What to Do If You Have a Roof Leak?

If you suspect you have a roof leak, take steps to protect your home until a professional can get there. You can do this by laying out a tarp and some 2x4s.

We would highly recommend calling us at Tampa Bay Roofing Services to check your roof. Water can damage ceilings, walls, flooring coverings, wood framing, and insulation. It also creates a breeding ground for mold and mildew. It is important to identify the leak and stop it as soon as possible. If you want to check for yourself while waiting for a professional roofer, here are some tips.

1. Check the Attic

First, you need to try and locate the source of the leak. Some can be spotted from the outside, such as a tree limb that’s fallen on the roof, or a missing shingle. Other sources can be a little trickier to find, especially if the water shows up at a spot far from where it’s actually coming in.

Fortunately, a little detective work can often point you in the right direction. If it’s safe to do so, head into the attic (wearing a dust mask and checking for asbestos insulation) and examine the ceiling joists and rafters for signs of water damage or mold.

You may also want to have a garden hose handy. On a rainy day, have your helper turn on the water and spray a few areas where you suspect there’s a leak. The running water should reveal the location of the leak so that you can repair it. It will also help you determine if the leak is caused by the chimney, vents or skylights.

2. Check the Ceiling

A dripping roof doesn’t fix itself, and the longer you leave it, the more damage and disruption to your home will occur. It’s essential to minimise this damage by identifying and locating the source of the leak quickly.

Brown stains on the ceiling are often the first sign of a leak, but hissing sounds can also indicate a problem. If you can, spray the area with water from a hose to test the leak’s strength.

If you have access to your attic or crawl space, use a flashlight to search for the source of the leak. Be careful, as it’s important to stay on secure framing and not to disturb rotting or damaged insulation.

It’s also worth putting down a bucket or other container to catch the leaking water. This will prevent the water from soaking through carpets and rugs, which can cause severe damage and mould development. It’s also a good idea to move furniture and possessions away from the area, or cover them with a tarp.

3. Check the Floor

Unless you’re lucky enough to find a leak where it first showed up in the ceiling, water from roof leaks can travel down rafters and into attics and living spaces. Look for soaked carpets or water stains in living areas, and consider laying down drop cloths, rubbish bags or a tarp to protect flooring and minimise staining.

Once you’ve found evidence of a roof leak, it’s time to inspect the source. If you have a ladder, head to the attic and use your flashlight to check for wet spots on the underside of the roof sheathing and rafters. Look also for rotting wood and dark mold.

4. Check the Walls

A leaky roof can cause water damage to the walls, ceiling or floors of your home. When a room gets soaked, it’s often hard to pinpoint the exact location of the leak because the water can travel up or down trusses or flashing until it finds a weak point.

Look for dark spots or discoloration on the drywall that’s been wet. Wet drywall tends to absorb light more readily than dry drywall, making it easier to track down the source of the leak.

If you can’t locate the source of your leak, get a helper to stay inside while you drape a sheet or box over the attic opening and spray it with a garden hose. Repeat this process in sections, soaking the lower portion of the roof first and then working up to the top. Make sure to mark each area where you see a wet spot on the inside of your home. This will make it easier for your roofer to find the leak when he or she arrives.