Infographic that shows how to spot a roof leak and what to do if you have one.

How to spot a roof leak and know what to do

What are the signs of a roof leak, and what steps should you take to stop the damage? Here's what to do when you're faced with a leaking roof.

Most homeowners or renters might be able to tell you the age of their roof, but beyond that, there's uncertainty. Take a roof leak, for example: The first sign of a leaking roof for many is a stain on a ceiling or wall. Fortunately, there are some clear steps you can take to learn how to find a roof leak and help stop damage before it gets worse.

For example, a simple visual inspection of roof shingles — while standing safely on the ground — can help you identify spots where the roof might be wearing unevenly or where shingles are missing or damaged. Gutters and downspouts should be in good condition and kept free of debris that may prevent water from draining off the roof.

What are the early warning signs that you have a roof leak, and what should you do if you discover a leaking roof? Many roof leaks make an appearance during a heavy rainstorm, but other signs may indicate that you have a hidden roof leak that's causing damage.

Signs of a roof leak


  • Mold: Any signs of mold or mildew may indicate moisture is entering the home.
  • Dampness or stains: Check ceilings and walls for bubbles in the paint or water stains.

Outside (use binoculars to inspect the roof from the ground)

  • Roof shingles: Look for missing, torn, cracked, curling or damaged shingles.
  • Roof flashing: Cracks in the caulk or missing pieces may allow water to seep in.
  • Gutters: Are sections of the gutters drooping? Does the gutter overflow when it rains?

The risks of a leaking roof

  • Damage to the interior of your home and your personal property.
  • Falling hazards from wet, slippery surfaces.

Find the leak

Whether or not you know where the leak is entering your home, contact a roofing specialist to help you find the specific source of the leak and make temporary repairs.

Prevent future leaks

  • It's important to have your roof routinely inspected and maintained by a professional roofing contractor.
  • Keep tree limbs cut back to prevent them from touching the roofing surface.
  • When leaks occur, get them fixed as quickly as you can — newer roofs may simply require repair; older roofs may require replacement.

Check out these simple insights for more tips on maintaining your home.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates). While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. State Farm is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.

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