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Tip #220: Hide and Seek

If you’ve every had an issue with a leaky roof, you know how challenging it can be to repair.

Oftentimes, the most difficult task isn’t patching a leak — it’s finding it in the first place!

Hopefully you’ll never find yourself with the tell-tale signs of a roofing leak, but if you do, here are some steps that may speed up the process and increase your chances for success:

Often leaks are not right above where the water is coming through the ceiling. It is not uncommon for the water to dribble down along studs and drywall, ending up far away from the source.

If you have an attic, climb up and look for stains, mildew 0r pests — signs that suggest where the water may be leaking through the roof. That will give you some indication of where you want to be focusing your efforts.

It is best to identify the source of your leak on a rainy day, where your detective work is aided by Mother Nature. But Mother Nature and tenant schedules are not always in sync. So if you can, bring along an assistant. Have them climb up on the roof with a garden hose and flood areas where you think the leak may be.

Even if you cannot pinpoint the exact location of the leak, climb up on the roof and inspect all areas where water could potentially be seeping in, including flashing, skylights, chimneys, vents, broken shingles and any visible damage.

Remember, gravity is your friend when searching for leaks, since the H2O entry point is likely higher than the ultimate area where the water is entering your building.

Don’t skimp on caulking and roofing tar. Buy the best you can afford, with the longest guarantee. Inexpensive caulking can shrink and split, causing you more headaches in the future when the water starts dribbling in again.

See last week’s Landlord Quick Tip.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your rental housing investment, including rental forms, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at www.joinaaoa.org.

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