Is a roof leak an emergency?

What do you do if your roof is leaking?

A leaking roof – no homeowner ever expects this to happen. As a homeowner, there are a few things that you expect to happen, and you take it in stride, like mowing the yard, a window broke by a baseball, an overflowing toilet, a jammed garbage disposal, etc. They aren’t fun to deal with, but it is all a part of homeownership. With a surprise leaking roof, it is never a convenient time. If it happens, is there anything you can do about it? Fortunately, to some extent, yes there are a few things that will allay the damage, curtail the cost and maybe, avoid future leaks.

  • Halt the water damage – Once you have discovered a leaking roof, you need to minimize the possible water damage. If you can’t get your electronics, furniture, and anything valuable out of the house, cover it with plastic.
  • Hold the water – Set buckets, pails, or any portable waterproof container under the area where the leaking roof is and catch any more water that is coming in. Place plastic, towels, or clothing around the container to catch the splash. If there is any bubbling around the pain, puncture the bubbles. This will release any water held in those bubbles.  If you cannot control the water coming from the leaking roof, call ProCraft Exteriors as soon as possible for roof leak repair.
  • Get rid of the water – After the leaking roof is under control, empty the container(s) that were catching the water and begin the drying process. The carpet, furniture, belongings, rugs, and thoroughly dry out any woodwork to prevent water stains and prevent mildew and mold from starting. Pull up any soaked carpeting so the padding can air. Take any rugs out and place them in an area where they can hang to dry. With extensive damage from a leaking roof, you must call a professional extraction company.
  • Call your insurance company – Whether you see any or not, your home could have heavy damage. Call your insurance company and file a claim. They will send an adjuster to review the damage and find out the need for any roof repair, what is it that caused the damage and determine if they cover it.

After your leaking roof is fixed

After you have done all you can, get your leaking roof fixed by an experienced and licensed roofing contractor. Once the immediate needs are met like stopping the leaking roof, the roof has been repaired or replaced, take the following steps to assure it doesn’t happen again:

  • Trim back trees – Tree branches can do a lot of damage to a roof. Limbs break off, land on the roof and puncture it, low-hanging limbs rub the roof and over time, this can compromise its performance and create a leaking roof.
  • Clean the gutter system – Gutters and the downspouts get filled and clogged up with dirt, debris, leaves, limbs, and nests from small critters and insects. You can clean most of this out by using your garden hose to flush the clogs out. The best and most complete way to clean your gutters is to call a professional gutter cleaning company. Many roof repair companies offer gutter cleaning services too.
  • Get roof flashing checked – Sometimes, leaking roofs are caused by loose or missing flashing around the chimney, pipe collars, and vents. Something as simple as roof repair with flashing could be all that is needed. With periodic checks, you can catch these things before a leaking roof even happens.

What are the signs of a leaking roof?

After a good rain, if you see water in places that it shouldn’t be, you may have a leaking roof or leaking pipes in the bath or kitchen, but what if you don’t see a leak anywhere? Regardless of the leak is big or small, if not repaired it can cause damage and havoc to your home.  Here are indicators that your problem is a leaking roof.

Water Stains

Water stains on the ceiling with a brown ring means you have either a leaking pipe from an upstairs bathroom, your HVAC system, or a leaking roof. Then sometimes stains are visible, like in a dark corner. Because it is a small stain, it doesn’t mean it is a small leak. If you see a stain and leaking roof, check for mold.

There’s Dripping from The Ceiling or Walls

If you see water dripping from the ceiling or notice moisture on the walls, this could be an indication of a leaking roof.  What if that leak stops, and the moisture dries up? That doesn’t mean the leaking roof has healed itself – you need to call a professional roofing contractor, and have it checked. There could be an ice dam on the roof from ice and snow freezing and thawing that has worked its way up under your shingles.

The Exterior Walls Are Spotted

A periodic check of the roofline from outside is a must for homeowners. IF there are visible water spots when it hasn’t rained or snowed, there could be a problem where the roof and walls meet. Most likely, it is the flashing has come loose and a professional roofing contractor can fix that for you. If the walls have moss on them, it gives your home a rustic look, but it also an indication that your gutter system isn’t working, and a leaking roof isn’t far behind.

Loose or Missing Shingles

During your regular visual inspection from the ground, if you notice any loose or missing shingles or the flashing is loose or missing around the chimney, piping, vents, or along the seams where the roof pitches meet, it is time to call a roofing contractor before you have a leaking roof.

Can Roof leaks cause mold?

Definitely! And mold can start growing from a leaking roof in a matter of 2 or 3 days, even less. The only thing that multiplies as fast or faster than cockroaches is mold. Once the water has entered your home and can become stagnate, mold spores develop within the moist surface.  There are two kinds of mold growth from a leaking roof:

Limited growth occurs in an attic with ventilation is good enough, but moisture can still accumulate in the area immediately around the leak. This is an easy fix by repairing the leaking roof and kill the existing mold.

Systemic growth occurs when a leaking roof builds up enough moisture to create mold that grows throughout the whole attic. Mold remediation is necessary in this case, and it isn’t a DIY job either. You must call a professional mold removing service to restore your home to a healthy, safe home.

In either case, the leaking roof issued needs to addressed immediately so that the mold doesn’t continue growing and creating health risks to your family. If not addressed, not only will mold spores spread throughout your home through the HVAC system, it weakens the structure too.

Is it OK to replace a roof in the winter?

While it isn’t the most ideal time, a leaking roof repair is done properly by experienced roofing contractors, a wintertime roofing job can be successful. A cold, frozen roof is dangerous, and there are contractors that will not do roofing jobs in the winter. You want to clarify this when you are calling roofing contractors and verify their experience in repairing leaking roofs during the winter.

leak stain on ceiling

Is a leaking roof covered by insurance?

Every homeowner’s policy is different and the best thing you can do is read your policy or call your agent to review the terms with you.  A leaking roof caused by a peril like a fire, hailstorm or wind will are covered under your policy – but there may be an exclusion to any of those things. What most, if not all, homeowner policies do not cover is any damage caused by lack of the homeowner’s basic maintenance, nor do they cover normal wear and tear.

Your home is a big and important investment. Taking care of it should be a priority, from mowing the lawn, painting the exterior, fixing a leaking roof, and other basics. The better you take care of this investment, the longer it will last you and the more ROI you’ll get. If you have a stain on your ceiling and suspect a roof leak in Chesterfield and St. Louis, MO, call (314) 786-3732 for ProCraft Exteriors!