When a roof leak happens it is
important to at least perform some level of immediate temporary roof repair.
However, do not start any roof repair until the bad weather has abated. And, if
the roof has been somehow structurally damaged, call in the pros. Do not attempt
to walk on a roof that has been partially caved in. Remember too that wet roofs
can be slick.
While you wait for the weather to
improve, use buckets to collect the water, and move items that could be damaged
(e.g. furniture, electronics).
If you have access to your attic, place the buckets in there. In addition,
looking in your attic may help you better assess the source of the leak. The
stain on your drywall ceiling may not be in a direct line with where the roof
leak actually is occurring. Normally roof leaks start higher, e.g. the roof
ridge vent. Rain water travels along the trusses or roof rafters and finally
works its way to a low spot in the attic, possibly 20 feet from where the rain
water entered the house. The rain water then lands on the drywall ceiling and
traverses the furring strips, causing the neat wet line on your ceiling.
Temporarily Repairing a Roof
After the weather has improved and
you can get up on the roof, there are a number of places to check on the roof,
as wells as a number of things you can do, for performing temporary roof repair.
Check for Missing
Look for missing shingles or sections
of roofing material on the roof. If shingles are missing, get some replacement
ones. Slide the temporary replacement shingle(s) up under the existing shingles,
sitting just above the missing shingle, for a temporary roof repair. Then call a
roofing contractor to permanently replace the shingles.
Check the Ridge
Check the ridge vent carefully.
Frequently, with tin ridge vents the roofing nails that hold it down work loose
in high wind storms. You may need to simply install new roofing nails into the
ridge vent/cap. I also recommend sealing the roofing nails along the ridge
vent/cap with roofing tar or a sealant.
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Check for Standing
If you have a flat roof, make sure
the scuppers are clean and that water can drain off the roof. Make sure any
standing water is removed from the roof.
Sometimes roof flashing can become
damaged and allow water to get behind it. Make sure the roof flashing is lying
tightly up against walls and chimneys. If it has pulled or twisted away push it
back into position. You may want to use duct tape over it as a temporary roof
Check for Membrane
If you have a membrane based roof
covering, remove the ballast from around the leak area and see if there are any
cuts or crack in the membrane liner. If there is a cut or crack in the membrane,
use a plastic roof cement, sealant or roof tape, along with some spare membrane
material to make a minor roof repair patch. Duct tape can also work in a pinch.
All of the above suggestions can help
identify the source of the roof leak and serve as temporary roof repairs.
However, after you have stabilized the situation, it is important to promptly
call in a professional roofing contractor and have them fully inspect and
permanently repair your roof. Also, if your roof is insured call the installers
or manufacturers of it to have them make the permanent roof repairs.
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How to Finance your Roof Project -
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