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Here’s What to Do with a Leaking Roof

A roof has a tremendous job to do – it helps block out all the damage of ultraviolet radiation, water, snow, hail and whatever else nature has to throw at your home.

Over the course of years, this constant bombardment of mother nature can cause weaknesses in your home’s roof that can be brutally exploited by water.

If your home’s roof has sprung a leak it isn’t completely hopeless – there are many things you can do immediately to mitigate the damage as much as possible.

leaking roof

Immediate Action Against a Sprung Roof Leak

If you find a leak in your home there are several things you should do to prevent any further damage. This means removing any items that can be damaged by water, with electronics like televisions, computers and game systems taking priority.

Things that can’t be easily moved, such as couches, carpet and anything heavy can have some sort of plastic placed on top of them. From here, you need to contain the water as much as possible. The best way to do this is to use some sort of waterproof container like a bucket underneath the leak.

Once the leak is under control and no further damage can come to your belongings, now is time to take care of any damage that may have occurred. Try to remove water anywhere you find it – walls, ceiling, carpet, and furniture should all be dried as much as possible.

If the carpet is soaked you may need to pull up some of it so as to expose the bottom portion to circulating air. An excessive amount of water that can’t be absorbed can be sucked up with shop-vac.

When it’s safe enough to look, you should try to get a visual on the source of the leak. Safety should always be your main concern, so make sure to only go on top of your roof after everything is dried. When on the roof take a look at any trouble areas – ripped, eroded, or cracked shingles are often the issue.

Other problems can be a result of damage to the flashing which is usually located along the valleys, around chimneys, and around skylights. If you don’t see any immediate issues here try looking in your attic if you have one. Moisture accumulation on wood is an immediate sign, while rot, termite damage, and mold are all secondary signs.

Remember, water is susceptible to gravity like everything else, so the leak could very well be located in a spot you didn’t expect, higher up on the ridge of the roof.

How to Repair a Leaking Roof

There is not one size fits all approach to fixing a leak in a roof as there is no one size fits all roof or leak. However, a leak is usually a result of one of a few things. Thankfully the hardest part about a leak is discovering the location of it. Minor leaks can often accumulate along nails or screws that missed the frame, especially in colder climates.

If this is the source of your leak just merely cut the screw off at the base with a pair of pliers.   A step above a simple screw leak is flashing around the perimeter of objects in your roof. Whether it’s a chimney, ventilation, or a skylight, the flashing around can be replaced by lightly pulling up on the shingles surrounding it and installing new flashing bits.

In some cases, the flashing itself isn’t the issue but rather the entire vent. Cracks in the housing on plastic ones or broken seams on metal variants are more common than you might think. Much of the same skills and tools required to replace flashing is needed to install a new vent as well.

Sometimes the damage doesn’t have to come directly from the roof itself but rather in windows that may be located on a second or higher story. Dormer walls, those are walls with multiple overlapped pieces of ridges sections, can also have multiple weak points that can cause water to fall onto the roof below it.

Regardless of what you have, if you have water leaking into these areas, the best way to plug the hole is to use some caulking.   More serious leaks, like an ice dam or a roof that has been significantly neglected, will need more serious solutions.

While a large amount of tear out is permissible for a repair, at a certain point it becomes counter-productive. You might be in the need for a new roof entirely as what it costs to repair is too great to justify anymore.

clean and dry shingle roof

Prevent Roof Leaks in the Future

The best way to take care of roof leaks is to prevent them in the first place! Roof maintenance is often neglected which is a big oversight for many homeowners – arguably the most vulnerable part of the outside of a home, this area needs proper care throughout the years.

In order to understand what you need to keep up, you first want to know the relative weak points of your roof – this can vary dramatically depending on the type of roof. For instance, a gambrel is much different from a mansard and should be looked at in varying ways.

The material of the shingles can also greatly influence what you’re looking at – naturally, an asphalt shingle is going to have different issues from a tile or slate shingle.  Unless you have been specifically trained to know what to look for or worked in roofing for many years, it’s best to get a professional eye on it from time to time.

You should try to have a certified roofer come out and look at your home at least once a year. They’ll be able to spot problems while they’re in their infancy and repair them on the spot – saving you time, money, and headache down the road.

When picking a roofing professional make sure they’re certified to work in your state or locality, are knowledgeable and courteous.

You Must Take Care of a Leaking Roof

A leak in the roof is a cause for concern but as long as you take specific actions you can stop any major damage from occurring. Once you have safeguarded your belongings and curbed the water as much as possible, you need to take additional steps to find the location of the leak as soon as it’s safe to do so.

The source isn’t always immediately obvious – there are many spots in your roof that it can come from. When in doubt try to trace it from the inside, keeping in mind that water can be a tricky substance that can slip and slide from even the most inconspicuous spots.

If you’re uncomfortable repairing the leak or think it’s too far out of your skillset, have an expert put their hands on it.

Time to Replace a Leaking Roof

Sometimes it takes a few roof leak seals to completely repair a leaking roof. Other times, the best way to fix a leaking roof is to completely replace it with brand new asphalt shingles. Your tiles are old and fragile which causes them to lose integrity during severe weather conditions.

Asphalt shingles are the best shingles for your roof since they have lifetime reliability, strength and strong resistance to wind, snow, and rain. You’ll also appreciate the appearance and architectural design that helps boost your home value and curb appeal. Speak to a specialist and get a free quote online today.

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