My Roof is Leaking – Now What?

What to Do When Your Roof is Leaking

A dreaded end to a rainy day is finding that a leak has sprung in your roof. This is a source of panic for many homeowners but knowing what to do in the event of a leak can help to minimize the stress associated with fixing it. Follow these steps:

Collect water in a bucket.

If it is still raining, collect water in a bucket and dump as necessary. If the water has started to leak through to your home instead of just in the attic, make sure the water has a hole to get through without spreading and collecting in any walls or in your ceiling. This helps to minimize the interior damage.

Find the leak.

Once you have the interior managed, find the leak if you don’t know where it is coming from. The best place to start is in your attic. Look for where water is dripping down but be sure to trace if it is running off from another area first. If you aren’t sure, wait until the weather clears and look for water spots or areas that daylight is seeping through. You may also need a second person to go on the roof with a garden hose and spray water while one person is inside the attic watching for where the water comes through.

Temporarily fix the leak.

Once you have located the leak, there are several temporary fixes to help until you can officially fix the leak. You can use roofing cement or tape which is applied in the interior of the attic. If you have a tarp or heavy plastic sheeting, you can use it to cover the damaged area. Keep the tarp or sheeting in place by affixing the tarp to 2×4 boards but do not nail to your roof as you will do further damage.

Call a professional roofer.

Unless you have experience and confidence in working on steep roofs, this is a job best left to professionals. They can make sure the leak is fully addressed without causing further damage to your roof.