7 Things Homeowners Should Do Immediately After Signs of a Roof Leak – Today’s guest blog is by Julian Lane. The opinions expressed by the author in this and all guest blogs are not necessarily those of Gainesville Restoration and Remodeling.
Replacing a roof is one of the most expensive repair costs homeowners can face. That’s why acting right away at the first signs of a leaking roof is crucial in making sure you stop the water from causing major damage — not only to your home but to your savings, as well. Left unaddressed, water damage to your roof can result in mold, mildew, and a weakened structure.
Here are seven things homeowners should do immediately after discovering a roof leak.
Pay Attention to the Signs
In many cases, you’ll notice the signs of a roof leak by seeing dark-colored spots on your ceiling. In some cases, though, the water may have been causing more damage before the signs are evident. Other signs of a roof leak include:
- Mold or mildew on the ceiling or walls.
- Stale, wet odors.
- Bubbling or bowing ceilings or walls.
- Unusually high water bills.
Find and Stop the Water
Go into your attic to locate the area that is leaking, and then place containers to stop the flow of water from further damaging your home. Next, if you have the experience or the ability to safely go on to your roof, take a look at the materials above the area where the water is dripping in. You may be able to fix the issue quickly, but for major damage, it’s more likely you’ll need to cover the area with a tarp until a professional can make an assessment.
Check Nearby Areas for Additional Signs of Damage
Now that you have at least temporarily addressed the source of the leak, look in your attic, at your walls, and under your carpet to identify other areas that have been damaged by water. For example, if you discover the leak is from a tree limb falling on your home, look at your trees to see if other limbs are on the edge. Perhaps a storm tore shingles from your roof. Look at the roof of your carport or garage to assess any other damage the winds may have caused.
Dry and Remove Water-Damaged Items
Chances are, some of your possessions have also fallen victim to the roof leak, so it’s important to address those issues. From items stored in your attic or possessions in the house below the leak, you’ll want to clean everything thoroughly.
For items that are damaged beyond repair, you may need to hire a local junk removal service to get them out of your home. These services can remove furniture, mattresses, and other large items and properly dispose of them, allowing you to continue focusing on addressing the issues inside your home. After all, the longer these items stay on the property, the more likely you’ll experience further damage — to your home and health — from mold and mildew.
Call Your Homeowners Insurance
After you have made sure the leak is addressed and have conducted an extensive search to find all the damage, it’s time to give your homeowner’s insurance agent a call. Submit a claim with as much detail as possible. Your company with send someone out to make an assessment, but it’s really helpful to make a list and take pictures so you have the documentation you need to get the ball rolling on your insurance claim.
Fix the Leak
Whether it’s a roofing professional hired by your insurance company or a simple fix you’re able to address yourself, you’ll need to get the leak fixed as quickly as possible. After all, whatever measures you have taken to temporarily stop the water flow won’t last forever. Keep in mind that different roofing materials have different repair techniques, as well as different costs. If you are fixing the leak yourself, be sure to research materials and make sure you get the proper tools and equipment to do the job right the first time.
Prevent Future Leaks
Fixing your leak now is crucial to stopping the current problem, but you’ll also want to take stock of any potential future issues. Be confident your roof is in good shape and protected by:
- Trimming your trees.
- Cleaning your gutters.
- Inspecting the areas around your chimney and exhaust vents.
- Fix any broken or exposed pipe collars.
If you watch for the signs of water damage and catch a roof leak early on, you stand a really good chance of getting ahead of any major issues. This can save you a lot of headaches, both now and in the future. Water damage is something that can have a lasting impact, which is why roof leaks should be taken seriously with immediate action.