it.

Using a Scaffold

You might need to have your own high-risk work license to fix your roof leak! Safe Work Australia dictates that you need to have this license to erect a mobile scaffold that is more than 4m in height.


If you are licensed and have a mobile scaffold, you are already quite well-equipped to do the rest of the fixing work. It’s best to choose a scaffold that is wider for better stability while you are working on the roof leaks.


You may need an extra ladder to get up onto the roof properly, so ensure that you are purchasing the right scaffold model – preferably a secure internal ladder a hinged trap door to access the scaffold.

Replacing Old Caulks

Your roof leaks might not be located on the shingled surfaces – it could be through the cracked caulking between your corner boards, or between your window edges and siding. When there are cracks here, water can easily drip behind your flashings and into your house.


Dig around these crack-prone areas with a putty knife to check if an area is properly sealed and remove old caulks. Replace these with siliconized latex caulks. However, it’s best to refrain from caulking wherever possible – leave that to a roofing specialist. Just try to replace parts or repair broken areas, and use caulks only on small holes or when existing flashings cannot be replaced.

Fixing with Flashings

If you only have small leaks or holes on your roof shingles, you can easily fix them up by inserting metal flashing underneath the shingles so that any water will flow down the flashing instead of into your home.


Plenty of other leaks around the side of your house can also be fixed by replacing these flashings – look for leak-prone areas at the connected areas of your walls and roofs and you might just find a few rusted or displaced flashings!


Once you are done replacing these flashings, be sure to see if the insulation layers underneath your roof needs to be replaced as well – and do it soon if they are waterlogged!

Image source, Pexels CC0 License