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What to Do As Soon as You Notice a Roof Leak

Article by Shirley Martin,

Roof leaks can occur during thunderstorms, blizzards, hurricanes, and many other types of harsh weather conditions. They can even begin well before you realize it. Nonetheless, if you discover a leak in your roof, acting quickly is critical to protecting your home, preserving your valuables, and keeping your family safe. In order to control the leak and prevent further damage to your property, take the following steps, recommended by Barkley Properties, immediately after you see that your roof is compromised.

Know Your Limits

Before getting into the weeds on roof fixes, it’s important to know what you can’t fix. Roof issues can be easy to fix, or they can cause major damage to your home. On top of that, it can cause a great loss in your home value.

In some cases, you may be better off to just replace your roof. Not only will a new roof help protect your home, but houses with new roofs also sell faster for more money. Know your limits and end goal before losing time and money on a lengthy chain of repairs.

Contain the Leak

Sometimes you will be able to spot a leak in your ceiling before it breaks through. In this instance, Maryland Roofers explains it’s critical to contain the leak by poking a hole in the ceiling where the water is gathering. Doing so relieves pressure from the ceiling, which can collapse if the water is allowed to build up and become too heavy. All you have to do is set a bucket underneath to catch the water and poke the ceiling with a screwdriver or similar tool.

Protect Valuables

After you discover your roof leak and work to contain it, the next step is to protect your valuables from water damage and excessive moisture. If you have any extra space in your home, move everything to a room that isn’t compromised by the leak. For instance, if the leak is coming through the living room, try to move your sofa and other furniture to the other side of the house until you can have the leak fixed.

If you’re tight on space, you have a couple of options: move your items into storage, or cover them with plastic. The first option will obviously require more money, time, and energy, but it is also more likely to protect your valuable belongings. However, high-quality plastic sheeting can go a long way in protecting your items, especially if water is dripping directly onto the items.

Locate the Source

In order to effectively fix the roof leak, you will need to find the source of the leak. Bob Vila recommends that you start looking in the attic for any significant holes or gaps. If you don't see anything, walk through your home, look for water dripping along any walls, and see if you can trace it back to a source. Many leaks in a sloped roof begin on the outside of the home; in this scenario, you would need to wait for the professionals to take over from here.

Patch the Leak

If you are able to find the source of the leak, you will then need to put a temporary patch on the hole/gap. The best materials to use for this are roofing tape, caulk, or a combination of the two. Keep in mind that hanging a tarp over the roof can help to keep additional rainwater out of your home, but it can prove dangerous, especially if it’s currently raining. The safer bet is to patch the hole or gap from inside the home and wait for the professionals to arrive.

Clean Your Gutters

Once your roof is repaired, protect it by having your gutters cleaned. Doing so will keep water from backing up and causing more damage to your roof. Find high-quality gutter cleaners by searching online for professionals in your area. While this does add an extra cost, it will provide further protection to your roof and prevent more costly damage down the road.

If you’ve discovered a roof leak in your home, you will need to address the issue immediately. Remove any ruined items from the home, relieve the pressure from the ceiling where you see the leak, and move belongings out of harm’s way. Then, find the point of entry for the leak and put a temporary patch on it. Acting quickly will help to minimize damage and keep your family and property safe until the professionals can get to the scene.

Barkley Properties specializes in home, office, and vacation rentals. For information regarding any of our available properties, please contact Jana Kelley at

Image via Pexels


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