The Most Likely Suspects: Finding That Leak In Your Roof

Posted on: 23 November 2015

It can drive you crazy when you know that water is leaking through your roof somehow, but you have no idea how. You might notice damp carpet spreading out from no easily identifiable point, for example. Here are some of the more probable suspects that are letting you down and allowing water into your sacred abode, including how to check each one in turn.


Anything that goes through your roof is a likely candidate for hosting a leak, and if your house has a chimney, this is one of the first places you should check if you're stumped. Signs that this might be the culprit include the following:

  • Rust- If your damper or firebox around the chimney is accruing rust this is often a bad sign. It could definitely mean the area is leaking.
  • Wallpaper Damage Around the Chimney- Wallpaper also often reacts badly to water, so if the wallpaper near your chimney crinkling or showing other signs of damage, this is further evidence that your chimney is the problem.
  • Crumbling Masonry- This is an effect known as "spalling." It occurs due to moisture getting inside of stones, concrete or bricks. It makes the top part of masonry flake away. It's another sign of potential leaking.


Skylights are a great way to let natural light into your house, but they have a tendency to let the weather in as well. Here are some ways to see if this is where your leak is starting.

  • Water Stains- If you see water stains right at the top of the skylight near the peak of your house, this is often a sign that there's something wrong with the light and the roof. Water could be making its way through the shingles near the light.
  • Drywall Bubbling- If the drywall next to the skylight is off-color, or if it's bubbling at the point near the ceiling, you may have a leak or at least damage.
  • Drafts- If cold air is getting past your roof and past the skylight, then there's a good chance that water can do this as well.

Plumbing Vents

You might have to go up to the roof yourself or get someone else to go up there to check these vents, but it's common for problems to occur here since they travel through your roof. Signs include:

  • Cracked Neoprene or Rubber- If you notice that the rubber has cracks in it, water could make its way through there.
  • Critter Marks- Bite marks from animals, or droppings from them whether they are insect or larger, is often a sure bet that your vents are compromised, letting water pour merrily in.
  • Insufficient Sealing- If the seal around the vents is showing signs of wear or if there isn't enough of it, this could be the problem.

These aren't the only possibilities, but they are good ones. You may need a professional to confirm it for you, however. Contact a roof repair specialist in your area to get a better idea of the source of your problem and how to solve it.