Owning a home can sometimes feel like one repair or update after another, and the cost isn’t the only stressful thing about making fixes. The stress that comes with hiring contractors, working with your insurance company, and figuring out timelines for completing projects can be overwhelming. When it comes to a leaky roof, there are lots of things to consider, but it’s important to act quickly to prevent any more issues. With some fast thinking, you can keep the cost of repairs down and protect your home at the same time. Here are four things to do after discovering a leaky roof.
Contain the leak
If you can clearly see where the leak is coming from, it’s a good idea to cover it on the exterior with a tarp and secure it to the roof. Some roofing companies offer a service to help you with this step, but it comes at a cost. Keep in mind that if the weather is bad, they won’t be able to pursue a repair until things dry up, so a secure tarp or other covering is essential. Keep a large bucket or other container beneath the leak to prevent damage to your flooring, or redirect the water flow back outside.
Check for damage to your belongings
It’s an unfortunate certainty that many homeowners will find damaged belongings after they discover a roof leak, especially if there’s an attic space overhead that is used for storage. If you find any damaged items, make sure you dispose of them properly, especially if they contain mold or have begun to rot. A junk hauling service can do the job for you the right way. Look online to compare prices and reviews, and to find a service near you.
Check for rot and mold
With leaky roofs come rot, drywall damage, and even mold, so it’s essential to take a look at the damage in the area of the leak. Water stains on the ceiling and walls will give you an idea of where to check; press with your fingers to make sure there are no soft areas. If insulation has been compromised, it will need to be replaced right away by a professional.
Keep in mind that if the leak occurs in winter, ice dams may be an issue and will have to be dealt with in a timely manner. An ice dam is created either when the sun comes out or when the attic space in a home is too warm and melts a portion of the ice around the edges of a roof, pushing water up under the shingles. Preventing ice dams is easy and should be done at the start of the colder seasons.
Call your insurance company
Often, the most difficult part of dealing with a leaky roof is figuring out how to pay for a repair. If the leak was caused by damage from hail or other natural event, your homeowners insurance should cover the fix. It’s a good idea to get the roof inspected to determine the extent of the damage before contacting your insurance company. Do this as soon as possible after you discover the leak, since this will help prove to the insurance company that the leak is a new one.
A leaky roof can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be a cause for panic. Take things one step at a time and make sure you get help from professionals when it’s time to replace drywall or insulation, or when you’re ready to clean up the mess. Remember to always use gloves and a mask when handling damaged wood, as safety should always be a priority.