Of course it will be raining the day you discover your roof leak. It’s like a bad country song. Standing beneath the ever-growing water bulge on your ceiling, you might remark how the grey, tumultuous sky outside so aptly reflects your own feelings of helplessness. The pooling water: symbolic of your despair. The green leaves torn from the trees and hurled in the wind: symbolic of the money soon to be ripped from your wallet. You say goodbye to dreams of a new TV, of finally being able to afford new tires for your car. There are no savings here: only roof repairs. The hammering of the rain, you’ve decided, is the song of your sadness, and you wish you could simply wash away.
Well, while you’re standing there in premature mourning, you are wasting the most crucial moments–the actions you take at the first signs of a roof leak can dramatically reduced the damage and costs suffered. Don’t sing your swan-song too soon. Be proactive in your reaction to a roof leak: follow these steps to prevent the worsening of damage and subsequent costly roof repairs.
First: This isn’t your fault–and no, it’s not personal
It is not your fault that it’s raining when you find a new roof leak. The world is not punishing. You are a good homeowner.
Rain is always the harbinger of roof leaks. You won’t experience a roof leak during a dry, sunny day. This has nothing to do with karma. This isn’t penance for that time you bad-mouthed your in-laws at the family reunion. Your roof is leaking while it is raining because it is raining. There: you are absolved.
Second: Get a bucket and buckle-up
Now that you’re at peace with yourself, you need to tackle the roof leak and minimize interior damage. You’ll need a towel, a bucket, a screwdriver, and a cookie.
Lay the towel on the floor to prevent your floor from being drenched. Next, place the large bucket beneath the site of the leak. Then, you’ll want to gently press the wall/ceiling to find the wettest spot, or the point where the water bulge is biggest: this is where you want to poke a hole with your screwdriver. By draining the trapped water, you’re preventing the water from pooling and leaking into other parts of your home, expanding the damage. Doing this also relieves pressure from your ceiling, preventing any structural straining. Unlike a live stabbing victim, allowing the wall/ceiling to bleed minimizes damage–much like a live stabbing victim, the smaller the hole, the easier to fix later.
Take a step back. Make sure the water is collecting in your bucket and the towel is adequately protecting your floor. Don’t panic if it seems like there’s a lot of water draining, like really a lot of water: that’s normal. Now have the cookie: it’s for you! Way to go, champ. Enjoy this brief moment of rest because you’re not done yet.
Third: If you can, and if it is safe, try to find the point of entry
Congrats! You’ve taken care of the leak internally. We’re so proud of you: you’re practically a roof-wizard now. But, your roof is still letting water in. Now, Oh Great Roof-Wizard, you’ll want to locate the entry point of the leak.
First, take a look in your attic. Sometimes, the leak in your ceiling and the leak in your roof will not align, meaning you’ll need to thoroughly assess all areas of your attic. Look for light. Feel for water or wind. If you find the point of entry, do your best to cover it with a tarp or piece of plywood. If you cannot find the point of entry via the attic, or if you cannot adequately quell the leak from the inside, you’ll want to climb onto your roof. Only ascend your roof if the weather permits and you can do so safely. Once you’ve found the point of entry on the roof, you’ll want to cover it, again, with a tarp or plywood.
Regardless of whether you find the external source of the roof leak or not, this fix is only temporary. Covering the point of entry minimizes the infiltration of water, which minimizes damage, which minimizes cost. Do not attempt to fix the roof yourself, especially if it is still raining. Unless you yourself are a professional Northern Virginia roofing contractor, you have no power here. Improper roof repairs will exacerbate the problem and cause a more costly response later. The tarp/plywood is only a temporary fix to minimize damage until a professional can arrive.
Don’t worry: you’re still the Great Roof-Wizard to us!
Fourth: Call Your Northern Virginia Roofing Contractor
Seriously. We can’t stress this enough. Call your Northern Virginia roof repair contractor and let a professional, experienced roofing expert inspect your roof and repair the leak. A professional roofing contractor will have the skilled knowledge and training to offer the most effective solution to your leaky roof.
Time will not fix your leaky roof. The longer a roof leak is allowed to fester, the greater the damage and complications. With water comes mold, fungus, and mildew, as well as wood rot which can compromise the structural integrity of your roof.
A professional Northern Virginia roof leak repair contractor will offer you the most effective roof leak repairs and solutions. With repairs from a roofing contractor, you’ll increase the longevity and durability of your roof, decreasing your risk of future damage.