Free Group T-Shirt

Don’t Wait to Fix a Leaking Roof

Don't Wait to Fix a Leaking Roof

Is it time to repair your roof or replace it entirely? There are many telltale signs of roof damage but before you call a roofer it is best to inspect the roof yourself, first. You’ll save thousands of dollars by knowing wheater your roof is up for replacement or just a simple repair. Read on for these helpful tips.

Roof Repair or Replacement? Things You Need To Know

Dear James: I have noticed some damp dark spots on my bedroom ceiling after it rains. How do I know whether it is best to have the leaks repaired or to have the entire roof replaced? — Annie H.

Dear Annie: If you are already seeing dark spots on your ceiling don’t wait to get your roof repaired or replaced. The dark color is mildew that has developed from the long-term presence of moisture. This moisture could also have already contributed to damage to the structural lumber in the roof and attic.

Check out Don't Wait to Fix a Leaking Roof at
Image via Pixabay

Although there are several telltale signs that there is a problem with a roof, replacing it or repairing it is not always an obvious decision. The best method is to inspect the roof yourself and then get the opinions of several roofers. Keep in mind, though, that roofers will likely be inclined to suggest replacing the entire roof.

There are many factors that affect the life of a shingle roof. These include the initial quality of the shingles, local climate conditions, proper roof design, proper attic ventilation and general roof maintenance.

Proper roof maintenance includes keeping gutters clean, removing organic matter such as tree branches and leaves, and checking periodically for damaged shingles.

Check out Don't Wait to Fix a Leaking Roof at a rule of thumb, you can expect about a 20-year life from standard roofing shingles. Many warranties on shingles are for 20 years. Some thicker architectural shingles have much longer warranties. If the shingles are less than 10 years old, unless you find many leaks in many different areas, it would be wise to just repair the damaged areas.

If your shingles are in the 10- to 20-year-old range, doing an inspection yourself will help you to make your decision.

First, go inside the attic with a flashlight and inspect the underside of the roof sheathing for signs of moisture. It is often difficult to find the exact location of the leaks because water will often trickle along a rafter for quite a distance before dripping off to the ceiling below.

You may be lucky and see damp spots on the sheathing where the water has come through. Probe these spots with a thin screwdriver to see if the sheathing is still in sound condition. Sheathing often has small pinholes that are not a problem. If you find a pinhole, VERY GENTLY poke a stiff wire into it to see if it easily penetrates the shingles. If it does, there could be a problem.

After checking inside the attic, it is a good idea to get a helper and a good-quality ladder so that together you can safely view the top of the roof.

Image via Pixabay

A typical sign of roofing problems is curled edges on the shingles. This might be caused by age or excessive heat from inadequate attic ventilation. If the curling is extensive and the shingles are brittle to the touch, it will require a tear-off of the old shingles and a new roof.

Inspect the flashings for signs of rust or damage. They are found where the shingles meet the walls or chimney. If the shingles look good, rusted or damaged flashing can be repaired without needing to replace the roof.

Check the valleys where two roof planes come together. This area gets the heaviest water flow during a rain.

Finally, inspect the boots around the base of vent pipes through the roof. They do fail and can easily be replaced without replacing the entire roof.

Send your questions to Here’s How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit

To find out more about James Dulley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at COPYRIGHT 2008 CREATORS SYNDICATE INC.

More home repair articles

DIY Roof Repair | All About Roofing Materials


About James Dulley


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This


You'll get our daily email newsletter and be entered into our monthly contests.