Roof leak

A friend asked me to repair a roof leak.
During rain, he gets water leaking around a light fixture.
I thought about drilling a small hole from around the fixture thru the roof and shingles in order to narrow down the location.
I could then re-shingle that area.
What do you think ?
Appreciate any feedback.
Thanks, Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 7 Jan 2015 23:16:27 -0800 (PST), Andy

HUH???????
Isn't there an attic above the fixture? You might need an 8 foot long drill bit!
DO NOT DO THAT. Leaks are usually not near where the water enters. It's just that the fixture is an easy place for the water to drip in.
Go in the attic above it and look for a leak or wet insulation and stains on the wood. If there is no attic,
Measure the distance from the wall, and from the end of the house. Go on the roof, measure the same distances, mark the roof with chalk. (If there's an overhang on the roof, add that amount.
Now you should be right over the fixture. Start looking for holes, popped nails, and cracks in the shingles. Repair as needed with roof cement, and pound down loose nails. Replace bad shingles, etc.
Leaks are usually AT or UPHILL from the place they drip. (But not always).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 7 Jan 2015 23:16:27 -0800 (PST), Andy

Is this a flat roof?
Is it a pitched roof? Is the light fixture in a finished attic, or on the ceiling below the attic? If the latter, have you been up in the attic?

I think drilling a hole will make another hole.

And leaks very often do not come from just above where they show up. Water travels partially sideways for a variety of reasons.
Now I've only found one roof leak, when it was obvious, but I think you should look on the roof and look for something not right.
The leak I found was around the round metal chimney. There was supposed to be a 2" collar that was missing, and the black roof caulk had dried up in the sun, or it wasnt' put on well. Well, I could tell it had failed a while earlier (and the house was only 4 years old) because the previous owner had tried to caulk from the inside, which usually doesn't work. (Well, I bought the house in May and it started dripping in November iirc, and it rained a lot in between so maybe it did work for a while, but I think it's more likely it had been dripping where I didn't see it.)
Despite leaking around the chimney, it dripped in my bedroom, below the attic, about 4 feet from the chimney. I never bothered to figure out how it traveled the 4 feet. I just recaulked around the chimney,, and later I got a new collar.
But that's only one possible source of a leak.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thursday, January 8, 2015 3:09:18 AM UTC-5, micky wrote:

Agree with all that. Not nearly enough info from the OP. For sure, drilling a hole in the roof is a bad idea. He can identify the target area on the roof by doing some measuring, if necessary and then look for defects on the roof. That's where I'd start.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy wrote:

Hi, Sounds like flat roof? Water does not travel straight. It is hard to find where the origin of leak is always. If you do that, you may create more problem without fixing original leak.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 10:55:36 AM UTC-6, Tony Hwang wrote:

There is no attic in the general area of the leak(s).
Just solid wood planks.
It's a hardware store that was originally a home, and was also a restaurant at one time.
It is in sore need of a shingle job. :-)
I see no way of finding the leak(s) other than pulling up shingles.
Any ideas ?
About a year ago, I replaced a 4 ft. X 20 ft. area of wood and shingles on a bottom edge on one side.
It has a large chimney.
I went into the attic but could not find any evidence of wet wood etc.
The owner is not willing to spend money to do the job right. :-(
He has five buckets to catch the water. :-)
I am surprised that none of the lights have shorted out.
Andy
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thursday, January 8, 2015 1:30:40 PM UTC-5, Andy wrote:

Whatever that means. Pitched roof? Flat roof?

Inspect the roof for defects in the area of the leak.

More confusion. Whether it has a large chimney or a small chimney isn't relevant. If the leak is near the chimney, that would be relevant.

I thought it didn't have an attic?

What does doing the job right consist of? I'm guessing the roof is past the end of life and needs replacement.

For a leak around one light? Must be a good one.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/8/2015 1:30 PM, Andy wrote:

I'd apologize that I was busy, and slowly back away from this job. And never go back.
It's a disaster in the making, with you as the culprit when your patch doesn't work.
- . Christopher A. Young learn more about Jesus . www.lds.org . .
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy wrote: ...

is it flat or sloped?

uhoh, do not go up there without putting down some protective layer over the shingles first. often just walking on old roofs will make matters much worse.
do not put shingles on a flat roof (so it must be sloped).

next time it leaks turn off the power and pull the light out and see where the water is coming in from and then trace it back.

they'll spend more in paying for repairs and damage that those repairs will end up causing more leaks.

sounds like a place i'd avoid hanging out in or doing work for. you want to be the electrocuted person poster child for Jan 2015?
songbird
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 8 Jan 2015 10:30:36 -0800 (PST), Andy

Sounds like you already know the solution!

Keep replacing shingles.....

I sounds like you're paying rent to a slum lnadlord. Refuse to pay rent, use the money for roofing.... Or just move! Legally, landlords dont have to pay for cosmetic repairs, but when it's a safety issue, there are laws which force them to do repairs like this. Not to mention that neglecting a roof will cause permanent severe damage to a building real quickly.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 1/8/2015 2:16 AM, Andy wrote:

I was once faced with precisely the same situation. Our friend was disabled and could not get to attic to look for leak and, knowing my husband was a handy guy, asked him to take a look. Hubby and I went up to see; fortunately, it was raining at the time and we could see where the leak originated and where water ran down the rafter and found a low spot at the ceiling light fixture in a bedroom. Our good fortune was another friend, a very charitable one, who worked for the roofer who did our condo roof. We asked the roofer to take a look and, if it was a job he could handle, to quote a lower price to the owner and we would pay for it. Roofer did the repair, no charge.
It might be a good idea to drill a couple of holes, just to allow the water to drain. Be aware that if the ceiling is saturated it might fall. I would also turn off the breaker to avoid shorts.
What's the weather there? Good idea to have a roofer take a look and get estimates.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
In typed:

trader_4,
I agree with all of your comments above.
Andy (OP),
You seem to be very vague in describing what you have (sloped roof, flat roof, sloped ceiling, flat ceiling, attic, etc.). If this is a for-real post by you, it would help if you could explain better what is there now. And, even a couple of photos from the inside and outside would probably help (via http://tinypic.com/for example).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

roof and shingles in order to narrow down the location.

Sometimes running a hose on a portion of the roof, then checking for leaks will save having to deal with it in the rain.
Look for areas where rain can get underneath flashing, like valleys, around chimneys and vents, where the roof meets a wall, etc.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.