If you have an older roof or if recent storms have you worried about the state of your roof, then you may be concerned that a hidden leak causing unknown damage to your home. Fortunately, there are ways to assess your home for hidden leaks so you can catch them early -- before major damage occurs. The following are a few techniques you can use to spot issues.
Perform a daylight test
Just as the name implies, a daylight test must be performed on a sunny day. Simply go up into the attic and turn off all the lights. If you only have hatch access to your attic and it can't be shut from inside, you may need to drape a blanket over the hatch to block out light. Allow a few minutes for your eyes to adjust, then carefully inspect the entire ceiling in the attic. If you spot any streams of light coming in, then you can be sure that water is also making its way through those chinks. The only exception is if the light is coming through any vents built into the eaves, as these are designed to keep moisture out.
Check your insulation
If you have an unfinished attic, then it is likely lined with insulation. Unfortunately, many types of insulation behave like a sponge. This is a problem because the moisture trapped in the insulation can be enough to rot the ceiling joists and drywall it rests upon, while still preventing the obvious leaks that would clue you into the roof problem. The best way to spot moisture damage on insulation is to use your eyes and nose. Wet insulation will appear darker in color, shiny, or even compacted. You will also get a distinctive musty whiff when you inhale.
Inspect for paint damage
Paint damage on ceilings or even a wall can be caused by a leak. Specifically, if the paint appears to bubble or blister, the culprit is likely water soaking through the wall boards and damage the paint from underneath. Although this is most likely to happen on the ceiling, in some cases the damage occurs on the wall. This is because water leaking through the roof takes the path of least resistance. If water flows toward a wall, it may continue downward until it hits a stud or support in the wall where it then collects and begins to seep through the wall board.
If you suspect that you have a leak, contact a roofing service right away.