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How Do I Make a Temporary Fix for a Leaking Roof? Then What?

If you’ve ever been caught off guard by a leaky roof, you know just how quickly it can ruin your day. Not only does it give you a whole new home repair project to contend with, but if left alone long enough, that one roofing project can spiral into replacing furniture, carpet, or even the bones of your house.

Should you wake up to that telltale dripping, the most important thing to do is launch into damage control. A temporary fix for a leaking roof isn’t going to get you very far, but it will certainly help you avoid more costly damage. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! With our years of experience, we have your back. These steps will help you make a temporary fix for a leaking roof, and tell you what to do after.

Evacuate the Damaged Area

With an active leak, you need to move fast. Before you do anything else, it’s imperative that you clear out the area the water is leaking into. Move anything that could be easily damaged by water, such as books or electronics, out of the room and into a safe place until the leak is sealed.

In addition to your smaller possessions, you’ll need to clear away any furniture under the drip to prevent water damage. That constant flow can easily warp wood or soak through a sofa, so act quickly. If you have carpeting, it may even be wise to pull it up and expose the underside to the open air. As with any water damage, mold is a serious concern. By moving your furniture and pulling up the carpet, you’ll be able to more effectively dry out anything that might be susceptible to mold spores.

Contain Any Flowing Water

Once the area is secure, you can get to work containing the water itself. This isn’t exactly a temporary fix for a leaking roof, but it’s still an important step in mitigating the damage. Find any kind of waterproof container you can—bucket, pot, washtub, anything—and position it under the dripping water. It’s not pretty, and you’ll need to watch it like a hawk to make sure it doesn’t overflow, but it’s the quickest and easiest way to manage the excess water.

If you’re lucky, the weather will let up and you won’t have to worry about it too much. But realistically? If you’ve found a leak, you’re probably dealing with a bout of serious rain. If it’s something you think you’ll be living with for a little while, you may want to leave a small board or a loose rag in whatever you’re using to catch the water. It doesn’t make it any more effective at containing it, but it will help muffle the repetitive dripping sound.

Find the Leak Itself

With your triage done, you can shift your focus to making an actual temporary fix for the leaky roof. You might think that tracking down the source of the water would be as easy as following the flow, but it can be surprisingly hard to determine where the problem is. Sure, you could just throw a tarp over the entirety of your roof and call it a day, but it’s not exactly the most elegant solution. Instead, we recommend doing a little investigative work to find exactly where the water is seeping into your home.

If you have access to your attic, you’ll want to start there. Look for any protrusions, black marks, water stains, or mold. Leaks tend to form around penetrations in the roof, such as chimneys and vents, as opposed to uninterrupted shingles, so pay close attention there. If it’s still raining, you may be able to see where the water is flowing from. If not, you may need to get a little creative and enlist some help.

Have someone use a hose to douse sections of your roof with water one by one while you observe from inside. This will allow you to determine where exactly the water is getting in from the outside. Once you know that, you can get to work sealing it up.

Lock Down the Leak

Since most people aren’t professional roofers, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make an effective long-term seal. That’s totally fine! Until you can get someone else to help, all you need to do is put together something functional. It doesn’t need to be pretty; it just needs to work.

There are a few options you have for sealing up your roof, but it’s all going to depend on what you have on hand. If you have tar paper and roofing cement, you can use that to quickly spread a few layers over the leak and seal it up. For smaller leaks, you can even use caulk or cement to plug the hole.

The most common solution, however, is using plastic sheeting or tarps to cover the leak until it can be repaired professionally. It’s a simple, if unattractive, fix. Just spread out your sheeting or tarp over the affected area, then secure it in place. Roofing nails would be ideal if you have them, but you can also weigh it down with any heavy objects you don’t mind leaving on your roof. As long as you have a heavy enough seal around the sheet, it should be an effective temporary fix for your leaking roof. That being said, until you get a more permanent repair, we recommend you keep that bucket close at hand.

Seek Professional Help

With the leak contained for now, it’s time to call in the roofing experts. Roofing can be a difficult and dangerous job, and it’s best left to people who know what they’re doing. A professional roofer will be able to assess the damage and determine the best course of action. Here at Interstate Roofing, our team is dedicated to serving our community for all their roofing needs. Should you find yourself in need of some emergency roof repairs, give us a call. Our trained professionals are ready and able to help.

5 Signs of Heat Loss Through Your Roof

Your roof does a lot more than just keep the elements out: it’s also responsible for keeping the heat in, which is a job a well-built and well-maintained roof will do very well. However, if you notice that your home feels colder than it should, or if you’ve been receiving unusually high energy bills, it could indicate that your roof isn’t being the effective insulator it should be.

Below are five signs of heat loss through your roof insulation that you should be aware of.

There’s No Snow on the Roof

You’ve seen it on a hundred different Christmas cards: an image of a quaint cottage with smoke curling out of the chimney and snow piled up on the roof. It makes you feel cozy just thinking about it because you can just imagine how warm and toasty the house must be inside. But if everything in that picture was the same except there wasn’t any snow on the roof, guess what? That house wouldn’t feel warm and cozy at all.

After a heavy snowfall or even a chilly Pacific Northwest morning, frost on the roof is a good sign: it means that the roof is ice cold. This is what it should be. If, on the other hand, the ice melts when it comes in contact with your roof, it means that the roof itself is warm. This is a sure sign that heat is escaping from your home and not being kept in by the insulation. Look at your neighbor’s roofs. Are they frosty? If yours isn’t, it may be time to call your roofing contractor.

You’re Noticing Leaks—Or Condensation

Regardless of the time of year, a leaky roof is a serious problem and one you should get fixed as quickly as possible. If your roof isn’t sufficiently keeping the elements out, it can lead to some serious problems inside your home. Dripping water can damage and destroy everything it touches, from paint to carpets to your home decor and other valuable property. It can also promote the growth of mold and mildew, which can be toxic and ultimately lead to health problems for the inhabitants of the home.

You See Damaged or Missing Shingles

Your roof is one of the sturdiest and longest-lasting, parts of your home. But, eventually, even it will begin to wear out and require maintenance. As with any other part of your home, it’s a good idea to have Interstate Roofing periodically send a professional to inspect the different elements of your roof and ensure that it’s still in good working order.

If your roof hasn’t been cared for in a while, or if you’ve recently had some extremely harsh weather, you might notice signs of damage. Usually, roof shingles are the first and most obvious sign that a roof isn’t in great shape. Your shingles also provide a barrier, preventing dirt, water, and ice from sneaking its way into your home. If you see cracked, damaged, or missing shingles, your roof may be in bad shape and unable to do its job properly. This includes keeping the heat in. Warm air will seep out through any cracks or holes where roofing material has been worn away.

There Are Gaps Between Your Ceiling and Roof

Of course, even a well-made, strong roof that has been properly maintained can’t do the job alone. If there are any gaps or cracks between your ceiling and roof, warm air will make its way up there, and eventually, the heat will diffuse out of your home and into the surrounding environment. You’ll periodically want to inspect your entire home for gaps in insulation. The most vulnerable areas are usually the sealing surrounding can lights, pipes, and wiring.

Depending upon the severity of the problem, it’s often possible to fix minor damage to your insulation on your own. You can purchase silicone sealants for pipes at any hardware store. Expanding foam insulation is also available for creating airtight seals around windows and doors, but be warned: it’s nasty stuff and will absolutely stick to everything it touches. Of course, if you’re unsure if you want to tackle this job on your own, don’t be afraid to contact a professional.

You Have Insufficient Insulation in Your Attic

The efficiency of your roof, as far as keeping warm air in (or cool air during the summer), depends largely on your attic. Even if you’ve carefully sealed every crack you could find and had your shingles repaired and maintained, your roof will never reach its full potential if you don’t have great insulation in the attic itself. Over time, insulation can lose its effectiveness, as holes develop, mold grows, and materials fall from where they’re attached. Occasionally, having a professional roofer inspect and, if necessary, replace the insulation in your attic will keep your energy costs lower and your home warmer.

There are several materials roofers use to ensure an attic is well insulated, each with its own particular benefits. Loose-fill insulation, made from fiberglass or cellulose, is sprayed into place using a type of hose. It’s great for insulating nooks, crannies, and other areas that are difficult to access. It can also be layered over other types of insulation, creating an extra layer of protection from the cold.

You’ve probably also seen insulation rolls. These are long lengths of thick fiberglass that can be ideal for large areas (such as attics). Foam board insulation is also popular. Usually made from polystyrene or polyurethane, this insulation medium comes in the form of large, rigid panels that can be attached over pipes, wood, and studs.

You’ve probably also seen insulation rolls. These are long lengths of thick fiberglass that can be ideal for large areas (such as attics). Foam board insulation is also popular. Usually made from polystyrene or polyurethane, this insulation medium comes in the form of large, rigid panels that can be attached over pipes, wood, and studs.