What to do if your roof leaks?
It’s late. It’s dark. It’s the weekend. The whole family except for you is sleeping, despite the loud rainstorm outside. And suddenly, you hear a steady drip inside your house. The roof is leaking!
There is never a good time for a roof leak, but there are things you can do to mitigate the damage, reduce the repair costs and help prevent further leaks.
The steps include:
1. Contain the Water
Put a bucket or a large bowl beneath the leak(s) to catch the water. If the water is splashing up onto the floor, either 1) tape a long string from the leak source into your bucket so that water can run down the line or, 2) put an old in the bottom of the bucket to eliminate the splash. If your paint or drywall is starting to bubble, water is building up behind it. Lance the bubble with a screwdriver or knife to release the water build up into your bucket. If you cannot contain the water, it is time to call a licensed Denver roofing contractor (Cenco Building Services. 720-583-1690); Many offer 24-hour emergency services.
2. Reduce the Water Damage
The second goal after you discover you have a leak and contain the water is to reduce the water damage as much as possible. Move out any valuables, including furniture and electronics, from below and around the leak area. Then cover the area or anything that could be damage with a plastic tarp. We recommend you store a small tarp (6’ x 8’) in your garage, in case something like this happens.
3. Remove the Water
Once the leak area is protected and water is contained, you need to dry the area thoroughly and quickly to prevent stains and mold. Separate any carpet from the carpet pad and start a fan on high to circulate air underneath both surfaces. If the water has been extensive on the carpet or drywall or on wood floors, you may need to call a professional water extraction and remediation company to have the surfaces professionally dried.
4. Call your Insurance Agent…maybe
Whether to call your insurance agent the next morning depends on a lot of factors. If the damage is minor, non-structural, or will not exceed the cost of your deductible, it is probably not worth filing an insurance claim. If you have sustained extensive damage, call your agent. Let them know you have taken steps to prevent further damage—a responsibility under your insurance contract—but that you may need remediation as well as repairs to the roof and whatever areas the water damaged. Ask them to help you to determine what may and may not be covered under a water claim.
5. Fix the Roof Leak
With water in check and contained, it is time to find the source of the leak and get it fixed. Make sure you get it right the first time by calling a licensed Denver roofing contractor (Cenco Building Services. 720-583-1690). Based on our experience, have the contractor examine the following roofing components, as they are the most prone to leaking:
- Missing, cracked or uplifted shingles
- Missing, rusted or bent flashings
- Deteriorated pipe boots and furnace collars
- Deteriorated skylight or valley flashing metal
- Chimney caps and chimney flashing
- Intersection where the roof meets the gutters
Have the contractor review each of those items, to ensure not only that the immediate problem is addressed, but to identify where any future problems may be waiting for you. It is recommended that you ask for photos and/or video of the leak areas identified by the contractor, so that you can verify what needs to be done.
6. Prevent Future Leaks Through Roof Maintenance
After your leak has been fixed, it is a good idea to perform routine maintenance on your roof each year to ensure that future leaks do not arise. Here is a list of common roof maintenance items, along with the Seasons during which they should be performed:
- Trim your Trees and remove debris from off of your roof (Fall)
- Clean your gutters and unplug your downspouts (Fall and Spring)
- Check your roof for missing or lifted shingles (Fall and Spring)
- Check your pipe boots and flashings (Spring)
While roof leaks never happen at the right time, choosing the right contractor and maintaining your roof will ensure it keeps you dry and protects your home for many years.