The signs of a leaking roof are subtle until they’re not. By the time you notice there’s a pool of water forming on your ceiling, the damage has already been done. To prevent much bigger issues, it’s important you know what to do the moment you realize your roof has a leak. Act fast and follow these steps if you suspect your roof is leaking.
Signs Your Roof Is Leaking
Most of the time you won’t know your roof is leaking until the water has made its way through several layers of roofing material to the inside of your home. From there, the leak will form a small puddle in the attic or ceiling until it finds an exit strategy, likely through a light fixture or heating register. It is at this point that you will notice water stains on ceiling joints or in corners of your ceiling. Once you notice the leak, it’s time to take action.
What To Do If Your Roof Is Leaking
1. Shut Off Power & Move Furniture
The first thing you should do is shut off electrical power to the portion of your home that the leak is in. Be sure to unplug and remove any electrical appliances that are near the source of the leak. You do not want to cause an electrical fire in addition to a leaking roof. Once that is done, it’s time to remove any furniture or personal items that are under or near the leak. If any items have become wet, be sure to move them to a well-ventilated area so they can start drying.
If you have large pieces of furniture you cannot move, be sure to cover them with plastic sheeting to try and protect them from further water damage. Water damage can lead to warping, rotting and mold growth — things you want to avoid in your furniture.
2. Contain The Water
Next, you need to contain the water that may be flowing down from your ceiling. The larger the leak is, the bigger the container you will need. You can use any kind of container you have on hand, but large plastic buckets are ideal. Think mopping buckets or large Tupperware containers used for storage. Your garbage or recycling bins are a great option for larger leaks.
To avoid hearing an annoying drip noise all night, try this string trick. Pin a long piece of string as close to the leak as possible so that the water will quietly slide down it into the bucket below. If you don’t have string nearby, you can always put an old t-shirt or towel into the bucket to help minimize the sound.
Another step in properly containing the water is to keep an eye on water build up in your ceiling. If a pocket of water gets too large it can actually cause further damage by bursting and ripping down a fair portion of the ceiling. To avoid this from happening, poke a small hole in these water pockets before they become too large. Be very careful when doing this and only do it if you’re concerned about how large the pockets of water are becoming. If they are small enough, you can wait for a pro to arrive to address the situation.
3. Connect With A Pro
A leaking roof is no small task and you should not attempt to repair it yourself. Once you have contained the leak and have removed your personal belongings, you need to find a pro as soon as possible. Roof leaks can be tricky to locate as the point of entry is often in a completely different place than the wet spot on your ceiling. You may be surprised to find that the source of your leak isn’t even your roof, it could be faulty plumbing. Only a roofing specialist will be able to quickly and accurately locate the leak and address the situation.
While you may be tempted to go with the first company that responds, it’s important to make sure the company you hire meets a few critical credentials:
- Fixing a roof can be dangerous work so make sure the company you hire is licensed and insured.
- The company should agree to locate and repair all damaged wood before they begin re-roofing.
- Ask about the expected life of the roof after repairs and if there is a guarantee it will not leak again.
4. Start Planning The Clean Up Process
Once you have found a roofing company, your next step is to start looking for a water damage restoration company. While you may think you can take care of the mess with a mop and bucket, it’s best to hire the experts. They will have the special equipment it takes to dehumidify and sanitize your home back to normal. If you leave the water damage alone you will soon have much bigger problems on your hands. Water damaged wood can lead to dangerous bacteria and mold growth, rotted wood in beams resulting in a weakened structure, and soaked insulation could lead to an eventual ceiling collapse. To avoid these issues on top of your roofing ones, it’s best to connect with a water damage restoration pro.
5. Be Prepared For Future Issues
It’s safe to assume that dealing with a leaking roof is a once in a lifetime experience you do not want to have again. The best way to stop your roof from leaking again is to catch any problems before they happen. To do this, you should invest in an annual roof inspection. While you may think this is an unnecessary cost, it’s much less expensive than having to deal with a leaking roof again.
By the time you notice your roof is leaking, the majority of the damage has already been done. This is why it is so important to act fast and connect with a pro the moment you notice a wet spot on your ceiling. The only way to fix a leak is to address it, ignoring it will only lead to bigger and more expensive issues. Take our advice and connect with a roofer at the first sign of a leak.