April Showers Bring May…Roof Leaks?

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There are many different types of roof leaks that a homeowner may encounter. Emergency leaks can happen for a number of reasons, as can slow leaks that cause damage over time. A roof leak can cause expensive damage to your home so keep reading to find out what you should do if your roof is leaking.

Dangers of a Leaking Roof

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There are a lot of potential problems that can be caused by a leaking roof, many of which are avoidable if you take quick action when you first notice a leak.

Roof leaks that aren’t addressed quickly can cause mold and mildew growth. Besides being a health concern, mold can completely ruin wall and floor coverings, wood framing, and ceilings. Additionally, the presence of mold can potentially decrease the value of your home and make it less desirable to buyers if you put it on the market.

We don’t think about this often, but roof leaks can also be a fire hazard. Water and electricity do not mix and if leaking water makes its way into your home’s electrical wiring, it can short circuit the wires or cause electrocution.

An influx of water, or even a slow roof leak over time can cause damage to insulation. Water damaged insulation is no longer effective insulation. Your home’s insulation acts as a thermal barrier, keeping hot air from entering your home during the hotter months and warm air from exiting your home during the winter. If your home’s insulation is ruined by leaking water, you may notice an increase in your energy bills.

Your attic is something that you probably don’t think about much, but attic ventilation is responsible for keeping the living space of your home comfortable. Water leaks can create issues with your attic ventilation and affect the comfort level in the rest of your home.

A persistent roof leak can also damage your ceilings. Leaking water will make stains on the ceilings, damage paint, and cause plaster to bubble and expand. If you are experiencing these type of roof leaks, it is important to have your drywall repaired after you have your roof fixed.

In the coming sections we’ll discuss how you can tell if your roof leak is an emergency or not, but please note that all roof leaks need to be taken care of quickly. A leaky roof never gets better and even a “small” leak can cause big problems over time.

Determine If the Leak Is an Emergency

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Severe leaks can occur due to a number of reasons, including roof damage from a storm. Even small leaks can become a more serious issue if they aren’t fixed quickly. The first step when you have a roof leak is to determine if the leak is an emergency.

A roof leak is considered an emergency if water is coming in profusely or the leak begins to interrupt daily life in your home. Whether your roof leak was caused by a storm, failing roofing components, or some other reason, keep reading to find out what you can do when you experience a roof leak.

Roof Leaks from Storm Damage

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Roofing systems are designed by manufacturers to withstand multiple storms, but roofing materials can deteriorate over time. A severe storm with hail and wind driven rain can cause roof damage and interior leaks.

Severe rainstorms can last for hours to several days. If you notice your ceiling start to discolor during a storm, it’s a sign your roof has begun to leak. If the weather persists, the leak can grow, and pooling water can release rainwater into your ceiling. Often the clearest sign of rainwater penetration is a puddle of water on the floor. Puddling water is an indication of massive internal roof damage.

Wet, paint peeled walls can indicate a roof leak near the wall. Large amounts of water along your walls can visibly damage the wall material and the paint. If you notice water pouring in along your walls during heavy rains, it can be difficult to detect where the leak is occurring because sometimes the ceilings over these sections don’t discolor.

If you notice several leaks or ceiling discolorations during severe weather, it is evidence that your roof has suffered extensive storm damage. If you find that your roof has suffered severe storm damage outside, you will need an emergency roof repair to avoid even more damage.

Your roof technician should inspect the roof and reinforce water infiltrated areas to avoid future water damage. Putting off repairs can cause more damage, especially with exposure to strong wind driven rain or hail. This is why it’s important to have a roof inspection after a storm. Leaks that continue unchecked can mean the difference between a simple repair and a full roof replacement.

Do Not Ignore Small Leaks

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It’s possible to determine the severity of a roof leak by monitoring the speed at which water flows from the affected area. Bigger and faster water drips mean there’s more of an emergency, which could require roof tarping or other immediate attention. If a roof leak does not interfere with the daily lives of the homeowners, the leak is usually small and not considered an emergency. However, this does not mean that the leak can be ignored.

Even small leaks can cause a lot of damage over time, bringing about costly roof and interior repairs that could have been avoided. The damage from a small leak can get worse every day if it is left unchecked. The bottom line is that no matter the size of the leak, you need to contact a local roofing company. At Orbit Roofing, we will send a roof specialist to your home who is trained and experienced in finding the source of the leak and then make repairs to stop further damage, potentially saving you money in the long run.

Move Your Belongings

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Experiencing a leaking roof is bad enough, but the last thing you want is for leaking water to ruin your belongings. If your roof is causing a leak over furniture, clothing, or other items, it’s imperative to move your belongings out of the way of the incoming water. Water has the potential to completely destroy your belongings. Push furniture out of the way of the leak or out of standing water if possible. Clear the area of any bedding or clothing because fabrics will retain moisture and become a breeding ground for mildew and mold.

Sometimes roof leaks happen when you’re away from home, only for you to return to damage that has already occurred. If this is the case, keep reading to find out what steps you should take before cleanup even begins.

Contain the Water

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After you’ve moved your belongings out of the path of water leaking from your roof, it’s important to contain the water as much as possible. Use whatever is easily accessible, such as buckets, garbage cans, and towels to capture the water and reduce its ability to do more damage to your home and belongings.

It’s important to note that water can cause damage to your floors, including tile flooring. If left in standing water, grout can weaken, and tiles can lift. Wood floors and carpets will absorb water. Although vinyl floors typically resist water damage, even they can be damaged by large amounts of water from a leaking roof, especially if they are installed over a wood substrate.

Make sure you have several containers available to trap leaking water. As containers fill up, be sure to switch them out regularly to reduce the risk of overflowing water.

Relieve Water Pressure

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If a roof leak has gone unchecked, you may notice a dark discoloration or even a bulge in your ceiling. If the ceiling is bulging, it is most likely that water is pooling on the other side of the area, above the ceiling. If too much water accumulates and pools above the ceiling, it could collapse. You can call your local roofing company for a consultation and an emergency repair, which can include relieving the water pressure above the affected area. Your roofing repair technician will locate the center of the bulge where the water is building up and allow the accumulated water to drain, saving you from even more damage because it will relieve pressure on the rest of your ceiling.

Tarp the Roof

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Severe weather can cause roof leaks as well as reveal existing leaks that you may not have known you had. If you can’t get your leaky roof fixed immediately, the next best option is a tarp. No one will be able to climb on your roof to tarp it until the severe weather has passed and the roof is dry and safe to walk on. Sometimes the problem area can be hard to find, but it’s important when tarping that the leak is sufficiently covered. To prevent water from getting beneath the tarp, it can be tucked under the shingles above it.

Document Damage

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If your roof is leaking and is eligible for a home insurance claim, documenting damage is extremely important. Ideally, you should document damages before you clean up, throw anything away, or make any temporary repairs. Documenting damage is as simple as taking some photos and/or video with your cell phone and only takes a moment to do. The images will show the severity of your damages and other items that may have been compromised due to the roof leak.

If you have proof that other items such as flooring, furniture, electronics, bedding, clothing, window coverings, or other things were damaged, your insurance could possibly replace the items you lost. Without proof, your insurance company cannot do anything for you. Be sure to note the date and time of the weather event as well. Solid documentation of the damage will help your insurance company quickly and accurately process your insurance claim.

Call a Local Roofing Company

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When you have a leaking roof, it’s best to call the pros. The longer you wait to fix a roof leak, the worse the problem could get. Fixing a roof leak immediately is the best thing you can do. It can be difficult to find the source of a roof leak. An experienced, local roofing company will know how to locate your leak, assess your roof for any other potential problem areas, and get your roof fixed. At Orbit Roofing, we will put our experience and knowledge to work for you to get your roof problems solved quickly and efficiently!

Continue Regular Roof Maintenance

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The best way to control roof leaks is to maintain your roof. A roof takes a lot of wear and tear from the elements so it’s best to do what you can to make sure it continues functioning the way it should. Trimming trees whose branches have grown too close to the roofline, cleaning gutters and downspouts to be sure they aren’t clogged with leaves and debris and getting regular roof inspections are all important to maintain the health of your roof and keep it in good working condition.

Conclusion

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Roof leaks can happen for a number of reasons and even minor leaks can become major problems if left unattended for too long. Roof leaks can also be a sign of larger roof issues, so it’s important to have your roof inspected thoroughly when you have a leak. If you are experiencing a roof leak, give Orbit Roofing a call at (512) 957-0155.

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