Your guide to leaky roof damage control
May 9, 2022
Is your ceiling cracked or sagging, or are there water stains on it? These are all signs of a leaky roof. It feels like a cataclysm – but you don’t need to panic. Here’s how to handle a leak (as low-stress as possible), from buckets on the floor through to patching and replacement.
Mitigate the damage
When you have a leaky roof, the first thing you want to do is move things out of the way. You certainly don’t want anything to get ruined, especially fabrics, which results in a nasty mildew smell that adds insult to injury.
Time for buckets
After you move items out of the way, you’ll want to contain the water. Failure to do so could lead to damage to your floor, which is especially bad if you have carpet. So, grab some buckets, bowls, pots – whatever will hold a lot of water – and strategically place them where the drips are occurring. Take note of how quickly they fill up, so you can switch out the containers and prevent overflow.
Alleviate water pressure
If your ceiling is sagging anywhere, that means water is collecting in that spot. You’ll want to relieve the water pressure and direct it into a container. That’s certainly better than letting the water damage spread to other parts of the ceiling or bursting on its own, potentially creating a larger mess. Use a pointed implement, such as a screwdriver, to carefully puncture the bulge.
Call the professionals
Once the water is contained, you’ll want to contact a roofing company like Keyprime to get a professional opinion. There are steps you can take before your roof is officially fixed, but you’ll want to start the process with a roofing company as soon as possible. Not only will they be able to repair the leak, but also assess other areas that may need repair or reconstruction before you end up with another leak.
Locate the leak
Your contractor may not be immediately available, so you may need to locate the leak yourself. Use a pair of binoculars to look for obvious signs of damage. Check the attic next. Note that the leak likely isn’t located directly above the water spot. Look specifically for wet patches, signs of mold, damaged insulation, and foreign objects that may have punctured the roof. Once you locate the leak, push something through it to help you find it on the roof. If you can’t find it, you may need to run a hose on the roof and have someone watch for the water running inside.
Patch the roof
If you’re comfortable going on your roof, you may want to patch it temporarily, especially if more rain is on the way. Use boards, tarps, or plastic sheeting to cover the leak. Large holes may require you to support plastic in the center to prevent it from giving in to the weight of the rain. None of this is recommended if sections of your roof are sagging. In that case, wait for a contractor to brace weak areas to prevent injury or further damage.
Document the damage
Your insurance company will need evidence of the damage to your roof and anything else that was ruined by the leak, so be sure to document it well with pictures. If you’re unable to access the roof, have your contractor take pictures of the damage for you.
Have the damage repaired
You won’t want to rely on a short-term fix. Certainly don’t count on caulk or roof cement as a long-term solution. Fixing the problem correctly is paramount for the integrity of your roof, your possessions, and – most importantly – your well-being. Your best bet is to have it repaired professionally.
Prevent future damage
After you go through the headache of dealing with a leak, you won’t want to do it ever again. When you contact a contractor about the leak, be sure to have them assess your entire roof. You may need a completely new roof right away. Or, if only one area was damaged, that might not be necessary right away. Either way, you’ll want to develop a plan for properly maintaining your roof. Our Keyprime team has the expertise to help you address your leak and prevent future leaks. Contact us today for a free estimate.