As a homeowner, there are not many things which are more frustrating than finding a roof leak when the weather is bad. When rain starts to fall, the last thing you want to see is some of that rain sneaking into your house and causing damage to your property, drywall, flooring, or anything else it might be around. What’s even more frustrating is the fact that the bad weather means you can’t call for an emergency repair to get it fixed right away—in most cases, it’s best to let the rain stop before having a professional fix implemented.
Does this mean you’re doomed to watching as rain does further and further damage to your home? Not at all. In fact, it’s a good idea to respond quickly and work to contain the leak as much as possible in order to avoid a more serious situation. However, this means you need to have a plan for what to do in the event of a leak. If you don’t have one, this blog is for you. Here are a few important tips you can follow to create a high-quality leak response plan that limits the damage to your home and makes getting a professional repair faster and easier.
Locate the Incoming Water
The first and most important step is to find the leak in your roof, and while this may seem easy enough, it’s not as simple as it sounds. This is because water doesn’t always drip straight down from where it comes in—sometimes it rides along an edge or the plane in your roof for a little while before it fully drips down. Finding the actual location of the leak will enable you to figure out what you need to do to stop it and whether or not it could start to leak in another spot later if it starts to rain harder.
You’ll want to isolate this area to prevent water from escaping and going on to impact any other areas of your roof. You can do this in a few different ways, but the best way is to use a little bit of duct tape and create a sharp, hard edge that you can stick to the inside of the wood in your attic. Simply tape this edge to your roof and the leak should ride up to the edge, where it can drip off quickly and easily. Be sure to put a bucket or something else which can catch the drops and stop them from getting into the area below.
Isolate the Water Flow
If the hole is small, poke a hole in the drywall in your ceiling to allow the water to concentrate into a bucket. Use a screwdriver or manual drill to push into the damaged area and create a hole where water can easily flow out of and place a bucket beneath it. The water will concentrate on this hole, which will prevent the leak damage from spreading to a larger area.
A few quick safety tips for doing this: be careful when getting on a ladder. If your feet are wet, the rungs on your ladder can be slippery, and you don’t want to fall from any sort of height because of it. Also, use a manual drill or screwdriver to poke the hole in your drywall. Do not use an electric drill, as water spilling through the hole can get into electrical circuitry and possibly shock you. The hole doesn’t have to be big, and wet drywall is already easy to penetrate through so you shouldn’t have a difficult time with a manual tool.
Remove Property from the Affected Area
The next thing you want to do is remove any potentially sensitive property from the area where the leak is coming in. That means any clothes, electronics, precious memories like photographs or videotapes, or anything else which may suffer irreparable damage if it were to get wet needs to be temporarily relocated to a different room in your house. Anything large or difficult to move should be covered with a tarp canvas or plastic cover (like one of the ones you would use if you were painting. That way if the leak were to spread or the drip were to change locations, you wouldn’t have to worry about it damaging something potentially serious.
Have a Tarp for Missing or Damaged Tiles
If you have a particular area of your roof which has a lot of damage resulting in a number of leaks or a pretty large leak that’s causing serious damage to your roof and home, then you may want to put forth the effort to actually go outside and cover the affected area of your roof with a tarp. This should prevent water from getting in and impacting the damage further.
You’ll need a tarp and at least four sandbags to hold it down. Make sure you pull the tarp tight and put the top edge right up against a row of roof tiles at least six inches above the start of the impacted area to ensure no further water gets in.
However, be advised that using a ladder or walking on your roof during rain is dangerous—the surfaces could be slippery, and a fall could cause serious injury. We strongly advise only doing this if absolutely necessary. Always wear non-slip shoes and never stand on a ladder when lightning is present, either.
When the weather subsides, call the Phoenix roofers from Lyons Roofing at (520) 447-2522 to request a roof inspection and let us get you the repairs you need as soon as possible.