Your roof is designed to keep the elements out: sunlight, wind, and perhaps most importantly of all, water. This is because water damage can be absolutely catastrophic if it’s allowed to continue unchecked.
Even a little bit of water sneaking through your roof can promote the growth of mold and wood rot. It can also ruin paint and plaster, leaving ugly and unsightly marks streaked across your walls and ceiling. If water manages to drip onto property in your home, it can damage your possessions as well. A leak will also lead to a greatly increased energy bill, as it prevents your insulation from working effectively.
Perhaps worst of all, an unchecked leak can dramatically shorten the lifetime of your roof. If it’s not fixed quickly, the damage can spread and ultimately lead to a very expensive repair job. According to the FEMA website, damage to roofs is the leading cause of building problems during storms. That’s why it’s important to get leaks under control as fast as you possibly can. Of course, this may be easier said than done, as you might not always be able to get a roofer to your home quickly. When you cannot, it’s good to know a quick fix for leaking roof problems.
Locating the Leak
Of course, before you can fix anything, you need to know where the leak is coming from. This may sound simple, especially if you see water dripping from a discolored area. That’s where the leak is, right? Not necessarily. The insulation in your attic might be diverting the water from its true source to a different spot. You will need to go into the attic and follow the dripping to discover where it’s actually coming from. When you enter your attic, always take great care where you’re stepping, as stepping between joists can cause you to fall through the ceiling.
If it has rained recently, you will probably notice the source of the dripping very easily. If, on the other hand, the weather has been dry, it may be more difficult to locate the source of the leak. You may be able to find an area that has become overgrown by mold. It’s a good bet the water is dripping through there. If you still don’t notice a leak, you can also use a hose to spray a great deal of water across the roof. Inevitably, some of it will drip through the leaky area, and you will hopefully be able to locate it then.
Fix #1: Cover the Leak with a Tarp
At first glance, covering the leak with a tarp seems like a very easy way to temporarily stop a leak. And while it certainly qualifies as a quick fix, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy one. What makes it a somewhat challenging option is the fact that you’ll have to do it from the outside. Some fixes, on the other hand, can be done from inside the home. Nevertheless, a tarp can be an effective option if you’re willing to put the effort in.
The job begins by selecting a tarp that’s big enough: it needs to stretch beyond the leaking area by at least three feet in all directions and up to the ridge. You will need to wait until it’s safe to climb onto the roof. If your roof was damaged during inclement weather, you’ll need to wait until the weather has cleared completely. When climbing onto a rooftop, make sure you have another person assisting you. They can serve as an extra set of hands, as well as an extra set of eyes, to help keep the job safe. Climb onto the roof, clear away any debris, and spread the tarp over the damaged area. You can secure it in place with roofing nails or using a screw gun and lath.
Fix #2: Catch the Leaking Water with a Diverter
Another great temporary fix is to buy a diverter kit from your local hardware store. This is a tarp, attached to the ceiling in the area where the leak is dripping from. It takes the shape of an upside-down umbrella. Attached to it is a small tube that carries the dripping water away and into a bucket.
This fix has the major advantage of not requiring a lot of tools. You also won’t have to climb onto the roof to set it up. This method has a few disadvantages as well, however: you will periodically have to empty the bucket. You will have to do this more often the more severe the leak is. A leak diverter will also do nothing to help insulate your home. While it will prevent water damage, it will not keep your energy bill from going up.
Fix #3: Glue Everything Down with Roofing Cement
In many cases, a leak is caused by a roofing shingle being lost or damaged. This usually happens after heavy winds, but shingles can also become damaged by the ultraviolet radiation of the sun. In any case, if they begin to peel away, you can glue them back down using some roofing cement. Once again, this will involve climbing onto your roof, so make sure to make safety your priority.
To perform the task, you will need a caulking gun. Fill it with roofing cement and then simply attempt to plug any holes that you find. If there are any shingles that are curled up, you can use the caulking gun to attempt to glue them back down. You can also make a quick fix for leaking roof flashing with roofing cement. The downside of this method is that it can only fix so much damage and a roofer may need to replace the shingles/flashing you’ve sealed. If you find that it’s difficult to seal any damaged shingles, you may have no choice but to call a professional roofer.
Fix #4: Call a Professional
All of the above fixes are temporary, and while they can be extremely useful for mitigating the spread of damaging water, ultimately, you will need a good roofer to repair the damage. Because water damage can spread so quickly, you will need a quick fix for a leaking roof. That’s why it’s a good idea to know a roofer that can be on call 24 hours a day, like Interstate Roofing. This way, you can get repairs done even any time.