If you have a leaky roof, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage before your local roofing experts arrive to fix your roof.
The sound of the rain on your rooftop is supposed to be relaxing. So there’s nothing more distressing than hearing “drip drip drip” on the kitchen floor in the middle of a rainstorm. If there’s a leak in your roof, you need to respond quickly to limit the damage and protect your home before calling in the pros.
Water dripping from the ceiling onto the floor is the surefire sign that water is finding a way into your house, especially when it’s raining outside. But did you know leaks can also spring forward during dry weather when water has built up in the house over time?
There are other, less obvious signs, your roof has a leak. For example, water stains on the ceiling and mold growth indicate that you have an indoor water problem, likely stemming from the roof.
Leaky roofs are annoying for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is trying to understand WHY the leak is happening in the first place. For the average homeowner, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. If you have a leaky roof, there are several potential causes to consider.
Professional roofers are not only excellent with tools, they are great at detective work. If your home is showing signs of a leak – either water is flowing into the house or you see moisture spots on the ceiling or walls – call the experts to come and find the source right away.
If you hear water dripping from the ceiling to the floor, go to the site of the leak and quickly protect your interior from water damage – especially the carpet or hardwood floor. Get a bucket (or two) and an old bed sheet to catch water on the floor surface.
If there’s any furniture at the source of the leak, move it away from the site so you don’t have to worry about the cost of replacing it later. If the items are too heavy, cover them up with plastic or industrial blankets.
As soon as you’ve taken all precautions to protect your interior, look up to the ceiling: do you notice any water pooling up above your head? If yes, you’ll want to drain the pooling water in the ceiling to avoid a sudden burst of water when you’re least expecting it. Use a sturdy ladder to climb up to the ceiling and, if possible, use a screwdriver to drain the residual water into the bucket below.
Now it’s time to start playing detective and figure out where the leak is coming from. In many cases, the point of entry will not be directly above the room where the water is getting in. Water travels down, and can easily zig-zag from one side of the house to another, moving through the walls and insulation.
Step 1. Check the attic.
The highest spot in your house is the first place you want to start looking for the source of that annoying leak. It goes without saying, attics are usually very dark and hard to walk around in, so make sure you bring a flashlight and wear good shoes. We recommend going up in the daylight to be extra safe.
Once you’re up there, examine the underside of the attic ceiling for signs of moisture and do a 360 check of the insulation all around the attic for signs of mold or deteriorating insulation. Zero in on any spots that seem weak, damaged, or vulnerable and you may find the source of your leak. In some extreme cases, the source of the leak will also allow daylight into the attic.
Step 2. Go outside to check for damage
If your investigation in the attic has come up empty of clues, the next step is to go outside during the daytime to see if there are obvious signs of roof damage visible to the naked eye. Walk around the house while safely on the ground, to look for noticeably damaged shingles. If there’s been heavy rain, hail or wind lately in Chicagoland, your roof may have suffered some damage.
If you’ve done a lap of the house and still can’t see anything, it’s time for a man made water test to pinpoint the source of the leak. Ask a family member or neighbor to help you with this. While you give your roof a spot shower with a long garden house, have them stand inside watching for the exact moment water starts dripping into the house again. And voila! You’ve found the source of the leak.
If you just can’t seem to pinpoint the source of the leak, try not to get too frustrated and, we can’t stress this enough, never go out on the roof yourself to crack the case. Lucky for you, trustworthy and experienced roofing experts are just a phone call away.
Wind or hail damage to your roof? Talk to us before you call the insurance company.
Never leave a leaky roof to get worse and don’t just put a bandaid on it. We strongly recommend that you treat the health of your roof like you would treat your own health when you’re sick.
The earlier you get the leak under control, the better for your wallet and peace of mind. Roof repair is a dangerous job that is best left to the professionals, especially if you have a steep or high roof. The cost of an injury is not worth the money you’re trying to save on a repair.
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