How to find and repair leaks on any roof

The number one cause of flat roof leaks

A flat roof leak can become worrisome to a person as water stain shows on the ceiling. This could cause panic.

I have been repairing leaks for over 35 years and have seen that ninety-nine percent of the time people would blame the material for causing leaks. People automatically assume that the material is defective or a seam has come loose.

What materials do I use to repair a leak?

Most of the time, all you need is a 1/2 gal of Turbo Poly Seal with a Polyester Fleece and brush and you can repair 99% of leaks on any flat roof. Turbo Poly Seal with a Polyester Fleece is all you need to make any roof repair

How do I find a leak on a roof?

From the inside the house measure from 2 diagonal points to the visible stain or leak area and then on the roof use those measurements to find the leak. This will give an approximate idea of what is causing the leak. By using 2 diagonal points inside the house as reference to the leak, use the same points on the roof to locate the leak

You need at least 1 hour to find a leak and make a repair 1 hour.

How to locate a leak on a flat roof

  1. Measure the inside:

    By using diagonal reference points that are recognizable on top of the roof, take the measurement to where the leak can be seen inside

    Take measurements inside room

  2. On top of the roof:

    Use the same reference points and measurement to see where the leak is Take the room measurements and apply on top of roof

  3. Look for the obvious:

    Look for objects like flashing, vent pipe, or curb flashing that needs attention By using 2 diagonal points inside the house as reference to the leak, use the same points on the roof to locate the leak

The truth is ninety-nine percent of the time it is not the flat roof leaking, but rather some object like a vent pipe, skylight, air conditioner unit curb, siding, and adjacent shingle roofs. A leak can originate from the wires of an airconditioner that leads through a Pitch Pocket.

Yes, it is true, even if the leak originates from other objects besides the roof itself, it could cause damage to the substrate. Any leak from a skylight, roof vent, air-conditioner, can seep under the roof membrane causing the plywood to rot.

To detect what is causing a roof leak takes an experienced eye. This is why it seems that many roof technicians can’t fix a leak and get a bad name. People blame the roofer for not fixing leaks and in many cases, it is not the flat roof itself leaking.

Watch this video on how to save a Leaky EPDM Rubber roof from disaster

In this next video, you will see the best method and product to save any EPDM Rubber roof. Leaky flat roofs are common on EPDM Rubber

EPDM Rubber roof seams causing leaks. Watch how to save your roof and extend the life of it

The pictures below show places where possible leaks can be found

Always inspect a chimney from top to bottom

Flat roof leaks caused by chimneys
Leaks caused by chimneys

Ten most common places causing flat roof leaks

  1. Chimneys – The flashing or the chimney crown are always the culprits for causing leaks that show up on a flat roof
  2. Bathroom vent pipe flashing – the rubber boot around the vent pipe deteriorates in the sun and get brittle causing leaks
  3. Curb flashings – Many times the membrane is not properly tucked underneath the flashing of a curb of skylights and air conditioners and will cause leaks
  4. Skylight seal on the top goes bad and can cause a leak
  5. Drains – some drains are not compatible with the rubber membranes and could start leaks
  6. Posts – railing posts are one of the main causes of leaks on a roof with a deck
  7. Door sills – when a door opens out onto a deck, the flashing underneath will cause leaks
  8. Pitch pockets – a pitch pocket is an open bottom container to feed conduit and wires through. Leaks are caused due to drying and cracking tar around conduit and wires.
  9. Flashing against walls – this is almost the number one cause for a flat roof leak
  10. Rubber Roof Seams – seams can cause leaks as to poor workmanship

Pitch Pocket – the number one culprit for causing leaks

As foam insulation deteriorates around a conduit pipe, water will seep in.

Pitch pocket filled with tar. The pipe leading through the pitch pocket will cause leaks
The Foam Insulation around the conduit breaks down allowing water to seep in causing a flat roof leak

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