When a heavy storm passes through town, roofers become the most popular people in the telephone book. Residents all over town are dealing with missing shingles and water leaking through the ceiling. Since there are a limited number of dependable residential roofing contractors, many customers must wait a while to get some attention. Here are some tips for controlling a roof leak until the roofer arrives.
Cartoons show characters placing pots and pans on floors and tables in order to handle their leaky imaginary homes. This idea is not just a fantasy. Pots, pans, and other large containers are perfect for catching water as it drips through the ceiling. Put them on the floor or a table under a leak and dump the water once a container is full.
When water drips through the ceiling due to a leak, it is usually coming from a growing reservoir on top of ceiling material. To contain ceiling damage, create a pencil-sized hole in the ceiling at the location of the drip. This small area will be easy to fill with a plaster patch and the repair will be less expensive than replacing a large section of drywall or plaster.
The best way to address a leak is to catch it before it hits the ceiling. Take a bright flashlight to the attic to identify the entry point for the water. Place a container under the leak to catch the water before it hits the ceiling of the lower floor, dumping contents when the container is full. If leaks are coming from multiple places in the same general area, staple or nail a tarp to the rafters to catch the water and direct it into the bucket, similar to a funneling technique.
A tarp can also be used to cover the section of the roof that contains the leak. The tarp should be nailed or stapled to shingles to prevent it from blowing off before the roofer arrives. Avoid doing this during a rainstorm because the roof can be slippery when it is wet. Even climbing onto a roof between rainstorms can be dangerous so proceed with caution.
These emergency techniques should keep the leak contained until the roofer can address it. It is important to note that they are not alternatives to professional roof repair. A roofer will assess the roofing materials and construction and determine whether the leak can be repaired or if the roof requires replacement.