How to fix a Leaking Roof: Homeowner’s Guide to Roof Leak Repair

roof leak repair

Owning a home is a wonderful experience in life, however, it comes with some almost unavoidable headaches, like the dreaded leaky roof. Roof leak repair can be costly and time-consuming but is one of the necessary maintenance tasks that all homeowners will have to take care of when it happens.

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The dangers of a leaky roof

If your roof is leaking, the damage is not limited to the roof itself. The leak can be damaging your home down to the foundation, causing costly, and dangerous, foundation and structural damage.

On its way down to your foundation, water coming in through any spot where your roof needs a repair wreaks havoc within your home. The risks range from mold and mildew, dangerous slippery floors, and fire hazards since water and electricity are notoriously bad together.

 

How to Identify Roof Leaks

Ignoring a leaky roof can be putting you, your family, and your wallet at risk, but there is good news. You can keep an eye out for some common signs that you may require a roof repair, and save yourself some money in the long run.

 

Missing or damaged shingles

Depending on your roof type, you may be able to determine that a shingle repair is needed if you see any missing/damaged shingles.

 

Light coming in from the attic

If you venture up into your attic and can see light coming in from any spot of the roof, that is a spot where water can leak in as well.

 

Water stains and spots

The most frequent sign of a leaky roof is water stains and spots on your ceilings. If it is not on the top floor of your home, there is a chance that the water stains or spots are coming from plumbing, but either way, you should act immediately to prevent further, and more costly, damage.

 

Look for cracks around windows and walls

Sometimes the culprit of what appears to be a roof leak may not be the roof at all. If there are cracks around a window or in the upper portion of your home, wind-driven rain can come in through these spaces.

 

Enlist the help of a friend

If there isn’t any visible, or easily visible, damage to your roof, but you can see that there are some signs of a roof leak you may need a second person to help you identify the area.

One of you will have to go up on the roof with either a hose or bucket of water and the other will need to go into the attic or top floor of your home and yell once they see the water coming in.

The best approach is to pour the water above where you see the signs of the leak, as the water will typically travel down from the source of the leak.

Continue pouring higher until you find the section that needs some roof repair.

 

How to Prevent Roof Leaks

In addition to looking for early warning signs, there are some actions you can take to prevent roof leaks from forming.


Keep your gutters clear

Clogged gutters can cause water to pool in areas of the roof which leads to cracking, and therefore, a leak into your home. It is best to check your gutters every 3 months to ensure they are clear and draining the water off your roof and away from your foundation.


Spend more on installation

It may seem like a good idea at the time to go with the cheapest roofing option, but it could end up costing you more money in the end.

The price of a new roof can cause a serious case of sticker shock, but be sure that this is about half (or less) than what you would have to pay in the event of a roof leak.


Take care of snow/ice

Now, if you live in Orlando or another part of central Florida, snow, and ice may be the least of your worries when it comes to home maintenance, but it is always best to know what to do in advance.

Ice and snow are incredibly heavy and can cause a lot of damage to roofs if left to build up on top of it. Some systems can be installed to help with keeping the snow and ice from building up on the roof and tend to be quite common in areas that receive regular snowstorms.

If roof leak repair due to snow or ice is a concern in your area, it is best to contact a certified roofing company to speak about your options.


Check for signs and take action

You can prevent a minor leak from getting worse by looking for signs that there may be a leak periodically. Once you identify a sign that you have a leaky roof, you must take action as soon as possible.

Taking action to fix a leak is key to minimizing the loss that the roof leak can cause you. Use a pair of binoculars outside to check your roof so you don’t have to climb up on top of it, lessening the possible risk you will be injured.


Look at your flashings

The flashings on the roof are meant to seal off cracks, joints, and spaces where two sections come together. Roof flashings are generally made of a thin sheet of metal. You can find it typically around chimneys or where the roof meets a wall or another section of the roof.

The flashings help to direct the water away from and protect these areas, as they are more at risk than the rest of the roof.

If you see any gaps, or if it is loose or missing, you may need roof flashing repair.

 

How to Fix Roof Leaks

Roof leak repair can range from a fix to a total roof replacement. Factors that influence what would need to be done include the age of your roof, your roofing material, how long the leak has been occurring, and the amount of damage that has occurred.

 

Materials needed

The materials needed to repair your leaky roof will vary greatly based on the type of roofing material on your home.

  • Asphalt Shingles: A quick repair for damaged shingles would generally be a few new shingles and nails to replace the damaged ones or the shingles around the leak.
  • Tiles: These can be made of clay or concrete, depending on your preference. They are heavier than regular asphalt shingles, but also sturdier. Similar to shingles, these can be replaced individually where the damaged portion is located.
  • Metal: Metal roofs involve fewer individual pieces, and if you are experiencing a leak with your metal roof, there is a good chance that it is coming from the flashings, so you may just need to replace them. Alternatively, your roof may need to be reaffixed around the edges.
  • Flat Roof: Flat roofs are commonly found on commercial buildings, but they can also be on residential buildings as well. If you have a flat roof on your home, there are a variety of roof coverings that can be used.

Rubber roofing, or EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer), is the most common. There is also rolled roofing, PVC membrane, and built-up roofing that can be used. You will want to call a roofing professional to assist you with any type of flat roof repair.

 

Equipment Needed

The equipment needed to repair your roof will vary depending on the roofing material and the type of repair that you are performing, however, some go across the board.

 

  • Assistance: You should never do a roofing job alone. It is incredibly dangerous to climb on the roof of any home, and accidents can happen. You need to have at least one other person there with you to assist in the
    job and to act if an accident were to occur.
  • Ladders: Of course you have to get onto the roof before you can begin the roof repair so you will need a ladder for you to climb from the ground. Depending on the roof type and the repair you’re working on you may also
    need a chicken ladder. A chicken ladder is a ladder that hangs from the pitch, or top, of the roof and allows for safer movement up and down the roof.
  • Safety Equipment: You will need a hard hat, safety glasses, steel-toed boots, gloves, and knee pads. These items will help you to complete the job in the safest manner possible.
  • Toolbelt: Keep your tools in easy reach by keeping them by your side throughout the job. This is a great place to keep some of the necessities like your tape measure and hammer.
  • Miscellaneous: The majority of the other equipment you will need depends greatly on the roofing type you will be working on. You may need a nail gun, pry bar, wet saw, roller, snips, or other various tools that are specific to the roof repair and type you are performing.

 

Roof Leak Repair Costs

As we discussed earlier, the cost of repairing your leaky roof will vary based on the cause, extent, and duration of the leak in addition to the roofing material used on your home. For the roof alone, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the type of repair and roofing material.

 

Hiring a Professional

Inexperienced homeowners should not attempt to repair or even get on the roof of your home. There is a long list of things that can go wrong while you are up there, which will undoubtedly add to the stress and financial burden that is caused by the need for roof leak repair in the first place. It may seem costly upfront, but hiring a licensed professional can save you money in the long run.

Professionals such as GOAT Roofers, serving Orlando and central Florida, have been in the business for years, and are fully licensed and insured. We have over 30 years of experience working with all different types of roofing and can ensure that your job will be done quickly and correctly, utilizing just the amount of time
needed to complete the job.

Residential to commercial, leaks to total replacements, GOAT Roofers will come to you and give you a free estimate along with options and their costs.

 

Working with Insurance

Not every leak is covered by insurance. If you are concerned about what is covered through your insurance policy, you should contact your insurance company to get a full explanation. In general, a typical home insurance policy does not cover leaks that are determined to be a maintenance problem. This makes it all the more important to keep an eye on the condition of your roof and make sure the repairs are completed before they become a bigger problem.


Roof leak repairs that are typically covered by insurance are caused by a sudden event, like a heavy rainstorm or high winds. An estimate for repairs performed by a licensed roofing professional would be required by most insurance companies before your home claim would be able to move forward. That’s why getting a quick response like you get when you work with GOAT Roofers, is essential.


Within 48 hours, we will have one of our licensed professionals at your location creating an estimate for the repairs necessary to make your space safe again.

 

Conclusion

While there is a myriad of items you need to keep track of when you own a home, you don’t have to go at it alone. Roof leak repairs can be daunting and overwhelming to try to complete yourself.

When you know the signs to look for, and you make a habit of looking for those signs and surveying the condition of your roof every year (set a reminder in your phone so you don’t forget), you can decrease the chances that you will end up with a large amount of costly damage from a leaky roof.

Keeping up on the maintenance of your roof will also make sure that if a tough storm or other event were to cause severe damage, that your insurance company will cover the cost of the repairs.

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