My Roof Is Leaking, What Should I Do? [6 Steps to Take Right Now]

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: October 2, 2019

By the time you realize that the roof is leaking, your home has already taken on enough water to cause serious damage.

It might be the result of one heavy rain and a few missing shingles, or it could be caused by ongoing leaks around flashing on a vent or chimney.

How do you stop it, fix it and address water damage cleanup before the ceiling collapses?

Start with Containment Strategies

First, you have to contain the area. It’s important to act quickly so that you can minimize property loss and hold down water damage restoration costs.

1. Get Things Out of the Way

Whether you wake up to a drenched kitchen or come home to a soaked sofa, move wet furnishings and belongings as soon as possible.

Relocating your things to a well-ventilated area helps jump-start the drying process.

2. Cover What You Can’t Move

If it’s not possible to move heavy furniture into another room, push it out of the way, and cover it with plastic sheeting.

Once you address the leak, be sure to remove all protective coverings. Cushions and fabrics need to breathe so that they can dry properly.

3. Start Catching the Water

Throw down towels and old newspapers under large areas that trickle with multiple drips.

Use deep plastic trash cans for heavier leaks. Preserve your sanity with a length of string. Pin it to the ceiling under the leak so that water quietly slides down into your catch basin instead of constantly splashing.

4. Relieve Heavy Pressure

A swollen spot in the ceiling indicates pooling water, and the weight can eventually cause a dangerous collapse.

It’s easier to repair a small hole than an entire ceiling, so poke an opening in the center of bulges to release built-up water.

Make sure you’re over a large container, and be very careful as you work.

5. Call a Professional Right Away

roof leak in ceiling
Professionals know how to find the source of a leakage. In this case it wasn’t the roof that was causing the leakage… bad plumbing was the culprit.

Some of our customers know their way around all types of big DIY jobs. If you’re comfortable with this kind of work, wait until the weather clears so that you can determine the location and nature of the leak.

Otherwise, we strongly recommend calling a professional for any kind of roof repair.

6. Take Pictures for Insurance Documentation

If you plan on filing an insurance claim, documenting the damage with photographs simplifies the process.

Many questions can come up, which is why we’ve put this FAQ together. Your insurance agent can recommend a restoration contractor who handles repairs and water damage recovery.

Follow Through with Professional Cleanup

ServiceMaster truck at home

Roof leaks aren’t like spills in the kitchen. They often result from long-term problems that continually keep materials damp.

Wet spaces above your ceiling form unhealthy environments for all kinds of damage including:

• Heavy mold growth in porous materials – click on the link for some tips on how to detect mold early
• Water pooling that breeds dangerous bacteria
• Rotted wood in beams and trusses
• Soaked insulation and eventual ceiling collapse
• Damage to your home’s electrical wiring system
• Stained ceilings and walls, blistered and peeling paint

You can mop a floor by yourself. It takes heavy equipment and special techniques to dry, dehumidify and sanitize ceiling tiles, sheetrock and insulation.

A professional water damage restoration company quickly gets your property on the road to complete recovery.

Watch Out for Next Time

When repairs and cleanup are taken care of, you can relax, but make annual roof care a part of your home maintenance routine.

The cost of a professional roof inspection never adds up to the expense of dealing with a house that’s soaked from ceiling to floor.

You still need to take care of ladder chores like cleaning gutters and checking vent and chimney flashing. While you’re up there, take a good look across the roof.

You can often spot common problems before they turn into expensive repairs or potential ceiling soakers.

At Your Service 24/7

ServiceMaster Chicago tech car

When your roof is leaking, your quick response makes a big difference in controlling the cost of final water damage cleanup work.

It’s our goal to give you smart, actionable strategies for dealing with all kinds of disasters at home and your business, so let us know how we’re doing.

Fixing a leaky roof is rarely a DIY job, and addressing the aftermath of a water emergency requires professional attention too.

You can count on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba for 24/7 water damage restoration services across all of Chicago and throughout the surrounding suburbs.