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Whether it’s a subtle drip or large gush of water, it’s never pleasant to find out your roof is leaking. When you discover a roof leak, it’s important to spring into action right away to minimize any potential damage to your house and property. If you’re stuck wondering what you should do now that you’re facing this problem, we’ve got a few suggestions for you to try.
Move Your Valuables Away
If you are home when the roof begins leaking, it’s important to move your valuables — including furniture and electronics — away from the area as soon as possible. Grab a friend or neighbor to help, especially if you have any bulky furnishings that you can’t move on your own. If some items cannot be moved, cover them the best you can by using shower curtains, tents, or anything else that can serve as a water barrier.
Catch as Much Water as Possible
Place a large bucket, trash can, or another receptacle beneath the leak to catch the water. Inspect the ceiling and take note of any bulging. If you see a large bulge forming, water is pooling in the ceiling and you are at risk for it to collapse. You will need to create a hole into the center of the bulge so the water can escape. According to SF Gate, you can use a hand drill to easily do this. A screwdriver or other tool may work as well. Just make sure to have a large container underneath to catch the surge of water when it is released. If water is merely dripping into your home, you can tarp your roof to temporarily stop the water until you can get the repairs done. However, don’t try to go onto your roof and do it yourself if it’s storming outside. Call in the pros during a storm or if any water is gushing into your home.
Mitigate the Damage Indoors
No matter how hard you try, you won’t catch all the water. Check your carpeting, flooring, baseboards, walls, and any personal property that may have gotten wet, and begin to dry it all out. You want to prevent mold growth in your flooring or walls, which can cause various health issues. If your carpet got soaked, you may need to pull it up to dry it out from underneath and replace the padding, if necessary. Contact a professional water removal and restoration company for any damage that you can’t handle on your own.
Call your Homeowners Insurance Company
If the leak was caused by a specific peril, such as a storm, then your homeowners insurance policy should cover any damages and repairs. However, if your roof was leaking because of a lack of maintenance on your part, then your coverage will probably not apply. Whatever the cause of your leak, call the insurance company, report the situation, and file a claim.
Pick the Right Roofer
Adding a tarp to your roof is a temporary fix, you’ll need to contact pros as soon as you can. You’ll want to find a licensed, bonded, and insured roofing company in your area with excellent reviews. It’s a good idea to get several bids before picking the right professional for the job.
Be aware of possible roofing scams. You might encounter storm-chasing contractors with inflated quotes, high-pressure tactics, and fluctuating estimates. Before agreeing to have the roofing work done, get all the terms in writing about the labor and material costs, as well as a time frame in which the work will be completed. If your roof is old or extremely damaged, also ask for a quote to replace it entirely rather than doing a short-term repair. Ask for a written guarantee and for a professional inspection once the work is done.
Whether you are home when your roof springs a leak or come home from vacation to find significant water damage, it’s important to stop the water from coming into your home first and then move on to fix the roof. No matter how tiny a leak might be, don’t just ignore it. It will eventually become a much larger issue, causing more damage, costs, and hassle.