Bubbling paint, dark spots, a sagging ceiling… Yes, these are all signs of a roof leak. Once you realize you have a roof leak, you need to act as quickly as possible to avoid costly water damage.
Below, we’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions for what to do if your roof springs a leak. We’ll explain how to limit the spread of the water and prevent damage until a roofer can arrive.
1. Contain the leak.
Grab a bucket, trash can, waterproof storage bin, or any other watertight container that can catch the water dripping down from the ceiling. While you’re at it, grab a mop or some towels to start soaking up the water that has already collected on the floor.
2. Protect your furniture.
If you can, move your furniture away from the dripping water. If you can’t move your furniture, protect it by covering it with a tarp or plastic sheets. You can even use a camping tent, a pool cover, or a deflated kiddie pool in a pinch.
3. Prevent the water from spreading across your ceiling.
If you notice a particular spot where your ceiling is darkening, bubbling, or bulging, then you know the water will continue to spread from that area. That water can impact your home’s wiring or even cause parts of your ceiling to collapse.
Prevent this by letting the water drain out instead. With a bucket ready to catch falling water, poke a hole in the center of that wet spot with something small, like a screwdriver.
4. Make adjustments if the water is splashing.
If the water is falling with enough force, it might splash out of your bucket and onto the floor. Prevent this by lining the bottom of the bucket with a towel or an old t-shirt. You can also help direct the water into the bucket by pinning a piece of string or dental floss to your ceiling--this will give the water a path downward.
5. Look for the source of the leak.
Now that you’ve done some quick, temporary damage control, it’s best if you can figure out where water is entering your home. Unless you can see water trickling from a pipe, you can bet that you have a roof leak somewhere. If you’re able to investigate your attic, that’s the best place to start looking for entry points. If you can’t find any obvious signs, like holes, mold, or any other visible damage, don’t worry. A roofing professional will be able to find the leak source.
6. Call a roofing contractor.
Rather than climbing up onto your roof, it’s much safer to leave that to the professionals. Many roofing companies offer emergency services so that they can assist you 24 hours a day. If your roof is leaking, it’s most likely because it’s raining outside, which will make your roof even more slippery and treacherous to navigate on your own.
7. Start a more thorough clean-up.
The longer water soaks into your walls, flooring, and furniture, the more you’ll be at risk for mold and water damage. You can use a wet/dry vacuum (like a Shop-Vac) to clean up large puddles on hard flooring and suck up moisture from carpeting. If you don’t have Shop-Vac, you can typically rent one from major home improvement stores.
Heaters and box fans can also help rugs and carpeting dry faster. If your carpet got completely soaked, you might want to roll it back to expose the pad underneath and work on drying that part first. Otherwise, you might get problems with mold growth.
Don’t Wait to Fix a Roof Leak
Postponing a roof repair can result in extensive water damage and a lot of headaches down the road. At Dolan Restoration, we have an after-hours answering service for roofing emergencies, so you can rest assured there will be a live person at the end of the line when you call. Additionally, we offer free roof inspections and quotations for emergency roof repairs.
Give our experts a call at (210) 529-8324 for immediate assistance with your roofing problem.