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My Roof is Leaking. What Should I Do?

If you suspect your roof has a leak, it’s important to identify the problem and contact a professional before the leak causes more damage to your roof. Here are a few things you should look for if you suspect your roof is leaking.

Stains on Your Ceilings or Walls

No matter what type of ceilings or walls you have, extended exposure to water will create a discolored area of your ceiling. If the leak is near a wall, there could be stains corresponding to this leak. If this is the case, there could also be water damage within the wall.

Dripping Water or Puddles

If you can visibly see water entering the building, you have a roof leak and it should be repaired immediately. This type of leak could cause damage to not only your roof and building structure, but it could also damage equipment and other valuable items within your property. Damage could also be present within the walls.

Mold or Foul Odors

Mold grows in moist environments, so if water is entering your building there’s a chance that mold can grow and spread. If you suspect a mold problem, it should not be taken lightly since it can cause serious illness.

What Causes a Leaky Roof?

There are many ways a leak can occur. Different types of roofing systems can impact the severity of your roof leak.

Open Penetrations

Roof penetrations are HVAC units, drains, pipes and vents. These areas on your roof are more vulnerable to leaks, however, they can be properly sealed during a roof installation or spray coating.

Poor Drainage

To avoid leaks, it’s important to keep points of vulnerability clear of debris so water can drain properly. This includes gutters, drains and downspouts. They should be regularly cleaned to ensure they are clear and moving water away from your roof.

If water isn’t draining properly, you can have standing water on your roof. This water can lead to ponding, which puts excess pressure on the structure of your roof, making it more vulnerable to leaks.

Damaged Flashings

Roof flashings are the pieces of metal that are installed around conjoining areas on the roof. Flashings are installed in areas such as skylights, roof edges, interior walls and chimneys. If the flashings aren’t installed properly, it can lead to damage, allowing water to leak through your roof system.

An Aging Roof

Most roofing systems last between 15-20 years, but the life of your roof can depend on the type of roof you install. While regular maintenance can extend the life of your roof, after a certain period of time, it’s best to replace it. If you own a commercial property, building codes allow you to install up to 2 roof systems before a complete replacement is required.

Damaged Membrane

The membrane is the waterproof layer of your roof. If your roof membrane is damaged, it can allow water to leak through and saturate your insulation. Sometimes, a patch can fix the problem, but this depends on the extent of damage to your insulation.

Next Steps

Once you’ve determined that your roof is leaking, it’s important that you take critical steps to prevent further damage to your property and its structural integrity.

Reduce Interior Damage

When and if you see water flowing into your property, clear the area of valuables, equipment and supplies to reduce damage. Once the area is clear, collect the water in a bucket or something similar to keep it from collecting on your floor.

Determine If There Are More Problem Areas

Ideally, you want your leak to be limited to one area, but you will need to rule out other leaks. You’ll want to inspect your property for more problem areas. It’s important to search for other leaks right away. If you don’t, the water can dry making it difficult to find other leaks. If there’s a leak, but it’s not raining, there could be other causes, including plumbing or air conditioning.

Mark the Leak Entry Point

Once you determine the source of the leak, mark it. This is important for when you talk to your insurance company and roofing contractors. A piece of tape on the ceiling or floor where the water is entering is the best thing to do. It’s best to do this while the leak is occurring, because it might be difficult to locate the leak after the area has dried.

Call a Roofing Company or Contractor

Fixing the leak should be your next priority. You can search for a local roofing contractor using our database. Your roofing contractor will recommend the best solution, depending upon the severity of the leak. When repairing a leaky roof, there are a few options, including repairing the immediate area, restoring the top coat or replacing the entire roof system.

Call Your Insurance Agent

If your internal property is damaged, make sure you let your insurance agent know. If your policy covers internal damage and roof damage, inform your agent so that you are compensated fairly.