Request a Free Long Roofing Quote ▾

How to Find a Roof Leak in 7 Steps

Published on Monday November 30, 2020
Finding a roof leak

No homeowner wants to hear the drip, drip, drip of a leaky roof, but it’s important to know what to do should the situation ever occur. Knowing how to locate a roof leak as quickly as possible can save you from facing severe water damages and expensive repairs, like treating mold, mildew, or needing to replace the entire roof. 

If you don’t yet know how to find a roof leak, we’re here to help. Keep in mind that locating the source of a roof leak isn’t always a simple task—it can sometimes take a little bit of detective work.

Rain on roof

Steps to Find a Leak in Your Roof

1. Inspect for Signs of a Leak

Knowing how to detect roof leaks starts by understanding the telltale signs that a roof is leaking. This is often the dripping of water that may occur during a rainstorm since bad rain storms can cause roof damage, but there are several other signs you should keep an eye out for, including the following:

  • Water stains on walls or ceilings
  • Musty smells or moldy odors
  • Missing, warped, or damaged shingles
  • Bulging sections on interior walls
  • Water-damaged exterior siding 
  • If you have a metal roof, look for rust

2. Rule Out an Interior Water Leak

You may be wondering why your roof is leaking, but keep in mind that just because you’ve located a section of water damage in your home doesn’t necessarily mean you have a roof leak. Before you call your roofer to come fix the issue, you need to rule out the possibility of other types of leaks. 

Check for any faulty piping, make sure your HVAC unit and water heater are working properly, and be mindful of where you have bathrooms, laundry rooms, or kitchen sinks so you can see if perhaps a leak is coming from there.

Once you’ve ruled out interior leaks, you can move forward with examining for roof leaks.

3. Thoroughly Examine Your Attic

Be very careful where you step so you don’t fall through the ceiling, but when checking for a leak, it’s important to investigate your attic. Check for all the signs of water damage and look for the presence of a leak. Consider bringing a flashlight to examine any hard-to-see areas. Look for mold, water stains, or musty smells around the rafters and roof sheathing. 

4. Inspect the Surface of Your Roof

You won’t learn how to find a roof leak if you never examine your roof. If you’re comfortable climbing up a ladder onto your roof, be sure to check around any and all vents, chimneys, skylights, and seams for signs of water damage or water collection. Plus, look out for loose or damaged shingles, missing nails, cracks and staining. You should also examine any areas where leaves collect, as debris can trap moisture along the surface of the roof. 

5. Hose Down Your Roof

If you haven’t found the source of your leak after all this investigation, it may be time to test it out with more water. Have someone help you by staying inside near the place you first noticed the signs of a roof leak. From outside your home, take a garden hose and begin spraying your roof slowly, one section at a time. Spend a couple of minutes in each section to really narrow down the location of the leak. Have your helper shout or call you when the dripping begins.

6. Pinpoint the Leak’s Location

Once you’ve narrowed down the location of your leak, it is much easier to figure out how to find a leak in your roof with accuracy. You can do this by measuring the water damage on the interior against a fixed point, such as a chimney, window, or exterior wall, then match it up on the roof of your home.

7. Ask for Help

Don’t take it upon yourself to resolve the issue causing the leak, since it’s possible to do more damage if you’re not sure how to conduct an appropriate repair. When dealing with roof leaks and repairs, it’s important to work with an experienced roofing professional that can accurately determine the scope of the problem and provide an efficient solution.

Roof damage

Need an Estimate for Your Roof Repair?

Catching a roof leak early can prevent a lot of issues that arise from prolonged water damage. If you suspect a roof leak, contact Long Roofing online to request an estimate for your roof repair or replacement today.

Interested in Long Home Products?
See our special offers now.


*Excludes labor. Subject to credit approval.

**Excludes labor. Subject to credit approval.

One-day installs contingent upon municipal rules and regulations.

By submitting a form, I authorize Long Home Products to contact me with information abouts its products and services via mail, email, phone and/or text at the contact information provided, even if I am on the national do not call list. Long Home Products may use automated telephone technology to initiate calls to its customers. Calls and in person estimates may be recorded for quality and training purposes.