Roof leaks are one of the most frustrating emergency you can have to deal with at any time. If it keeps leaking for a long time, your risk the integrity of your property’s structure.
Plus, it can lead to health problems if mold starts forming in the house. If that’s not enough, you still have to deal with the water damage from these leaks.
The worst-case scenario is that you do not have enough funds to cover a professional roof repair cost. So how do you go about an emergency roof repair? Read on to find out more.
How to tell if your roof is leaking
Before you begin with repairs, you have to determine whether your roof is leaking and how bad it is. Fortunately, more leaks can be extremely evident.
However, others are not so obvious, and you may need to work harder to find them. If you have an attic, that’s a great place to start looking.
If you discover mold or mildew all over the place, then your roof is leaking. Also, check out for water damage marks in the ceiling for more apparent leaks.
As a cautionary measure, ensure that you rule out all other leaking sources before you call for roof repair assistance. The leaks may be due to plumbing issues rather than a bad roof.
How to find a roof leak with no attic
Not everyone has an attic. If this describes you, then you will need to use other ways to find the leak. If you have an attic but can’t find the leak, you can use the following methods.
The first thing you do is look for any signs of moisture or water damage. Since you can’t possibly look throughout the house, here are places you can look:
- Ridge cap
- Dormer valleys
- Gaskets surrounding pipes
- Rubber seals in plumbing vent pipes, electric service or exhaust fan flushing
When is the best time to look for leaks
When it’s raining or on a rainy day, that’s the perfect time you should look for water leaks.
You can take a flashlight with you for quicker finds.
That’s because water reflects better in light. You can then mark the area you find as the source of the leak.
When you are ready to repair the roof, you need to pinpoint the area on the outside. You can ask someone to tap the mark on the inside while you are on top of the roof.
But what happens when you want to find a leak, and it’s not raining? Well, you can achieve the same results with a garden hose.
Take your hose up on the roof and spray water on the area you believe is the source of the leak.
Ensure that you pour slowly and in small amounts at a time.
You can then ask someone to go up into the attic and look out for any signs of moisture forming.
Don’t forget to ask them to bring lighting for easier spotting.
Emergency roof leak who to call
However, if your roofing company is unavailable at the moment or you are not ready yet to replace your roof, you may need to handle the roof leak temporarily until you get help.
How to handle a roof leak before repair and prevent extensive damage
Sure, roof leaks often call for a permanent solution. But in the case you do not have enough funds to cover the cost, a temporary solution is welcome.
Your temporary repair goal is to minimize the damage from a roof leak as much as possible. That way, you can prevent the leak from compromising your home’s structural integrity while stopping the water drips.
Firstly, you need to stop the water from the leak from spreading out and making the entire ceiling drywall sag.
If this happens, the entire ceiling can collapse. That is why, as soon as you notice a tiny part of the ceiling drywall sagging, you need to get a sharp object like a pencil and poke the area to make a hole.
It would then be best to look for a bucket and put it right below the ceiling’s hole. That way, water drips from the leak will go directly into the bucket instead of spreading out.
You can then find the source of the leak. But that’s not all.
Once you find the leak and repairs are underway, you may need a more suitable solution to curb the damage. What you need is a roof leak diverter kit.
This kit can come in handy when you need to protect your home from a roof leak emergency damage; if you have an attic, you can attach it to the trusses.
That will help you divert the water from the leak and prevent it from damaging the ceiling and your property in the house.
How do you temporarily stop a roof leak
There are several ways you can fix an emergency roof leak. All these ways can save you hundreds (even thousands) of dollars in replacing water damage.
Here are some quick ways you can repair the leak:
Use a tarp to stop the leak
This step is as easy as it sounds. All you need to do is cover the leaky area with a tarp. But ensure that you cover all sides of the leaky area with up to three feet each.
You can also add some more tarp on the roof peak to prevent water from trapping below it. But it doesn’t end there.
To ensure that the tarp stays in place, you can secure it by screwing boards on its border. It will look somewhat like you’re framing the tarp.
But that will ensure it’s as tight in place as possible. You can wrap the tarp around the tarp as an extra precautionary measure to prevent more water from coming in.
Use roofing cement for patching
It’s one of the easiest ways to handle the leak. And it’s the best way to seal a leaking metal roof caused by flashing around the dormers or the chimneys.
All you need to do is reseal the joints using roofing cement. To make it easier, you can fill a caulk gun with the cement and apply it.
Or you can use a putty knife to apply a new coat of roofing ceiling to the joints if it has an old coating of previous roofing cement.
Plus, you can use it to secure curled shingles in place. You need to use a generous amount of roofing cement and apply it on the shingles' lower side.
That way, you can ensure that you secure the corners and edges. Now, firmly press the shingles into place to set.
Use caulk or silicone
If roofing cement is not an option, then caulk or silicone may work better. You can use it to fill any cracks or walls in the roof.
However, you will need a caulk gun for this too. You can also use a silicone roof sealant to repair your bent or warped roof shingles.
Plus, if there are any separations with your flashings, then this method may work. Push a bead of silicone caulk into the split to cover it.
Use a rubber sealant coating
Rubber sealants always come in handy in offering extra protection to shingles and the overall roof. You can use it to seal the leak or to provide more protection to the shingles.
Use roof flashing as a temporary measure
This method is just that- temporary. Your leaking problem is far from over.
However, although it is merely a temporary solution, it will buy you enough time until you can get hold of your roofer.
Replace roofing pipe flashing boot
If you have a plumbing vent that goes through the roof, it may be where the water leaks are coming from as a source. That’s why you need to check your vent boots and flashing to ensure that they are in a suitable condition.
Possibly, your vent boots have a crack due to sun exposure. Since it works in tandem with the flashing, you need to replace both to save on damage and repair costs.
To replace these, you first need to remove the shingles using a pry bar to pull out the nails.
It would help if you also remembered to dislodge the shingles covering the sides of your flashing so that you get access to those sides.
It would help if you also twisted the rubber vent beneath the pipe until it becomes loose enough to dislodge, then take it off the pipe.
Afterwards, you can pry off the metal flashing and pull it off the pipe. If the shingle gets in the way, you can slightly bend them to get the job done.
Now insert the new flashing and replace the other parts as you had first found them. If you feel it will be impossible (or maybe challenging) for you to remember how to reassemble the parts, take photos beforehand.
Replace the shingles
If any of your shingles fell off, are missing, curled, or damaged, that may be the cause of the leak. It would help if you replaced them as soon as possible.
You can use a pry bar to dislodge the edges of the shingles and remove the nails. The shingles can then slide out with ease.
You can now scrape away any residue cement from the roof before you install replacement shingles. If it’s warm outside, you won’t have any trouble with installation. Cold weather may
make it harder for the shingles to stay in place.
The only problem you need to worry about this foolproof repair method is not having any shingles to replace the old ones with at the time of emergency.
But don’t worry, there’s a way to go about this – make the replacement shingles yourself. Here’s how:
- Find metal sheets or copper
- Trace a line shingle on top of the sheet
- Cut the sheet into the same shape the line traces
- Nail the replacement shingles for installation
- Apply a generous amount of roofing cement
- Slide the top of a shingle beneath the lower part of the other one
- Press to ensure its firmly fixed in place
Is a leaking roof an emergency?
Yes. The longer you wait to repair, the more extensive the damage will be. As the water drips from the roof leak to the ceiling, the ceiling will start to sag and eventually collapse.
That would make the repair costs increase.
How much does emergency roof tarping cost?
Depending on what caused the damage to your roof, the tarping cost will vary. Even so, the national average for emergency roof tarping price is between $200 and $1000.
Here are some of the other factors that roofers consider when pricing tarping costs:
- How big is your leak you need tarped
- How accessible is the roof
- Is it an emergency or it can wait
- How much does the materials used cost
- What are the local hourly wages
- Is the damage due to natural disasters
Why does my roof only leak sometimes?
When you experience sporadic roof leaks, it can be nerve wrecking. And it will be almost impossible for you to locate the source of the leak.
Plus, it’s easier to assume the problem is fixed if it stops leaking after some time. However,
that is not true, and you may need to find the leak soon.
In most cases, finding the cause of the leak can lead you to the source. Here are some of the reasons your room may leak sometimes:
Sometimes, your roof may leak if there’s both heavy winds and rains outside. The wind makes the rain move horizontally rather than vertically.
When there’s windy rain, the water will hit the shingles parallel and not at a 90-degree turn before running off. That allows water to collect beneath the shingles.
That can bring out the otherwise hidden cracks and leaks. And although the first few times it rains your roof may not leak, it will only take another spell of a gusty rainy day to make your roof start leaking.
Heavy rainfall can make your roof leak since more rainwater is falling on the roof than on other lighter rainy days. Usually, the issue is that the sheer volume of the rainfall is overwhelming your gutters.
When your gutters fail to keep up, water accumulates on the rooftop rather than running off.
With time, the water will reveal leaks and holes on your roofs as it seeps into the shingles hence the leak.
Leaking through the ridge vents
If your roof starts leaking when there’s windy rain, it may be the wind lowing rainwater into the vents straight to your ceiling. Although it doesn’t happen often, it’s still a possibility.
With time, your ceiling will start sagging and crumble if you do not fix it by directing the water somewhere else.
Why does my roof leak only when the wind blows
If your roof is only leaking when the wind blows, different scenarios are to blame. Firstly, the wind may be blowing rainwater into your home via the vents.
Secondly, your roof may start leaking if the wind causes rainwater to hit the shingles in a parallel manner. That can lead to water collecting and in turn causing leaks on weak roof spots.
But the wind needs to be strong enough to travel horizontally (the usual way is vertical) for this scenario to be possible. People refer to this situation as horizontal rain.
Thirdly, heavy winds can damage your shingles, making it easy for accumulated water to seep through and into your home. If this happens, you need to replace your shingles.
However, you should note that it’s not just the shingles that wind can damage. Other areas of the roof can also damage and let water seep in as well.
From all the above scenarios, you can tell that it’s not just windy, but it’s raining as well.
But what happens when its only wind that causes your intermittent roof leaks?
If the water collected on your roof and a storm is brewing with strong winds, the wind can push this water into holes and leaks already of the roof (but otherwise not big enough to be a cause of worry when it’s not windy).
The good news is that sporadically leaking should not worry you as much. That’s because, if there is an issue with your shingles or flashing, you can expect your roof to leak all the time and not just sometimes.
That means you do not have to worry about repairs unless the roof starts leaking more frequently. However, if you find the leak, gap, or hole causing the leaks, you can start repairing it immediately.
What are the most common causes of roof leaks
Finding a leak fast is the major difference between a tiny, inexpensive and quick repair and a costly, time consuming and major remodelling and replacing your roof.
If you know where to start looking for leaks, you can save yourself many headaches and trouble. Here are the most common causes of roof leaks:
- A cracked flashing – if you used tar to seal the flashing, it can erode with time leaving it cracked
- Poorly sealed valleys – you can also break the valleys if you step on it accidentally or ice can erode it
- Broken shingles – heavy rains and winds can break the shingles
- Moisture condensation in the attic
- Ice dam buildup/li>
- Cracked chimney
- Improperly installed skylights
- Clogged gutters – debris and dirt can clog the gutter preventing water from running off
- Overwhelmed gutters – if your gutter can not keep up with the water build-up, your roof can leak easily
- Cracked vent booting
- Frequent walks on the roof – if you keep venturing up on your roof, you may damage some of the fragile roofing material
Can you fix a leaking roof from the inside
Yes. This method is usually more appealing if there’s a storm outside or it’s raining, and you do not want to get soaked.
When it rains heavily, that tiny leak can turn into your worst nightmare. Heavy rain makes it easy for water to seep into the sheetrock walls. It may cause it to crumble.
The sooner you fix it, the better. Here is how to do it:
Start at the attic
If you have an attic, you need to get to it as soon as possible. Then access your ceiling to remove the insulation. That will prevent it from soaking.
You can then dap at any standing water using a sponge. Wring the sponge and repeat the process until there’s no more water standing there.
While at it, ensure that you have your tools and bucket in a safe place. Do not place it on the sheetrock. The last thing you want is for it to crumble on you.
Find the source of the leak
The source is not always where the water drips are most prominent. The source is possibly from where it is dripping because the water follows the roof’s slope.
It’s a great idea to follow the path of water on the decking or rafters. That way, you can easily find the leak.
Patch the leak temporarily
It’s not difficult making a roof patch. You can use shingles or plywood as the donor patch and some tar to fix it.
All you need to do is spread the tar on the roof’s hole (the leak). And then put your donor material on top of it.
You can add a generous amount of the tar along the edges and corners of your patch.
Mark the area with the patch
Since the patch is only temporary, you will need to fix the leak from the outside once the storm is over. It will help if you map out that area to tell where you need to repair the roof.
What do I do if I can’t find the leak?
Finding the leak can be a problem if you can’t access the attic or have no attic. That means you will have to find other ways to cover the leak and stop the water drips.
The most common covering you can use is roof plastic. It is inexpensive but also quite an effective ion keeping the water out of your home.
Here are the steps you can follow while installing it:
Purchase the materials
Possibly, you do not have the roof covering plastic at hand. But if you do, well and good. If not, a hardware store run is your best shot.
These coverings come in four-foot rolls and are easy to find. You will also need to purchase anchors for installation.
Eight-foot 2×4’s are the best anchors you can use for the job if you have all that you can move to the next step.
Cut the plastic with a utility knife
Before you cut the plastic covering, you need to unroll it. Let it run from the ridge to the eave with a little more length.
It would then be best if you used the 2×4’s as a guide to help you cut the plastic as straight as possible. But do not unfold it yet until after the cut.
After cutting it to length, you can unfold it to cover your roof.
Attach the plastic covering
To attach the plastic covering, you will need to roll one of its end on an n eight fool 2×4 before stapling it with a staple gun.
You can do the same to the other end of the covering. However, for each end, you will need to put the plastic between another 2×4 before nailing the two 2x4s together.
Cover the roof
Lastly, you need to cover up the roof and install one end with the 2×4 on the ridge. The rest can then roll down the eave of the roof.
Although this step is as simple as this, it’s challenging and unsafe, especially if it’s raining. That is why you need to leave this job to emergency professional roofers.
But if you still want to do it yourself, you will need to put on some safety gear to prevent being struck by lightning. For starts, ensure you wear rubber-soled shoes.
Leaking roofs become emergencies once you notice them. You need to start repair as soon as possible to ensure that it doesn’t do a lot of damage.
Besides, repairing a roof leak yourself isn’t a challenging task. Anyone can do it as long as they have the right tools and materials for the job.
The steps are simple and do not require numerous skills to accomplish. With this guide, you can ensure that you fix the leak in record time.