Everyone knows to grab a bucket and place it directly beneath a roof leak to limit interior water damage. But beyond that, most homeowners have no idea what to do when there’s a roof leak. A quick Google search will bring up all sorts of conflicting advice, most of it bad. For instance, one expert recommends “tying yourself to the roof” so if you fall you don’t hit the ground. While this may save your life, it can still result in some serious injuries.
So how do you fix a leaky roof? You don’t. Any other answer is wrong. Only a qualified, professional roofer should be on your roof fixing a leak. To do otherwise risks your safety and it may also void the warranty. Professional roofers have all the proper tools and safety equipment to do the job right.
What should you do
While you shouldn’t attempt the repair yourself, you should of course try to minimize the damage until a roofer can come out. If water is already coming through the ceiling, that means using buckets or whatever you have on hand to collect the water. If you’ve caught the leak before water is dripping inside your home but you see discoloration or a bulge in the ceiling, you can place a bucket directly beneath that part of your ceiling and with a pencil or some other sharp object, poke a small hole to let the water out. If you don’t do this, that entire section of your ceiling can collapse and make a real mess.
Call a professional
However bad the leak, you should call a roofer the second you’ve taken care of the immediate threat. If there’s a major storm and all of the reputable roofers are swamped with work, don’t settle for an amateur. At the very least, a roofer should be able to come out, identify the source of the leak, and lay down a tarp to prevent any further damage until he/she can come back and apply a more permanent fix.