How To Repair A Leaking Roof Without Breaking The Bank
It can be terrifying to find you have a leak in your home. The first thing which often enters your mind is “How much is this going to cost me?”. Thankfully, in most cases the answer is less than you think.
Let’s look at what you can do to fix most flat roof leaks. If you see any damp patches or water dripping through your ceilings or walls, the time to act is now. The moment you spot a leaking or damaged flat roof is the point in time it will be cheapest to fix.
If any water at all is coming through the roof you need to contain it. You can do this with a bucket. If there is a lot of water coming through, you may want to use a piece of plywood inside the bucket to eliminate the dripping sound which can be rather annoying.
Next, dry up any water which is on the ceiling, floor and walls. This is best done with an old towel or a mop in the case of a wet floor. Now the leak is contained and any wet has been dried up, it is time to identify the source of the leak.
It can be difficult to determine the source of a flat roof leak. It is best to try and diagnose the source on a dry day. Common sources of a roof leak are as follows:
The most obvious sign of a leak is a dirt stained ring on the surface of the roof. The reason for this is, such a ring is a point where water has pooled on your flat roof then found a way to escape through your roofing membrane.
Another common area to find a leaks source is from finding indentations on your roof’s surface. These are caused by impact damage. During high winds debris can land on the flat roofs surface and break the roofing membranes surface. This breaking of the surface leaves an opportunity for water ingress.
You should check around the perimeter of your roof for any points where the roofing system may have pulled away from the wall. This can be because the flashing has pulled away from the wall due to thermal movement (this is where buildings expand and contract as temperatures change throughout the year). If this is the case the flashing will need to be removed and re-fixed by a professional roofing contractor. Another point to check is the wall itself. If there is a crack in the render, water can get under the roofing system by travelling thought the wall. If you see a render crack you should contact a rendering specialist.
If you have a felt roof, the area most susceptible to leaks is where the seams overlap. Unlike liquid systems or mastic asphalt, felt roofs have an inherent weakness at the point the felt sheets meet. If you see the felt has lifted or damp along the seams this is a likely source of a leak. Another problem with felt roofs is around roof details such as skylights and downpipes. As these details, are quite difficult to get a watertight finish they are often defective.
Once you think you have identified the source of your roof leak you should take a hose onto the roof and pour water on to what you believe is the affected area. Wait for a few minutes and see if any water comes through on the other side. If this is the case you have identified a leak.
This does not mean you have eradicated the problem if you solve this, as there may be more than one leak. If you see no water come through you must repeat the identification process and test your hypothesis with a hose until you see water come through the problem area.
Once a leak has been identified it is time to carry out the repair. Liquid roofing expert Andrew Bright of Alphateq Waterproofing recommends Mariseal 250 or Mariseal Detail as the best product a homeowner can use to repair a leaking flat roof. He says “In most cases a tin of Mariseal 250 or Detail will be more than enough to repair any leaks on a domestic roof. This is much more cost effective than calling out a roofing contractor.”
A paint like Mariseal 250 will be the best option in most scenarios. If you have a large dent or a defect around a detail such as a skylight Mariseal Detail will be better. The reason for this is Mariseal Detail comes with reinforcement fibres mixed into the paint. You should carry out any roofing repair on a dry day with no rain forecast for 24 hours. To carry out the repair with either type of waterproofing paint you need to clean the area of any debris and make sure it is completely dry. If there are any large cracks in the roof they should be filled with a PU30 sealant. Next, you should apply a waterproofing primer. Once the primer is dry, you can apply the first coat of Mariseal. Once you have done this you can apply a second coat. Once this has dried your repair is complete. This process normally takes 12 hours. This type of repair is called a patch repair and with a waterproofing paint such as Mariseal the area should have a service life of 25 years.
As you can see the process of identifying a leak may be time consuming and require some work. But, once identified the process of repair is quote simple and will cost less than £100 compared to hiring a roofing contractor which will come it at least £450. Of course, if you are not able to identify the leak yourself or do not have confidence in carrying out the repair you should contact a reputable roofing contractor.
I'm a mum in my mid 30s with over 15 years of childcare experience working as a private nanny, babysitter and a few years as a nursery teacher. Now I've got my own family too! I love finding great products for mums and kids.