Steps to take when you discover a leaky roof in your home
Rain, rain, go away, come again another day. Don’t we wish! Wisconsin has had more than enough rain recently and there’s more in the forecast. All this rain might be great for our gardens and lawns, but rainy weather can also mean roof leaks. Unfortunately, when you discover them, it’s often too late. When rain is causing interior damage most people panic, pick up the phone, and try to get a roofer there as soon as possible. But what can you do to temporarily stop the leaks from causing more damage until the roofing contractor arrives?
Minimize Interior Damage
Usually, a leak will slowly pool somewhere in your ceiling or attic, until it finds somewhere else to go, like a vent, or light fixture. After several hours, the leak will spread, causing more damage, and making the leak appear worse than it is. Try and locate a bulge in the ceiling, or what seems to be the wettest spot (water may even be dripping from this spot). Have a bucket nearby to catch the water and poke a small hole in the ceiling. This gives the water an easy way out and will minimize ceiling and drywall damage to your home.
Find the Leak
Grab a flashlight and start looking around the house. The attic is a great place to start. Examine the area above and adjacent to the leak. Look for moisture and/or dripping water. Water from a roof leak will rarely drip straight down from the source of the leak. Carefully check the seams in your roof boards and any beams or trusses for signs of water. Water will generally travel along these lines, sometimes for several feet before it starts dripping down onto the ceiling. Anything penetrating through the roof, such as bath fans, plumbing vents, etc. should be checked for leaks too. If you find the leak and can safely access your attic, placing an additional bucket in the attic to catch the leak will help minimize the damage even further.
Maintain Your Fixes
Once you’ve located the leak, continue to catch as much of the water as possible with the buckets. Periodically check and empty them as needed. Once the rain stops, running a dehumidifier will speed up the drying process and help prevent any mold growth. If the leak is very large, tarping the roof until repairs can be made is an option. However, an option better left to an experienced contractor.
After large storms, reputable contractors can get very busy. These steps will help you prevent further damage to your home until a roofing contractor can perform the repairs. Patience is key in these situations, and you should always be cautious of a contractor who can “fit you in right away.” Do your research and make sure you’ve hired a reputable, local roofing company who is going to stand behind their work.