Your home should be your place to relax and unwind after a long day. When an unexpected roof leak comes out of nowhere, panic can quickly set in. For a homeowner, nothing can be quite as frustrating as dealing with a leaky roof. No matter how old or new your roof is, it serves to protect your belongings from the elements.
Incidents happen without warning, and when they do, it’s always best to get professional help as soon as possible. If you discover that your roof is leaking, there are several steps you can take to safeguard your home against damage. Follow these eight easy tips to minimize the risk of damage until an experienced roofing company can help.
1. Clear the Area
Remove valuable items like furniture, pictures, and clothing from the area where you notice the leak. If you have an attic, you may also have to remove items from inside if the leak is directly above. If there are electrical outlets near the source of the leak, carefully cover them with plastic.
2. Minimize Water Damage
The most important step in managing a roof leak is to minimize the damage to the inside of your home. Soak up any existing water with several rags, then place a large tarp over the area. Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, place several buckets directly underneath the leak in case it begins to rain in the middle of the night while you’re asleep. If you notice that the ceiling is bulging or dipping, it’s most likely full of water. Release the water by poking a small hole in the ceiling with a screwdriver.
3. Document the Damage for Your Insurance Company
Document the severity of the roof damage so you can file a claim with your insurance company. If the damage is eligible for a claim, make sure you take as many photos and videos as possible of all items that were damaged. Items could include a laptop, television, furniture, artwork, bedding, and any other belongings. Your insurance company may replace the items you lost and cover the costs associated with repairing the leak itself.
4. Check the Exterior of Your Roof
After you’ve temporarily minimized the damage to the inside of your home, it’s time to check the exterior of your roof. Pinpointing the source of the leak from the inside by examining the ceiling can be difficult. By taking a look at the roof from the outside, you may be able to see exactly where water is getting into your home. Signs of leaks may be more obvious using this method – you may notice fallen limbs or missing shingles from a distance.
5. Follow the Buddy System
If your roof is leaking, chances are that it’s recently rained and the surface of your roof may be slick. If you can’t identify the source of the leak by observing from the ground, don’t risk climbing onto the roof alone. If you can’t find a friend who can be there to help if a problem arises, keep safety a priority, and hire a professional roofing company instead.
6. Contact a Roofing Company
If you’ve recently had roofing work done or a new roof installed, contact the roofing company you worked with. If the leak was a result of the work the roofing company did, such as improperly installed shingles or flashing, the damage will most likely be covered under warranty.
On the other hand, if the damage was caused due to a defective product from the manufacturer itself, you’ll need to get in touch with the manufacturer. Most manufacturers cover their materials under warranty.
If you haven’t recently worked with a roofing company, contact a trustworthy company with plenty of industry experience. It’s always a good idea to check for references from customers who have already worked with the company. Many roofing companies will offer a free inspection and estimate so you’ll know what to expect before they begin working.
7. Don’t Delay on Scheduling Roof Repairs
The worst thing you can do is to delay scheduling roof repairs. Even if you’ve taken the above steps, there’s no guarantee that temporary roof repairs will keep your home and possessions safeguarded against major damage. Unfortunately, you might have to wait for a roofing company to address your needs, especially if the leak develops in the spring or summer months. If you do have to wait for the roofing company to take care of your leak, don’t hesitate to ask the roofing contractors to fasten a tarp over the leak to prevent more water damage.
8. Schedule Ongoing Roof Maintenance Service
Even after your roof is fixed and free of leaks, scheduling regular roof maintenance service is a top priority. Your roof takes on a lot of wear and tear throughout the changing of the seasons, so the most practical way to control leaks is to do routine maintenance from a professional roofing company from time to time. Routine roof maintenance service may include:
- The inspection of trees and limbs that have grown too close to your roof line, and cutting them back if necessary
- Keeping gutters and downspouts clear of debris, like twigs and leaves, so water is able to escape from your house as designed
- Inspecting your roof for extreme damage after thunderstorms or hailstorms, such as loose shingles, misplaced flashing, or cracks in the chimney
- Looking for misplaced or damaged shingles or flashing
What Can Happen if You Leave a Damaged Roof Unattended
A small roof leak may seem like a nuisance rather than a major problem, but leaving a damaged roof unattended can be extremely problematic. Even ignoring a tiny roof leak can lead to major problems over time and threaten your entire home.
As long as water is able to seep into your home, even a small leak can drip slowly and break down wood beams or collapse an entire ceiling if water isn’t able to drain properly. Even worse, water damage can eventually lead to a damp environment that allows mold and mildew to thrive. Mold and mildew can be health hazards; beyond the respiratory illnesses and allergies these two contaminants can create, mold and mildew can also ruin your ceiling tiles, wood frames, and walls. Mold can also decrease the market value of your home.
If water from snow, ice, or rain is able to reach your home’s electrical wiring, it can short circuit your wires and breakers and increase the risk of sparking the surrounding areas. If you accidentally touch electrical wires that have been compromised by water damage, you could be at risk of electrocution.
Professional Mansfield Roofing Services
If your roof is leaking, don’t panic! It’s definitely an inconvenience to have a leaking roof, but by following the above steps, you can minimize the risks of extensive water damage. With that said, there’s only so much you can do on your own without professional help.
Contact All American Roof Pros today for more information. We proudly assist customers in Mansfield and the surrounding areas, and we’re family owned and operated. Take advantage of our free inspection service that guarantees you’ll get the best price possible without the obligation to buy. Our comprehensive roof services include roof replacement, repair, and metal roofing. We also offer commercial roofing and insurance claims assistance.