Help, I have a roof leak! What do I do?

Just imagine being cozy inside your home, dry and protected from the rainstorm outside.  Then suddenly you have water dripping on your expensive furniture or pooling on your electronics.  You need to act fast to reduce the potential damage.

Below is a quick guide on what to do the moment you notice a leak.

Damage Control

  • As quickly as you can, move furniture, rugs, electronics and any other possession away from the leak or cover it with plastic. If the leak is near electrical wiring you may need to turn off the electricity and contact an electrician.

Contain the Water

  • Grab the nearest bucket to collect the incoming water.
  • Check the ceiling for paint bubbles. Those bubbles are probably holding water, so poke the bubbles to release the condensation.
  • Find the wettest spot on the ceiling or where it is bulging and poke a small hole in the middle.This will release the buildup of pooled water before it causes the ceiling to collapse.

Remove the Water

  • Mop up all standing water
  • Use a fan or dehumidifier to help circulate the air
  • If the carpet is wet, pull it up and dry both the carpet and the pad

Check the Attic (Only if it is safe)

  • Look for pools of water, watermarks, stains and discoloration. This will help your insurance and roofing company assess the damage.
  • Take pictures of the damage (in the attic and in the home)
  • Do not go on the roof. Leave this step to the professionals.

Call the insurance company

Alert your insurance company as soon as possible and especially before you start any repair work.

What can a roof leak damage?

  • Structural damage can include damaged rafters, ceiling joists, wall framing and fascia boards.A chronic leak can lead to wood rot, which is expensive to repair.
  • Ceilings and walls can also be damaged. Check the drywall surfaces for dark areas or bubbles.
  • Water damage can create a breeding ground for mold, which can pose serious health risks.Removing mold can be expensive, so you will need to get it treated before it spreads throughout the house.

How do I know if my roof is leaking?

  • Discoloration on the ceiling or walls
  • Moisture on the walls, especially above or below windows
  • Visible moss or mold on the roof or chimney
  • Water spots on exterior walls
  • Leaks behind gutters
  • Musty smell in attic
  • Dampness around light fixtures
  • Granules in downspouts and gutters

Contact a trustworthy roofing company

Get an estimate from a roofing company you trust.  Read our blog on how to choose a roofing company.

There are numerous reasons you need to hire a reputable company to help.

  • Making repairs on your own can invalidate your roofing warranty and interrupt your insurance claim.
  • It can be difficult to find the actual leak. It’s typically not where you think it is so a roofing contractor can make sure the leak is found quickly.
  • They know how to repair the roof safely
  • A roofing contractor can find and repair the problems you may miss, which could cause more damage in the future.

Will your homeowners Insurance cover the cost of repair of a leaking roof?

This really depends on what caused the leak initially.  Most of the time they cover repairs for leaks that are beyond the homeowners control (storm damage, falling tree branches or other falling objects, and vandalism), but not for things you could have controlled (lack of regular maintenance, normal wear and tear, mold, fungus or rot, birds, and insects or normal settling and shrinkage of roof tiles).

How much will it cost to fix a leaky roof?

Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question.  It could range from $150 for a simple repair to the cost of a complete new roof.  Williams Roofing Company offers free estimatesand we will always give you an honest quote on what needs to be fixed.

Preventing future roof leaks

Regular maintenance will help with early detection of leaks and hopefully keep the costs down by fixing any potential problems before they arise.  As was illustrated above, check your attic, inspect the roof from the ground and keep an eye on any trees that need to be trimmed.  Make sure the gutters and downspouts are not clogged and look for signs of wear on your shingles.  And, if you need a maintenance check or inspection, Williams Roofing will be happy to come to your home and give you an honest assessment.