How It Works

Select the work to be done
Let us know what project you need help with and when you need it done - we'll match you with the right pros for the job.
Compare matched pros
Verify pro credentials, read reviews, ask questions, discuss availability, and request project estimates.
Complete your project
Hire the pro that's right for you and your budget. After the project is complete, let your community know how it went.
Powered by

The Home Depot

How to Find a Roof Leak

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Roofing > How to Find a Roof Leak
How to Find a Roof Leak

Leaks should be taken very seriously, even if they appear to be minor. The smallest leak in your roof over time can cause a lot of water damage, ruining not only the ceiling inside your home but the wood inside the walls and insulation as well. Rotting wood and moldy insulation occur mostly due to roof leaks and these types of occurrences are very bad to breathe and live in. If you suspect that your roof may have a leak, you should go to the nearest store to buy sealant or call up a roofing contractor to get working on fixing it.


We have made you a list of different tips known for locating a leak in roofing material. Some of the tips may be obvious but are still extremely helpful and important to pay attention to.

  1. 1.Try Locating at First Hint

    You should try to find the leak in your roof at event the first hint of it being there. This is because if you wait too long to try and find it, the water may have already soaked into the ceiling and when that happens it is very hard to track down the leak after the water has been running down into the roof.

  2. If it seems like the problem is over your head, don’t hesitate to call someone. Professional contractors have dealt with a lot of roofing in their lives and have plenty of experience.
  3. 2.Wait For a Rainy Day

    Try and wait for a rainy day (if possible) to go up into your attic searching for the leak. The leak should be most apparent when it is being rained on. Bring a flashlight since it will help to illuminate wherever the leak may be. Once you have found it, mark it in some way and wait for a sunny day. Have a friend go in your attic and gently tap the area marked with a hammer so that you can see the area from on top of your roof. Mark it on the outside and then investigate. Determine whether or not sealant will do the job, or if a professional roofing contractor is needed to do a more in-depth job.

  4. 3.Places to Check That Get Water Damage

    Here are some places on your roof that get the most water damage: dormer valleys, downspouts, gutters, gaskets, flashing, shingles, boots, air vents, etc.

  5. 4.Check To Make Sure it is Not Blocked Guttering

    Sometimes when your gutters get blocked, it can mimic a damaged roof and create its own kind of leak. Make sure that your gutters are completely cleaned and clear before attempting to tear apart your roof looking for the problem.

  6. 5.Signs to Look For

    Darkened ceiling tiles are one surefire sign that you are near to the location of the leak. Other signs include finding moldy corners in a room and a bad small which can indicate damp insulation. Checking during an active storm is perhaps the easiest way to locate the leak, but obviously not the most effective one. The sooner you are able to locate the leak, the sooner you or a professional roofing contractor will be able to fix the problem. If you notice that the leak seemed to begin after a large storm, your problem will most likely be the flashings on your roof. These can get damaged easily during storms and are vulnerable to harsh weather. In worse climates, you may find yourself having to change out a whole set of flashing more often than you’d like to.


    Repairing a leaky roof doesn’t have to be hard, and sometimes it is smooth sailing after you are able to actually locate the leak. If it seems like the problem is over your head, don’t hesitate to call someone. Professional contractors have dealt with a lot of roofing in their lives and have plenty of experience.


    Related Guides: Roof Repair Cost, Roof Leak Repair Cost

Find Pros

Get your home project started today with help from Pro Referral’s qualified network of pre-screened and background-checked professionals available in your neighborhood.

Get Expert Advice

Submit your toughest home improvement questions to our knowledgeable experts and receive free personalized solutions, product recommendations, how-to advice, and more–all within 48 hours or less.