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Diagnosing a Roof Problem

Reviewing the Situation: Inside

In the Nick of Time

Even if there's no apparent water damage after a severe storm, it's a good idea to inspect roofs and attics for it. Storms can cause damage that might not show up as interior leaks for months afterwards. It's always better to catch problems before they cause bigger ones. If you suspect storm damage but you don't know what to look for, hire a roofing contractor to check things out.

This inspection is typically a lot easier to do and something that most homeowners don't mind doing. Here's what to look for:

  • Holes and cracks through which you can see outside.

  • Wetness or signs of water damage, such as watermarks, rot, or mold, on beams, rafters, sheathing, walls, floors, etc.

If your house has a chimney, pay special attention to the area where the roof meets the chimney. Water seepage or drainage in this area is usually a sure sign of a flashing problem.

Keep in mind that water travels down to its lowest point before it drips. For this reason, wet spots can be a bit misleading as they often aren't directly under the damaged area. To get the fullest picture, look for drip trails on rafters and sheathing. When you find what appears to be the source of the leak, mark it with a nail, wire, stick, or similar object that's long enough to see from the outside.

To fix your roof leak, see Fixing a Roof Problem.

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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