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Emergency Roof Repair: How To Temporarily Stop Leaks Now

emergency roof repair a view of a sagging leaky roof from the exterior view

Trying to learn how to do an emergency roof repair?

A roof leak can turn into a major disaster if not tended to quickly. Water can damage your ceilings, walls, and unseen parts of your interior, leading to hazardous mold growth. In some cases, a roof leak can be so bad that it weakens the structural integrity of your home.

If you notice any of the following signs, you should inspect for a leak:

  • Water spots on the ceiling
  • Wet attic insulation
  • Damaged shingles
  • Loose granules in the gutters

If you confirm you have a leaking roof, you need to act fast to stop the water from seeping in and causing massive damage. To alleviate the stress of a roof repair emergency, we’re going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to do an emergency roof repair yourself!

signs of a roof leak that requires emergency roof repair

How Do Roof Leaks Happen?

There are many ways that a roof leak can occur. The most common cause is damaged or missing shingles.

Shingles can be damaged by severe weather, such as high winds and hail storms. They can also be damaged by falling tree limbs, animals, and debris. If your shingles are old and worn out, roof leaks are also highly likely.

Roof Leaks From Storm Damage

Severe storms can bring heavy rains, strong winds, and hail large enough to dent your shingles or siding. While golf ball size hail is quite rare, even a much smaller size can do some damage. That’s because of the wind speed that trajects the hail against your home at a much higher impact.

So if you have experienced a strong storm, don’t assume that there isn’t any because you can’t outright see the damage. Winds can lift shingles very easily, especially if they are in poor condition. Then when they set back down, you would never be able to tell at first glance that their nails were torn out during the storm.

After the storm has settled, it’s always a good idea to do a thorough walk through your property, checking your shingles, gutters, flashing, attic, and insulation. Call a professional for a roof inspection if you notice wet spots, missing granules, loose shingles, and anything out of the ordinary. They can confirm or deny if any damage has occurred.

Roof Leaks From Wear and Tear

We wish our roofs could last forever, but they don’t. Aside from a slate or clay tile roof, your standard asphalt shingle roof is only going to last around 25-40 years (give or take). Natural wear and tear will happen, especially after years of storms. Over time they can weaken to the point of leaking.

Worn-out shingles will also cause your roof to lose its protective granules. These granules are your roof’s first line of defense against rain, hail, and debris, so without them, you’ll start to see more damage on both the interior and exterior of your home.

You may not be able to tell if your shingles are worn out just by looking at them, but you can tell if they’ve lost their granules. If your gutters are filled with shingle granules after a storm or even just from rainwater runoff, then it’s time to have your roof replaced.

Other Factors That Can Damage Your Roof

Rodents, poor ventilation, and poor attic insulation are all other factors that can cause roof leaks.

Mice, rats, squirrels, and other rodents love making their nests in attics because they’re safe and warm. But as they travel back and forth from your attic to the outdoors, they can create holes and openings in your roof. These animals can also chew through your insulation and wiring, which can cause even more damage.

Poor attic ventilation can also lead to roof leaks. When heat and moisture become trapped in your attic, it creates the perfect environment for wood rot and mold to grow. As the wood rot eats away at your rafters and sheathing, it weakens your roof’s structure, making it more susceptible to leaks.

Poor attic insulation can also cause roof leaks. The heat from your home rises and escapes through your attic, causing the snow on your roof to melt. The ice dam prevents melting snow from draining off your roof, which can cause water to back up and leak into your home.

If you’re experiencing a roof leak, don’t wait until it becomes a bigger problem. Follow these steps to do a temporary emergency repair and call a professional roofer as soon as possible. They can assess the damage and help you develop a plan to get your roof repaired or replaced.

Tools Required to Fix a Leak

If you’re a DIY kind of homeowner, having some of these tools and materials on hand can set you up for success. You will be able to fix leaks temporarily with ease. Now, you don’t need all of them, but they can all come in handy.

  • Caulk and caulking gun
  • Chalk line
  • Crowbar or roofing shovel
  • Fall protection kit
  • Hammer or roofing nailer
  • Ladder
  • Putty knife
  • Roof patch or tar
  • Roofing nails
  • Utility knife

emergency roof repair

6 Helpful Tips for DIY Emergency Roof Repair

While we highly recommend hiring a professional roofer to fix your roof leak, a temporary fix can quickly stop any further water damage from happening. So it’s vital to know these steps to remedy the situation if you need to.

1. Tarp The Damaged Area

Placing a tarp can immediately prevent rainwater from getting in through the roof leak. Some contractors will do this, but you can do it right away and mitigate any damage if you can have one on hand.

Of course, it can be hazardous to get up on a wet roof, so if it’s still raining, or is not safe to do, instead lay or attach the tarp inside your attic, underneath the leak. This will still catch some of the water and keep your attic floor from getting water damage.

To learn more about how to tarp a roof, check out this post by IKO.

2. Repair or Replace Damaged Shingles

Repairing one or two shingles is relatively easy, even for the most amateur DIYer. These can be dented or cracked, and replacing that single row is as easy as prying up the nails and putting a new section of shingles down in its place.

Wind can pry up your shingle, causing them to come loose, which simply requires re-attaching them with some new nails. Just be sure to seal any holes caused by nail heads ripping through. Your roofing tarp or some caulk can do the trick temporarily.

missing shingles causing roof to leak

3. Document the Damage You Find

There are a few reasons to document the damage you find before repairing it.

  1. Chances are you’ll want to get it professionally repaired after your temporary fix.
  2. If you file an insurance claim, they’ll also need to know that information.
  3. If the repairs fail, your warranty could be voided, or you risk not getting coverage on your claim. So document everything and be careful when you make the repairs.

4. Replace Wet Drywall or Insulation

Water-soaked drywall or insulation will need to be replaced. These are both very porous materials, and once they’ve absorbed water, they can’t be dried out and saved.

First, you’ll want to remove any baseboards or crown molding to avoid damaging them when removing the wet sheetrock. You can cut it out in large squares and easily place the new sheetrock in place.

Be sure to check the insulation as well, and if it’s wet, replace that too. Or, you can have your roofer re-insulate the area when they repair your roof for good.

5. Know Your Limits and Abilities

Failed repairs can cause more harm than good, and they can also void warranties on your roof. So tread lightly if you are attempting to DIY your roof leak repair. If the job is too complex for your abilities, stop, place a tarp down, and call a professional.

6. File an Insurance Claim

If your roof has sustained significant damage, you may want to consider filing an insurance claim. But know that most policies have a deductible, and if the repairs are more minor, it might not be worth going through your insurance company.

Some claims can also cause your rates to go up, so speak with an agent beforehand to see what you might want to do. Small leaks can be cheaper to repair without going through the trouble of an insurance claim. Weigh your options before moving forward.

workers completing emergency roof repair and replacement

Why You Should Hire the Pros

The matter of fact is that a professional roofing contractor will be able to repair your roof leak better and more securely than your DIY temporary solution. They can also do a more thorough inspection to determine the root cause and make sure you get longevity from your roof repairs.

A team like Dreamworx Exteriors can do just that. Our roofing experts have seen every type of roof leak to every extent and are here to help you get the best roofing solution possible. Don’t fret; call the pros at Dreamworx today for your hassle-free roof repair.

Experience the Dreamworx Difference!

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