DIY & Homeowner Tips

My Roof is Leaking – What Do I Do and the Dangers of Waiting

No one ever wants to find water leaking from their ceiling. Whether you are home when the leak starts or come home to it, it is important that you take immediate action to avoid further damage to your home.

Contain the Leak

If you find water dripping from a bulges or discoloration in your ceiling, it’s likely that water is pooling on the other side of that bulge or dark spot. Grab a bucket, trash can, or some other container and place it under the site of the drip or suspected leak. You may even want to consider propping up a board inside the container so the drips hit the board and not the accumulated water. This will minimize the repetitive dripping sound.

Next, take an old screwdriver, locate the center of the bulge where water is accumulating and puncture it right in the middle. Though it might seem strange to punch a hole in your ceiling to stop a leak, the new hole will allow the water to drain smoothly and relieve pressure on the rest of your ceiling. If water accumulates and pools, the entire ceiling could collapse.

Download our How to Repair a Roof Leak Step by Step Guide

If you are confident you know where the leak is coming from and can safely get to the source, cover the exterior surface with a large tarp. If you can’t reach it, or feel unsafe doing so, it would be best to immediately contact a roofing professional. Many credible roofing companies offer emergency tarping services. As you may already know, unfortunately if your roof is actively leaking due to weather, a roofing professional can not repair the leak until that weather has stopped. The tarping service will act as a temporary fix to minimize the damage inside your home until your roofer can fix the problem.

An experienced roofing professional will inspect your roof both from the exterior of the roof itself as well as the inside of your home, typically through the attic. Inspecting the underside of the roof sheeting can show signs of water damage, however it is not a foolproof method so inspecting the roof for damage is needed as well.

Dangers of Waiting

It is important to act quickly when it comes to a roof leak. Leaky roofs never fix themselves or get better on their own. Even if the leak isn’t bad yet. Get it fixed now. Often we hear from homeowners that they noticed a stain on their ceiling or possibly some bubbling for awhile but thought it wasn’t serious. Avoidance and ignoring will not fix a leak in your roof. Many times by the time you notice damage within your home it is already too late. The National Roofing Contractors Association recommends inspecting your roof twice a year, in the fall and spring. Here is what to look for to prevent a fixable issue from turning into a damaging and costly repair:

On the inside, you should look for:

  • Dark spots
  • Spots where outside light shines through
  • Sagging

On the outside, you should keep an eye out for:

  • Missing, warped, rotting, peeling, broken, blistering, or buckling shingles
  • Clogged or slow-draining gutters/downspouts
  • Loose material or wear around chimneys or vents

If your roof is fewer than 15 years old, it can probably be spot-repaired instead of requiring a total replacement. Just remember that a small leak will not go away — it will only get worse.

Roof leaks are typically just signs of a much larger problem. Both danger and the probability of structural erosion increase if unaddressed. Regular inspections are your best defense against a leaky roof. Be vigilant, search for leaks, and talk with your contractor about the condition of your roof regularly.

 

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