Roof Leak Detection

How To Find Leaks & Prevent Roof Damage

Your home will undoubtedly be the largest purchase of your life. As such, it is imperative that the structure of the home is protected and maintained. The roof protects the interior and exterior of your home from high winds, rain, and other extreme, potentially damaging elements. Other important protections that the average homeowner may not realize the roof provides include:

  • Ventilation. The roof’s vents keep your attic from retaining moisture by allowing it to vent to the outside.
  • Temperature regulation. The venting solutions allow warm air to leave through the roof vents, preventing the attic from getting overheated.
  • Insulation. The layers of roofing materials protect your home’s insulation by preventing water from getting into your home, thus avoiding damage, mold, and large temperature fluctuations.
  • Siding protection. Without the roof’s protection, siding gets beaten by the sun and battered by the rain – elements that accelerate deterioration, cause fissures and damage, and encourage the growth of moss and/or mold. The roof also protects your siding and windows from falling limbs and debris and allows rainwater to drain away from the main structure of the home.

When the roof becomes damaged, these protections are severely compromised. As arguably the largest and most important part of your home’s system, protecting it should be a top priority for homeowners. When it comes to repairing your roof, don't attempt to do it yourself, doing so could result in serious injury, increased damage and could void the warranty.

Roof repairs are best left to a professional roofing company. At AKVM we are happy to inspect your roof and provide you with a free quote for roof repair or replacement.

Request A Free In-Person Roof Evaluation

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Expert Roof Leak Detection

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Important Questions To Ask When Choosing A Roofing Contractor

  • Are you a licensed roofing contractor, and do you understand the code requirements for my property? Understand the code requirements for your property, and make sure the roofer will comply with municipal codes. Knowing the contractor is licensed for roofing and that the license is up to date protects you legally in case something goes wrong with the work.
  • Do you carry workman’s compensation insurance as well as general liability insurance? Do you carry these forms of insurance for your subcontractors (if any) working on my property? In the event a worker is injured on your property, you don’t want to be held responsible. Workman’s comp is required by law to be carried by the contractor, as is general liability insurance to cover the cost of any damage to your property caused by the roofers.
  • Do you have a local physical address & phone number? Dealing with a local company is altogether safer than one run from a PO Box or one that isn’t located in your area. Having a local company perform the work greatly simplifies things if you encounter any issues that require follow-up.
  • Who will be to go-to person to answer any questions I may have? Make sure you know who the project manager is before the work starts so you can ask them directly any questions or concerns about the project.
  • Will you explain the warranty to me? Your contractor should be able to walk you through the warranty. If he doesn’t, or the warranty seems short (<25 years) or fishy, investigate deeper. Keep in mind that some shingle manufacturers will void the warranty if the materials are not properly installed.
  • Will you provide a written estimate? Not providing a written estimate is a big red flag. Do not sign anything until you have a detailed estimate for the job, including the costs of removing the old roof, materials for adding the new roof, and any incidentals that may occur during the process. There should be no surprise costs when the work is complete.


Detecting A Problem

sarasota residential rooferMost often, the obvious presence of water is the first sign of a roof leak; however, with some basic investigating, other telltale signs can be uncovered in time to prevent a costly disaster. These indicators include smells, such as a musty odor in specific parts of the house, bulges appearing on your walls, indicating a collection of water, the appearance of water stains on the ceiling, and obvious damage to the roof, like broken or missing roof shingles. If you do find evidence of a possible leak, the next step is to find out where the leak originated. The following are different steps you can take to investigate and detect where the roof is leaking. We do not suggest that you get on the roof yourself. For safety reasons and to not further damage your roof, we recommend you contact a professional roofer. For an expert roof leak detection call AKVM to inspect your roof.

Inspect the Attic

To discover the origination point of a leak, head up to the attic and look for light where there shouldn’t be any; if you can see daylight, you’ve found a potential spot for water to access the home. In some cases, you may only need to apply a bit of caulk to seal windows or small gaps. You can also check around the attic walls for spots or streaks of mold or obvious wet spots. Signs of wetness will be amplified in times of heavy or prolonged rain; however, it’s not necessary for it to be raining to spot a leak.

If you see signs of leaking, it’s time to call an expert to perform a deeper inspection. Inspections should be done at least once but preferably twice per year, but don’t wait if you have suspicions of a leak between inspections.

Regular inspections give homeowners the opportunity to repair small problems in a timely manner, before they compound and cause major damage. Use this checklist to perform your own inspection or call a roofing expert to schedule a professional inspection.

Mitigate The Damage

Even when homeowners are careful and thorough, things can and do happen. Severe weather, high winds, broken tree limbs, insects and rodents can all be culprits of a sudden unexpected leak. How the situation is handled is important. As soon as a leak is apparent, steps should be taken immediately to mitigate as much water damage as possible. Move vulnerable belongings out of harm’s way; if the items cannot be moved, cover them with protective plastic sheeting or tarps to keep them as dry as possible.

Use a bucket, large pot, bin or other container to catch dripping water. Check the walls and ceiling for bulging or bubbling, which may occur when water is collecting underneath the paint. Carefully puncture the bubble to drain the water into a container.

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Dry any furniture, wood, or surfaces with dry towels as soon as the leak is under control. Pooling, puddling, or standing water can stain the surfaces, and more importantly, cause mold growth, so drying as thoroughly as possible is important.

In the instance of saturated carpets, pull the carpet up and apart from the padding, then use fans to circulate the air and dry the carpet and padding. If the damage is too significant, call a professional water restoration company.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Call your insurance company right away to start the claims process. Your policy may or may not cover water damage; your insurance company will send an adjuster to provide claim coverage information.

Roof replacement and the twenty-five percent rule

Florida’s state law says that if your roof is partially damaged, but the roofing materials originally used are no longer available, you might qualify for a new roof. Moreover, if 25% or more of the roof needs repair or replacement within a 12-month period, your home may automatically qualify for a new roof in order to conform with the building code. There are variances depending on how your property is zoned, so it is important to know what rules apply to your home when dealing with the insurance company.


A licensed roofing company should be contacted whenever your roof shows signs of damage; even a seemingly small issue should be professionally assessed and repaired. Before work begins, make sure your roofing contractor is licensed and insured, and will obtain and provide you with proof of all required permits. The contractor should also provide information regarding what you can do to maintain your roof, as well as warranty details and answers to any questions you might have. They should also agree that the work is not complete until the roof passes inspection and is considered up to code.

Prepare For The Future

Routine maintenance can help prevent future damage as well as lower your home insurance rates. As the roof is one of the largest and most important features of a home, it’s well worth the time it takes to perform basic checks on a semi-annual basis to ensure the safety and integrity of the structure. Additionally, your insurance company expects that you will conduct these regular inspections and have the roof replaced when it becomes damaged or worn. Once the roof begins to age – around 20 years or so – your insurance company may begin to insist that you replace it in order to continue receiving insurance coverage on your home, and may be entitled to drop your coverage once the roof surpasses the 20-year mark. By replacing or upgrading your roof, you’ll not only keep your coverage, you also may qualify for a discount on your premiums.

Take Preventative Measures

To ensure that a minor problem doesn’t become out of control, take steps to keep your roof in good condition.

  • Trim overhanging tree limbs. Low-hanging branches can scrape against the roof’s surface, causing damage over time. Additionally, falling tree limbs can punch holes in your roof and even act as a route for rodents and insects to enter your home through the roof. Your insurance company may require you to trim your trees if they feel that they present a potential danger.
  • Keep gutters in good repair. Leaves and other debris can collect in your gutters and clog downspouts, creating a spot for water to gather. Clearing the gutters with a garden hose will prevent clogs and keep the downspout clear of obstructions. Also look for signs of cracking, rust, sagging or damaged fasteners or seals and replace as needed.
  • Inspect flashings and pipe collars. Broken chimney and vent flashings and pipe collars could lead to leaks; checking them regularly allows you the opportunity to have them repaired or replaced before a leak begins or worsens.

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What Not To Do

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Do not ignore signs of mold, mildew, moss or algae. Call a professional to rid your roof of these damaging growths.

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Do not power wash your roof. The pressure of the water could cause more damage to the roofing materials and/or create leaks.

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Do not take it upon yourself to patch or repair any damage you encounter while checking your roof. You could cause more damage or void the warranty. Call a professional.

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Do not make it a habit to walk around on your roof. You could step on a weak spot, causing more damage and even injuring yourself. You could also create damage to the shingles by walking on them.

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Do not go the cheap route. While the least expensive materials and labor may not necessarily be inferior, there is something to be said about the adage ‘you get what you pay for.’ Think about the safety of your home, or simply extending the longevity of your roof. It’s better to shell out more money on a better roof than to lose potentially even more later.