How can I tell if my roof is leaking

I have a flat gravel roof in my one story townhouse in Miami. It seems that I have had an unknown leak for about 2 years. Unfortunately the water has been leaking into the vanity room behind the wallboard which is completely covered by a 6 ft mirror and a 6 ft wall to wall vanity cabinet. In August 2006 the rain water started coming out of the light fixture over the vanity. I hired a roofer to fix it. But he could not do it for 3 weeks because of the daily raining. So we had an extended period of time during which water was leaking in behind the wallboard. In anticipation of a mold problem I am planning to have a contractor breakout the cabinet and mirror to get at the wallboard and then replace everything with new items. The problem is that I dont know if the leak is completely repaired and for how long. The roof is 16 years old. The roofer says that this type of repair usually lasts for about a year. So the question is can I get some kind of moisture detector unit to test the popcorn wallboard ceiling, from time to time, so I can try to avoid the expensive job of replacing the vanity again?..thank you…Nat

hello natsara,
well you dont want to fix somethin , then in a year have to come back and redo it all again.
so fix new, the area of roof thats causin leak, then tear out drywall needin replaced, but dont fix it till ya have a couple of GOOD rains and can see for sure your leak area is stopped.
you can hang a white sheet over the area while waitin for rain.
if it does leak then you havent ruined your drywall again.
and if its ok then replace drywall.

good luck.

and i dont like the fact that someones sellin you a 1 yr repair.
i dont do such a thing.
a year comes to fast.


Gweedo, thanks.
You said to fix it new, the area causing the leak…what does that mean to fix it new. This is a flat gravel roof 16years old. The area causing the leak is about five feet along the perimeter at the wall area where my one story townhouse is next to the neighbors 2 story townhouse. The roofer said that a previous repairer just poured the blackstuff close to the wall when he needed to come further out away from the wall. We have high prices on roofing in Miami. I paid him $650 and he put down a 5 ft x 3 ft sheet from a roll. One man spent about 1 hour time. The roofer said to replace the roof would be about 15000.00. Maybe the roofer said that this type repair only lasts on average for one year in order to cover himself in case there is a breakdown. The State Farm claims man felt that except for the area near the adjacent two story wall, the rest of the roof did not look bad. They would not pay for the roof The leak was probably caused 3 years ago when roofers were using my roof to work on the neighbors 2 story roof, but I cant prove that…Nat

I never knew my roof was leaking. I was up there to pull out the stupid bats that were wrapped in paper and stuffed into every single rafter space. Got them out and rafter mates in. Pulling all the pink fiberglass back the cellolouse under was wet.

Scouped it out, weighed more than Rosanne then the first time it rained water was pissing into the home, even the hardwood floor in the living room, hell I only have six bath towels including the one that can stand on it’s own…

If I had not found the plugged roof rafters which the last roofer did not check for so his job did not last it’s time I would not have gone into the attic for a while, what I learned that taking the insulation out actually worked against me at that point as it helping to hold back most of the water.

For all you guys who say you check ventilation and address it good for you for doing a decent job, I have seen two who could not care less.

Yeah Gweedo a year sure goes fast, weeks just fly by, it is monday then it is friday seems like a day later.


Did he say it would only last a year or it was warranted for a year?

HI Aaron,

No it was a roof done years before, It was not evident it was leaking till I was in the attic. Then I could see, I took out the wet insulation then the next time it rained the water made it inside the home.


Aaron, thanks

The roofer said that repairs last on average about 1 year.
The subject of a warrantee never came up…The ceiling was getting stained. But I thought it was due to a discoloration from an earlier leak
that had been repaired. Maybe I could have caught the continuing problem earlier if I had a moisture meter. I had a mold remediation person in. He pressed a moisture meter to the popcorn ceiling. But it wasnt a good test because it hadnt rained for a week. Is there a low cost moisture detector that I could use from time to time after a rain spell…Nat

All my repairs have a 5 year warranty. I dont believe in 1 year warranty sounds like a caulk gun repair. Not the way to go.

I know absolutely nothing about this topic but I did a search for “moisture meter” and all sorts of sites popped up, the prices range from $69 to $1,000. I’ve never used one, am not recommending any certain one but did want to share that piece of info. Perhaps someone here has experience with one?

by fixin it new i meant the area over the leak, to do that section, but you have a rock flat roof, its harder to do just one section.

you have a condo in miami with a 16 yr old rock roof, that probably wasnt done that good when built. and bein that old you can forget about repairin it properly. its just going to be to weak of a roof to handle the beatin it takes to tyin a repair.
dont waste your money on any more repairs.
put it twards a new roof.

make sure your neighbors not leakin on the other side of the wall.
may be their roof, along the edge, above your wall, leakin.

DO NOT poor any more goop along your wall. its just gonna cost you more money to tear it off.

one more thing, im very familar with stucko condo walls in florida.
make sure you dont have a stukco wall problem.


I would definitley say that most 16 year old BUR with ravel roofs can be repaired, if your roofer knows how. It does NOT involve any pourable goop, though.

16 years is nothing for a good built up.