What You Should Do With a Leaky Roof

Each year, one out every 50 American homes has an insurance claim for water damage, which makes it one of the most common claims experienced by homeowners. With an average loss of more than $10,000, it’s understandable why it’s so important to fix a problem as soon as possible. One of the frequent causes of liquid incursion is a leaky roof, which can happen at any time of year.

 

Even if you only experience a small nuisance leak during the occasional thunderstorm, prompt action is a crucial step to keep it from progressing to a major problem. If left unchecked, not only could the amount of damage increase, but your insurance company may deny coverage due to inaction. Here are a few steps you should take if you have a leaky roof.

 

Why is Your Roof Leaking?

 

Before taking steps to address your roof problems, you should first find out the cause of the water incursion. Roofs are composed of a series of different components, and it only takes one small problem for a leak to occur. Here are some of the more typical causes of leaks.

 

Missing Shingles

 

Often times, one of the quickest ways to spot if you have a leaky roof is by checking for missing shingles from the ground.  Severe storms often come with heavy winds, and your roofing bears the full brunt of Mother Nature’s abuse. A strong gust of wind is all it takes to rip a shingle away from your home, giving water an easy way to get inside.

 

Debris Buildup

 

Everything needs to fit together tightly for a roof to work properly, which is why debris buildup is your enemy. As twigs, leaves and other natural materials accumulate on top of your house, they can create barriers that prevent water from rolling off your roof properly. The longer liquid sits against your roofing, the higher the chance of a leaky roof.

 

Flashing

 

When shingled surfaces meet other components such as chimneys and vents, homebuilders install metal seals known as flashing to create a tight fit. A leaky roof happens when the silicone sealing compounds around these areas are damaged or nails come loose, which is why it’s important to periodically have your roofing inspected.

 

Clogged Gutters

 

Water needs an easy path off of your roof, and your home’s gutter system provides a direct path down to the ground. If leaves and other debris cause a clog in your gutters, the flow of water will slow down and could find its way through the gaps in your shingles.

 

Age

 

Roofing has to stand up to heat, cold, rain, snow, sleet, ice, wind and other environmental factors, which is why it’s made out of durable materials. Even the sturdiest roofing can’t withstand the abuse forever, and eventually, seals and shingles will break down and cause a leaky roof to occur.

 

What to Do When Your Roof Leaks in Heavy Rain

 

There’s not a lot you can do outside during the storm when your roof starts leaking, but you can take some indoor steps to minimize the damage. If you’re able to head up to the attic, you might be able to pinpoint the problem by following the water’s path. Once you’re done upstairs, turn your attention to other areas of the house affected by the leak:

 

  • Move furniture and other valuable items away from the leak.
  • Place buckets beneath light fixtures and other areas affected by the leaky roof.
  • Use a pin to pop any water-filled blisters in your paint.
  • Put drop cloths or plastic sheeting on the floor near the leak.

After the Storm

 

Once the storm passes and the area dries up, you can take some steps to make sure a leak doesn’t reoccur when the next system rolls through. If you’ve figured out the incursion point and you’re comfortable heading up to the roof, put on a pair of rubber-soled shoes and tie your ladder securely to the building to keep it from falling. You should also have a friend or neighbor on-hand to spot you from the ground in case you have any problems.

 

While you’re up on top of your house, take a tarp or piece of heavy plastic sheeting and place it over the cause of the leaky roof. Make sure the protective sheet is large enough to cover the affected area and create an easy path for water to travel all the way from the roof’s ridge to the eaves. Staple the sheeting to pieces of heavy lumber to hold it in place, but be careful to not staple through and damage your healthy shingles.  

 

How to Fix a Leaky Roof

 

Roof repairs can be a dangerous task, which is why you should always call one of your local roofing contractors to address the damage. Not only is it safer for you, but professional roofers are also better trained to spot the smallest imperfections that could be the cause of your leaky roof. While the thought of replacing your entire roof can be worrisome, many leaks are caused by small problems that can be easily fixed.

 

Don't Ignore Your Roof Leaking

 

It can be tempting to put off repairs to your roofing if you’re able to catch water in bucket or trash cans, but those annoying drips are just the visible symptoms of larger problems. Water has a natural habit of seeking the path of least resistance towards the center of the planet, and it has no problem passing through your drywall, electrical components and other parts of your home on its journey. Not only could this lead to expensive structural damage, but it can also create mold, mildew and other health hazards.

 

Be a Better Homeowner Today

 

Now that you know how to properly address a leaky roof in your building, you’ll be better prepared to prevent significant damage the next time a severe storm rolls through. This is just one issue you could experience as a homeowner, but there are plenty of things you can do to get the most out of your investment. The next time you need help figuring out a home upgrade or repair project, trust Billy.com to refer to you to the best local remodeling contractors in your area.

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