Find a leak as quickly as possible to prevent damage.

How to Find a Leak in Tile Roofing

by Maria Magher

Your roof provides protection and insulation for your home. When the seal around tiles or flashings that connect the tile to the chimney, skylights or other elements on the roof breaks down, leaks can occur, exposing your home to potentially devastating water damage. Finding the source of these leaks as quickly as possible can help you make the necessary repairs and keep your home protected.

Climb up on the roof and inspect the area for obvious signs of damage. You may be able to quickly identify the source of a leak this way.

Check the area around the flashings -- materials that connect the tiles to other items on the roof, such as a chimney or skylight. A common source of leaks is when the sealant around the flashings breaks down.

If the source of the leak is not obvious, you will need to do some sleuthing. Standing on your roof, spray water downward on the tiles, starting at a low point. Water trickles down, so the leak will be downstream from the water. Continue spraying the water to look for the leak, moving up the roof as you go.

Station an assistant inside your attic with a flashlight to look for signs of leaking while you are spraying the roof with water. Your assistant can call you with a walkie-talkie or cell phone when the leak appears and can mark the area with chalk.

When the leak is located from inside, you should then investigate the source around the tiles. Remove some of the tiles with a pry bar to inspect the area for holes, erosion and other damages. Use water marks to trace the damage back to the source of the leak.

Items you will need

  • Ladder
  • Flashlight
  • Chalk
  • Walkie-talkies or cell phones
  • Garden hose


  • Working with an assistant can cut your work in half by eliminating the need to climb on and off the roof to look for signs of leaks and then go back and spray more water.


  • Always be very careful when working on a roof and climbing ladders. Wear proper footwear and set the ladder securely to ensure balance and stability.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

Photo Credits

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