How to Fix a Leaking Roof

A leaky roof is a major issue as it can result in a variety of problems ranging from damaged floors to a waterlogged attic. You may need to perform a DIY temporary fix for a leaking roof for immediate protection, and then get professional service to properly fix the issue. The DIY repairs can be tricky as fixing a leaky roof is a labor-intensive project and it is not for everyone. Let us explore why leaks happen, how you can fix them, and how to prevent future leaks.

Photo of a Leaking Roof

Common Causes of Leaking Roof

Age-Related Wear and Tear 

Unfortunately, all roofs have a limited lifespan and they will gradually suffer from wear and tear until they either need roof repair or roof replacement service. While you can extend the roof’s life by getting regular inspections and keeping up with the maintenance work, the roof will eventually suffer from some wear and tear. Roof leaks are a common result of age-related wear. For example, asphalt shingles have petrochemical oils that can dry out or crack over time and lose their water-shedding ability. This can result in leaks. 

Improper Installation or Poor Roofing Materials

Use of poor roofing material or Improper initial installation of the roof is a top cause of roof leaks. If the materials are not properly aligned or sealed, it can leave gaps for water to seep through. This is why it is crucial that you only hire reputed and experienced roofing contractors for any type of roofing service, including installation and inspection. 

Clogged Gutters 

The gutter plays a key role in diverting water away from the roof. However, if the gutters get clogged, they lose their ability to drain the water. Gutters can be clogged due to sticks, leaves, dirt, and other types of debris on the roof. If the water gets trapped on the roof, it is likely going to weaken the roofing structure and seep through it. 

Roof Vents 

Roof vents provide ventilation in the attic to help get rid of excessive moisture and heat. If the vents malfunction, the roofing structure can suffer damage, leading to a roof leak. 

Missing or Damaged Shingles

Shingles can get damaged or torn off due to high winds, heavy rain, snow, hail, or age-related wear and tear. Even a single missing or damaged shingle can lead to a roof leak in a shingle roof as it provides an opening for the water to make its way to the interior structure of the roof.  

Cracked Flashing 

Roof flashing helps seal joints on the roof between different components such as the skylights and vents. If the flashing gets damaged or cracked, it can cause the roof to leak. 

Photo of a Worker Installing Roof Tiles

Temporary Fixes for a Leaky Roof 

If you have a roof leak, you need to take quick action for the protection of your property. With an active leak, you need to clear the area where the water is leaking. Furniture, electronics, and other items can easily get damaged by water. Once you have cleared the area, you can move to the next step which contains any flowing water. Find any type of waterproof container, such as a bucket or washtub, and place it under the dripping water. 

With the damage control steps taken, you can move to find the leaking itself. Finding the source of the leak can be surprisingly challenging, so you may need to do a bit of investigation to find the source. 

Once you find the leak, you can use roofing cement, plastic sheets, or tar paper to lock down the leak. You can also use roofing nails to help hold the sheets to the tarp over the affected area. If you don’t have a nail, you can use heavy objects to keep it in place. You should also remove any misplaced roofing repair nails. 

While a DIY roof leak may not look pretty, taking these steps can be extremely useful in protecting your property until you get a more permanent fix. Keep in mind that even small leaks can deteriorate and turn into major leaks, so only use the temporary fix as an immediate protection for your property, and get professional service to get the issue properly fixed. 

When to Call a Professional

Whether the leak is minor or major, you need to get it fixed. Even if you have all the tools and skills to fix a minor leak, unless you are a professional roofer, it is always best to have the problem fixed by a professional. Damage to the roof is not something that you should take lightly, so the investment you make in inspection, repairs, or replacement, is worth it. 

Professional roofing contractors can help you fix leaks and also guide you on whether the leaks have resulted in other types of issues, such as mold and mildew growth, that need to be addressed. In some cases, leaks can cause structural damage, such as damage to the support beams. A professional roofer can assess the structural integrity of the building to determine if there is damage that needs to be fixed. 

Another reason to call a professional is that a DIY roofing repair can be dangerous, especially if you don’t have experience in roofing. Allowing a professional to take care of roofing repairs can help you avoid putting yourself in a dangerous situation. 

Preventing Future Leaks

Regularly check for damaged or missing shingles on the roof as that can lead to leakage. Also, pay special attention to areas of the roof that transition such as chimneys and vent stacks. These areas can develop tiny gaps and can also seep through. You may be able to apply roof sealant to fix small gaps. Also, check for moisture underside of the roof sheathing. You can also remove and replace damaged shingles, but make sure you do not damage the surrounding shingles. 

Also, keep the gutter clean so the water can drain away from the roof. If you have trees or shrubs near the roof, the gutters can get clogged by falling leaves and branches. Trim any overhanging branches that can contribute to the accumulation of debris. 

The best way to prevent future leaks is to have regular roof inspection services from professional roofing contractors. With their specialized knowledge, they can spot issues that might not be evidence to you. How often you need inspections depends on the condition, age, and type of roof. Consult with a roofer to determine the ideal frequency of having a roofing inspection.

Most roofing experts recommend getting roof inspection service twice a year – every spring and fall. However, if your roof is old, you may need more frequent inspections. On the other hand, if you just got a new roof installed by a professional company, then you can afford to have fewer inspections. However, keep in mind that even new roofs can suffer from damage, so it is better to be careful and have a regular inspection service. 

Photo of two men working on roof


What Is the Best Solution for a Leaky Roof?

The best solution for a leaky roof depends on many factors including the severity and location of the leak. Ideally, you want to find the root cause of the problem and fix that. For example, if a missing shingle caused the leak, you need to fix the leak with roof cement or other appropriate materials, and then fix the damage caused by the leak. 

How Do I Stop My Roof From Dripping?

Water is going to follow the path of least resistance. If you want to stop your roof from dripping, you need to fix the leak. Otherwise, the water will find a way to seep through and drop. A temporary fix for dripping is to install a waterproof use of plastic sheets or tarps until the repair can be done professionally. 

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

Homeowners insurance typically covers roof leaks caused by perils, however, it does not cover damage caused by general wear and tear or rot. The coverage policies for homeowners insurance can vary, so you will have to talk to your insurance provider to check if they offer coverage for roof leaks. 

Choosing Jackson Contracting for Your Roof Repair Needs

If you find yourself struggling to contain or fix a roof leak, don’t delay getting professional assistance. You are welcome to contact us at Jackson Contracting for all types of roofing services including roof leak repair. We believe in finding and fixing the root cause of the problem, rather than just “treating the symptoms.” If the source of the problem remains then water will find other ways to drip or leak. Therefore, a comprehensive inspection is required to identify and fix the source. 

At Jackson Contracting, we specialize in various roofing systems including rubber roofing, metal shingles, wood share, and more. This means regardless of what type of roofing system you have, our roofing professionals have the experience and training to find and fix leaks. For more information about how to fix a leaking roof or to book a roofing contractor visit, please contact us.