How to Plan for a Leaky Roof
The rainy season is a vital part of our climate, it brings cool showers and attaches a cleansing fragrance to everything. But the season can also be a source of pesky homeowner issues such as leaky roofs.
In the best circumstances, a leaky roof may be no more than a minor inconvenience. But more often than not, it can create difficult problems, such as water damage and wet patches that may destroy woodwork, erode masonry, or cause mold.
Without proper preparation for the season, a leaky roof may quickly become a significant issue. And in most circumstances, it might cost you more to fix these issues than it would have cost to get rid of the leak in the first place.
Successfully weathering the season depends on taking the right steps to ensure your roof is in great condition to face wet weather. In this article, we’re sharing a handy guide to help homeowners plan for the rainy season and correctly prepare for roof leaks.
#1: Inspect for problems
Roofing issues typically start as small or non-obvious issues. For instance, you might have slightly exposed skylights or minor cracks in your shingles. Only early inspection can unearth these issues before they become a bigger problem.
Start the inspection by doing a visual examination of the roof from afar. If there are any obvious issues, such as debris on the roof, you should immediately spot these. The next stage of your examination should involve an up-close assessment of the roof and all its parts. Place a ladder up against the wall and get up on the roof to carry out this inspection. You might also get up into the attic to see if you can spot any problems from within.
Some of the signs you should look out for include:
- Missing, broken, or cracked shingles. A small crack can widen into a break that eventually compromises the whole shingle.
- Breaks or gaps in between shingles, even if they seem too small to let water in. You’ll be surprised at how well driving rains can find even the tiniest gaps in roofs.
- Sagging, bubbling, or curling of shingles, wood beams, and masonry. Any of these could indicate spots where water has come through in the past.
- Floorboards, tiles, furniture, or other upholstery that shows signs of water damage. Take some extra time to inspect these as leaks from pipes might also cause similar damage. Be certain to rule out internal leaks if you can.
- Sagging ceiling drywall. Constant water damage will lead to a sagging ceiling.
- Water stains and mold spots. Mold spots will typically appear anywhere that water leaks happen. Check the upper reaches of your walls close to the ceiling, the ceiling itself, and the attic.
If you discover any of these issues, you might have a significant roofing problem on your hands. We recommend contacting a roofing specialist at once to take a look. But if you’d like to try some home remedies first, jump to #4 for tips you might apply.
#2: Clean up debris
In the absence of significant roofing issues, your work should be mostly maintenance. A good place to begin is by clearing the debris that might have accumulated on your roof and all its parts.
If you have a flat roof or one with gentle slopes, it’s more than likely that you’ll find plenty to clean. That’s especially the case in windy areas or properties with lots of trees. Although roof debris may seem harmless, it can create pools of stagnant water that will cause problems later on. The stagnant water could weaken your shingles and seep into the home.
Places you should clean on your roof include:
- Roof gutters and downspouts. These parts of the roof are critical to getting water off the roof and into the drains. Blocked up gutters and downspouts can cause water to back up onto the surface of the roof or spill down onto your walls.
- Pipe and vent flashings. Check to see that your flashings are properly sealed and in good shape. Also ensure that vents are not blocked by sand, leaves, or other tree droppings.
- Skylights and drains. Ensure that your skylights are intact and free of debris. Piled up debris can allow water to pool against the skylight, and this might cause water to leak into your home. You should also clear your drains and make sure water passes through properly. Clogged drains might cause your downspout to back up, staining your wall and damaging rafters and sheathing.
#3: Clear the area
If the rains are accompanied by fierce winds, they can turn structures surrounding your house into dangerous projectiles. Anything from overhanging tree branches, an unsteady tree house, or even a ramshackle scaffolding leftover from some pet project can harm your roof in driving rain.
Take action to clear the area directly above and around your roof of potentially dangerous structures.
- Trim tree branches that might have been weakened in previous rains. Severe wind can break these off and punch a hole through your roof.
- Remove any temporary structures that might wobble and fall on your roof in strong rains.
- If there are any structures you cannot remove, think about strengthening them in preparation for the rainy season.
#4: Patch what you can
If you have discovered a leak in your roof, there might be some benefit to a quick fix, at least until you can get a professional involved. However, keep in mind that climbing onto the roof to attempt repairs can be a difficult and dangerous job. Only attempt a fix when you have the right tools and equipment. Some of the ways you can patch your leaky roof include:
- Laying a tarp. After locating the area of the leak, get into the roof and lay a tarp that covers the entire leak. You’ll want to ensure that the tarp starts from the highest point of your roof so no water can run under it. Then, nail the ends of the tarp to the roof to keep it from being dislodged by the wind.
- Applying roofing cement. Roofing cement is a common fix for holes, cracks, and breaks in roofs and it’s available in any hardware store or even on Amazon. Simply mix the cement and apply it to the affected spot. Make sure the roof is dry before attempting this patch though.
- Using caulk or silicone. This is not a long-term fix either, but it can be a useful patch for small holes in a soffit, shingle, or flashing. Apply silicone directly on the hole, break, or crack and let it dry.
#5: Let a professional take a look
Although less severe issues like a single minor leak or cracked shingle may not need professional help, don’t attempt to take on the bigger issues by yourself. If you’re seeing multiple breaks or holes in your roof, or have found rotten beams, it’s best to call in a roofing professional.
It might also be a good idea to let a professional do a thorough inspection of your roof, at least once every six months, and especially before the rainy season starts. This way they can help uncover hidden issues, provide an expert assessment of what repairs are necessary, and help effect the necessary repairs.
When looking out for a roofing contractor, you should learn how much experience they’ve got on the job. You need a long-term roofing investment and not something short-term. It is also advisable that you look out for reviews about their services or ask the person who gave the reference. They are in the best position to tell you what you need to know.
When you take the time to find the right roofing contractor you can elevate the appearance of your home, increase its curb appeal, and add to the overall value of your property.
If you’re looking for a roofing company in San Diego to provide the best quality materials, warranties, and service. Call GBC today for a free estimate!