What do you do when your roof is leaking?

Woman holding a bucket and collecting water from a leak in the ceiling.

Dealing With a Leaking Roof

Summer rains are wonderfully relaxing, aren’t they? The temperature drops, things get quieter outside, and you hear the pitter-patter of raindrops. Well – it’s all relaxing until you hear larger drops, almost like running water coming from a leaking roof. And then, suddenly you’ve gone from relaxing to reacting to a leak in the roof of your house. If you’ve found yourself in need of help with a leaking roof in Augusta, GA, contact the Raborns Roofing & Restorations team by calling (706) 814-3207 today.

Is a roof leak an emergency?

Every leaking roof, from the occasional drip to rain pouring in, should be handled as an emergency. Why? Because water, while it is a natural resource we need, can also be damaging. Consider what water did to the deserts of Arizona over the years – it created a natural beauty we call The Grand Canyon. 

While that may seem a bit extreme compared to a leaking roof, it helps you get the idea that a leaking roof can lead to bigger issues, right? Here we have three things that are big indicators your home’s condition has been compromised due to a leaking roof. 

The Ceiling: Dripping and Discoloring 

If you notice a discolored area on the ceiling after a few days of heavy rains, you have probably identified a leaking roof. The sooner you have this repaired the better – and keep in mind that you may not be able to wait a few days, either. The roof decking and underlayment are going to be overwhelmed by all that rain, and that discolored area will get even bigger and even lead to drips coming into your home.

The Flooring: Puddling 

If you walk through a puddle of water during the night where there shouldn’t be water, or find it in the bathroom or kitchen but don’t see any signs of leaky pipes or faucets, you could have a leaking roof on your hands. And as the rain continues, that puddle will only get larger as the leak in your roof grows. 

The Walls: Moist and Peeling Paint

If you notice water running down an inside wall, or see paint peeling and wallpaper buckling, you could be dealing with a leaking roof. This is true especially if there is also a discolored area on the ceiling and walls. 

Additional Indicators of a Problem

If you notice discoloration in multiple spots or find several areas where there is water dripping from the ceiling, you have more than a leaking roof on your hands. You now have extensive damage beyond a leaking roof, and a temporary fix is needed ASAP. After the rain subsides and stops, walk around the outside of your home and look for possible causes of a leaking roof. Note that repair may not be immediately available, even with massive external damage like missing shingles, so call a roofing contractor to schedule an inspection and repair as quickly as you can. 

What do you do if your ceiling is leaking?

First, contact a roofing contractor. A leak is possible if it has been raining a while, and you probably aren’t the only one with a leaking roof, so they may be booked up with emergencies. That’s why you’ll need to take emergency action after scheduling the appointment, and we’ll review how to take that emergency action here. 

It’s time to contact your insurance company and file a claim. An adjuster for the company will contact you to schedule a time to inspect the leaking roof and damage. If they offer you a list of contractors, you can advise them on whether you have one or take the information to get more than one estimate. 

Now – a temporary leaking roof repair!  

  • To cover a large area, spread a plastic tarping over the area of the leaking roof. Nail 2×4’ board around the edges, creating a square. 
  • Apply a flexi-tape around the edges of the tarp. 
  • Nail any loose shingles in place and apply roofing cement around the edges. 
  • Put your flexi-tape over any small holes without shingles, and then cover the area with roofing cement. 

How do you fix a leaky roof?

A leaking roof will cause a lot of interior issues as well as exterior damage and damage to the attic. It is important to get leaking roof repair quickly to maintain the structure of your home. Repairing the exterior of a leaking roof is best left to a professional, but if you’re up to this labor-intensive repair, use the following steps as a guideline: 

1. Locate the Leak

Starting at the lowest point, like the stained ceiling, inspect upward toward the attic. With a flashlight, access the attic searching for signs of water, and then follow any drips in a vertical upward direction. You’ll see where there is water damage on the under decking, possibly even finding mildew and mold if you’ve had a leaking roof for a while. 

Now, with your flashlight follow along the roof vent around your attic fan, plumbing pipes, turbines, or other elements extruding from the roof that could have metal flashing. 

2. Examine Roof Vents

If you discover the leaking roof stems from these areas, you’ll need to inspect them from the rooftop. There could be bent, loose, or missing flashing, along with issues such as torn rubber booting or loose and missing nails. 

3. Remove Damaged Vents

From the roof, remove any damaged roof vents with a pry bar, pulling the nails out. Then, with the pry bar, raise up any shingles that cover the vent base and remove any nails left from holding the vents. After that, remove the vents. 

4. Replace Roof Vent

Apply a thick string of roofing cement or sealant along the vent flashing. Then slide the new vent under the shingles. Place metal flashing over the shingles around the vent and nail the flashing and vents into place. Next, put roofing cement or sealant over all the nails. 

5. Remove the Old Roofing Shingles

If the leaking roof has roofing deck damage, remove at least two rows of shingles from that area using a pry bar. 

6. Replace the Roofing Felt 

Remove any roofing felt from the damaged area using a utility knife. 

7. Mark the Roof Deck Area

With a chalk line, mark the location of the roof rafters on both sides of the leaking roof damage of the roof deck. Mark the center of the roof rafters as well. 

8. Cut Out any Damaged Roof Decking

With a circular saw, follow the chalk lines, cut out the leaking roof’s damaged area, and remove any nails with a pry bar. 

9. Cut a New Roof Decking Patch

10. Attach the Roof Decking Patch

Place the new roof decking patch where the damaged piece was removed and nail it into place with 8d nails along the rafters.

11. Lay New Underlayment

Starting at the bottom, work upwards, nailing down new roofing felt with 4-inch overlaps. 

12. Install the First Row of Shingles

Start at the bottom and lay your first row of new shingles, maintaining the established rows from left to right. Apply roofing cement in a bead along the shingle bottoms and nail the top of the shingles into place. 

How do you fix a leaking roof from the inside?

It may be a while before the exterior of a leaking roof can be patched or repaired. So, in the meantime, you should take the following steps to seal the leaking roof on the inside.

  1. You probably have a bulging ceiling where water is accumulating from the leaking roof. Give the water a path to drain by placing a tarp and bucket under that area. Then poke a nail or screwdriver in the bulge and let the water run into the bucket. 
  2. Allow the area to dry and then go into the attic to locate where the leak in the roof is coming from.
  3. Mark the area with chalk so you’ll know where it is later. 
  4. Using a rubber roof patch material, apply liberally over the roof leaking area and spread over it evenly, covering the entire area. 
  5. Allow the patch time to dry, and then place caulk along the edges and over any holes you see around the area. 

Can a leaking roof cause mold?

Among other things, a leaking roof will lead to mildew, create mold, and more. That mold can spread throughout your home and into your HVAC system. Once there, it will spread through the vents into the area, allowing your family to breathe it in as it invades the carpeting, furniture, and more. 

A leaking roof will also cause your utility bills to increase as mold makes HVAC systems work harder. Any electrical wiring in the attic is also at risk with a leaking roof, which is a possible fire hazard, and as the attic becomes compromised, so does the entire structure of your home. 

Who can fix my leaking roof?

Calling a roofing contractor is always suggested. While you can take the temporary repairs we mentioned here, remember that they are just temporary. A professional roofing contractor that is certified, insured, and licensed, as well as local to the area, is your better option. 

Is a leaking roof covered by homeowners’ insurance?

Most homeowners’ insurance policies will help with repair expenses from a leaking roof caused by acts of God, fire, and hail. This will fall under the dwelling coverage of your homeowner’s insurance policy. If any contents are damaged, that will be covered under personal property coverage. 

If you have a leaking roof and water damage that the insurance adjuster finds to be caused by homeowner neglect, meaning you should have replaced or repaired the roof prior to the damage, then your claim will likely be denied.


Man working to repair a leaking roof.

In Closing 

Our best recommendation is always to take care of your leaking roof as soon as possible. If there is any missing roof, seek safe shelter and then call your insurance agent. Remember that the safety of you and your family is always paramount. And if you find yourself in need of help with a leaking roof in Augusta, GA, contact Raborns Roofing & Restorations today at (706) 814-3207.