The last thing you want during a rainstorm is water dripping from your ceiling. Your roof is the part of your home responsible for keeping you and your family dry, and when it fails, it can be tough to know what to do. Sure, you can put a bucket or pot under the drip, but that’s just a short-term fix. If you’re looking for the best, most effective way to stop a roof leak in its tracks, or at least until a roofing professional can get to it, here’s what you need to do:
Find the source
If you’ve noticed water stains or drips coming through your ceiling, the first thing you need to do is figure out where the water is coming from. There’s a possibility your roof may not be to blame. Head upstairs and uphill from where you’ve spotted the damage or the leak, to find where the water is coming from. As you make your way up to the attic, check to make sure that none of your plumbing or appliances, like the toilet or washing machine is the culprit.
Take a flashlight
If you’ve noticed water coming through your ceiling, it’ll probably be easy to find the source of the leak because of puddling water, but if you’ve caught the problem in time, it may be a bit more difficult. Take a flashlight with you to shine on the ceiling of the attic to identify any holes in the roof. The flashlight should also help you find any dark spots that indicate water has seeped into the plywood subflooring.
Once you know where the water is coming from, you can control it to an extent. Put buckets out on the floor wherever water is dripping, and do your best to dry the areas that have already gotten wet. Consider your job as triage right now. Do what you can to clean up the worst of the mess, and keep your home as dry as possible while you get to stopping the water temporarily.
Stop Flow of Water Temporarily
Since you’re experiencing a leak, there’s probably something wrong with your roof. Whether you’ve got a hole, a crack in the flashing, or missing shingles, it’s likely that you’re going to need some professional help one way or another. You can’t just let your home continue to damage while you’re waiting for your roofer, though, so it’s a good idea to see what you can do to stop the flow of water until an expert can fix the issue permanently.
Roofing cement or tape
The easiest solution is to apply roofing cement or roofing tape to the inside of your roof to plug the leak. This certainly isn’t a long-term solution, but it should save your home and roof until someone can get together the right tools and materials to stop the roof leak.
Another good way to stop the water from coming in is to place a tarp on top of the space where water is coming in. If you’re feeling agile, you’ll want to take your tarp up on the roof with you, and place it over the leak, so the water is blocked from entering. This is typically a more effective temporary solution than roofing cement or roofing tape, because it stops the water from getting in at all, but it is definitely more dangerous. Only put a tarp up if you have worked on the roof before, and are comfortable securing the tarp.
Call your roofing expert
While you probably could go out to the hardware store and purchase a few shingles to patch up the area, it’s a better idea to call your local roofing expert. Water damage can be tricky, and if the water had been trickling in for a while, you may have more extensive damage to the sub-roofing, which will mean a bigger, more complicated job that’s better suited for a professional.
Additionally, there’s no guarantee that the shingles are to blame. It could be the flashing, a roofing nail that didn’t quite hit its mark, or any number of things that a roofing professional will be able to identify and repair quickly. At the very least, you should have a roofer come out to inspect the damage, to make sure it’s not a larger problem than it seems.
Watch for Roof Damage in the Future
Once you get your current roof damage taken care of, don’t let yourself forget about the potential for problems in the future. Roof damage is much easier, and less expensive, to fix when it’s caught early. That’s why it’s important to be vigilant and watch for signs of potential roof damage. The quicker you diagnose a problem, the easier it will be to fix.
If you’ve got a leak in your roof that needs looking at, give Werner Roofing a call! We’re a trusted local roofer with years of experience. We’ll come out, give your roof and leak a look, and provide you with an estimate before we start any work. Request a free quote, or contact our office at 616-844-5382 to set up your inspection today!