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7 Key Things to Do If Your Roof Is Leaking

Leaking roof with tarp

Roof Leaks Are Awful!!

Roof leaks aren’t fun for homeowners. Your home is a place that should make you feel safe and protected from the outdoors. Unfortunately, outside elements like rain and snow can creep their way into your house, whether you like it or not. Incidents happen, and when they do, it’s best to take action as soon as possible — especially when there’s a possibility of water damage to your home.


Roof leaks happen over time as your shingles age. Your roof could be missing shingles, you might need new flashing, or some areas of your roof might need repair with some roof sealant, tar or caulk. Small leaks can quickly lead to big leaks. When you see that your roof is leaking, it’s best to take action as soon as possible — especially when there’s a possibility of water damage to your home.


If you find that your roof is leaking, you can do some key things to manage the situation and minimize any potential damage from the water.


Here Are Seven Steps To Follow When Your Roof Is Leaking:

1. Move Or Cover Important Items In Your Home So They Don’t Get Wet

When your roof is leaking, it can cause damage in your attic, to your ceilings and to your belongings in your home. The last thing you want is to ruin some of your belongings in your house in the process. If the roof is leaking over your bed, clothing, or furniture, it’s time to clear the area by moving what you can move! Limit water damage and stains by using a bucket or a tarp to cover carpeting and other pieces of furniture that you can’t move.

Water damage can destroy some of your precious belongings, and nobody wants that. Not to mention, some fabrics trap water and create a dreadful mildew smell. So whatever you can move or push out of the way, do it ASAP!

2. Contain The Leaking Water As Much As You Can

If you have a leaking roof, try to contain it as much as possible. Grab buckets, garbage cans, towels, and anything else you can find to capture the water to reduce the impact and damage that water causes.

Leaking water from the roof can also cause water damage to your floors. Make sure you have several containers nearby that can catch the water and empty them regularly to reduce the risk of overflow.

Also read: 9 Telltale Signs of a Damaged Roof

3. Relieve Water Pressure If Their Is A Bulge In Your Ceiling

A sagging bulge hanging from your ceiling is a sign that there’s water collecting in that spot. Although it might seem unwise to poke a hole in the area, do it. If you leave it, the water could spread and cause more severe damage to the ceiling.

Plus, it could eventually erupt on its own and create a larger mess. Use a screwdriver to puncture the lowest point of the bulge carefully, and put a bucket underneath it to catch the water. Several punctures may be necessary, depending on the size of the leak.

4. Tarp the Roof & Use Fasteners To Nail It Down

If you can’t get your leaking roof fixed right away for some reason, a tarp is the next best option. Cover the problem area with a tarp when the roof is safe enough to climb. (If you cannot safely get on your roof, call a professional roofer like Above Roofing.)

Sometimes the problem areas are hard to find. If you have trouble, try to determine the problem area based on where the leak is inside. Please read our article: Roof Repair: 9 Common Issues and the Easiest Way to Fix Them. Use a tarp that’s at least six millimeters thick and extends a minimum of four feet across the problem area and up to the peak. If the peak is too far away, tuck the tarp under shingles and use roofing nails to hold the tarp in place & to prevent water from going underneath the tarp.

That way, it provides plenty of protection around the perimeter and ensures that the area is completely covered.

5. Take Photos for Insurance Documentation

Do you want to know what to do if your roof is leaking? It’s this step! Documenting your damages will come in handy when you file your home insurance claim if the damage is eligible for a claim. We cannot overstate how important it is to take photos and document everything.

Not only does it show the severity of the roof damage, but also the other items that were compromised. If the roof leak ruined your television, computer, furniture, bedding, or kitchen, document it. Your insurance could potentially fix the roof and replace the items you lost.

If you are handy and think you can fix your roof yourself, check out these suggestions from Family Handyman. However, we highly recommend contacting  us or another professional roofer if your roof is leaking for professional roof repair. There are many things to know when working on roofs, and safety is always the number one concern!

Damaged shingles on a house

6. Call a Professional Roofing Company

Taking on a home improvement project may not seem like a big deal to do-it-yourself homeowners, but some leak sources may go unnoticed and cause more damage later. A leaking roof is a big undertaking, so it’s best to call the pros. The longer you wait, the worse the problem could get. There’s only so much you can do to manage the situation, so it may need fixing before it snows or rains again. 

Professional roofers can repair the damaged area and assess other spots on your roof that may need repair or reconstruction. We recommend that you contact a local roofing contractor to get your roof fixed correctly. 

7. Complete Regular Roof Maintenance

After the roof is fixed and things are back to normal, there’s more work to be done. Doing routine maintenance on your roof is the best way to prevent leaks in the future. Your roof takes on a lot of wear and tear, and it’s exposed to harsh outside elements. Routine roof maintenance includes:

  1. Inspecting for any trees that may have grown too close to your roof, and, if so, cutting back limbs and branches

  2. Ensuring that  gutters and downspouts have not become clogged with leaves or other debris. Water must be able to run away from your house as designed.

  3. Checking for any damage after severe weather, such as loose or missing shingles or any penetrations that could cause a leak.

  4. Looking for any cracks in the chimney or your roof vents, especially your vent boots. (Tip: Caulk or tar may be applied to small cracks for a temporary fix.)

  5. Locating and replacing any curled or split shingles

Weather conditions like rain, snow, and hail weaken the shingles over time. Ensure that your house stays in good condition by properly maintaining major systems, such as your roof. It is wise to start thinking about saving for a new roof when the time comes. Being proactive will save you a lot of stress and headaches later on.

Sometimes, finding the source of a leak is more complicated than simply spotting a hole in your attic’s ceiling. From failing flashing to clogged gutters to crumbling shingles, the list of potential causes is very long.

–Bob Vila, From Solved, What To Do About A Leaky Roof

Roof Leaks Are Dangerous!

A roof leak is frustrating, but it’s also hazardous. Here are a few things to be aware of:

  • Mold

    • Leaks that aren’t corrected right away can cause mold. Moisture is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which is a huge problem.

    • Mold can create health concerns, but it could also ruin wall and flooring coverings, wood framing, and ceiling tiles.

    • The presence of mold can decrease the value and marketability of your home.

  • Fire & Electrocution Hazards

    • Roof leaks are a fire hazard if the water gets into your home’s electrical wiring. It can short circuit the wires and spark the surrounding areas. Plus, it can cause electrocution if touched.

  • Higher Energy Bills

    • An influx of water might increase energy bills due to water build-up ruining the insulation. You can expect to see a noticeable difference in your utility bill if that happens.

  • Attic and Ceiling Damage

    • Water leaks could pose a threat to your attic. The leaks may create an issue with ventilation in the attic, which affects the comfort level throughout the rest of the house.

    • It also creates damage to the ceiling. Leaking water makes brown stains on the ceiling, messes up the paint, and makes plaster bubble up and expand.

If Your Roof Is Leaking, Call Above Roofing. We Will Fix It For You.

When your roof is leaking, don’t panic! Sure, it’s a huge inconvenience to have a leaking roof. But if you follow the steps above, they’ll help you get the situation under control. With that said, there’s only so much you can do on your own, and you’ll probably need professional assistance.

If you need roof repair services for your home and cannot do it yourself,  we’ve got you covered. We’re located in Jenison, MI, and we service Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas.

Our team of roofing specialists is happy to assist you. Also, you can take advantage of our free roof inspection to determine your roofing needs! Our estimators and roofing specialists are experts in pitched asphalt shingles and Velux Skylight products.

Contact us at Above Roofing for help if your roof is leaking. Call 616-662-7663.

1. If you have an active leak, call us for our Rapid Response service.
2. If it is not an emergency, we will send out one of our professional roofing specialists and do a free roof inspection

Benefits of working with Above Roofing:

  • We are an established family-owned & operated roofing contractor located in West Michigan
  • Above Roofing has served 1000s of West Michigan homeowners for over 25 years

  • We use high-quality roofing products and employ roofing specialists to fix or replace your roof correctly

  • Provide a Lifetime Workmanship Warranty for the installation of your new roof

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