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What to do when your roof starts leaking

Jane

It’s raining heavily. You’re inside, the fire’s lit, the heating’s on, you’re happy. Until, you hear dripping water above your head. You run upstairs and there’s a telltale damp patch on the ceiling. Water’s leaking from somewhere. Is it from pipes in the roof? You turn the water off. Half an hour later, the damp patch is getting bigger? It looks like you’ve got a leaking roof. So what do you do?

How to stop the water leakage from roof

Firstly, providing you can do so safely, get up into the roof space to check the state of the leaking roof. You need to stop the water that is coming into your home from doing any further damage. Find a suitable container to put under the areas where the roof is leaking. Remember, if the rain or snow is heavy, you will need to empty the container frequently. If the leak is in the roof space, the container will need to be there. Constantly emptying it from the roof space is not practical long term, so trying to stop the leak is a priority.

Try to patch up the roof from leaks

If the site of the leaking roof is obvious, after finding a container to catch the water, try to stem the leak by effecting a temporary roof leak repair. In the short term, anything that covers the site of the leak can be used - for example, a plastic bag taped over the hole from the inside with waterproof tape. But you’ll need to find something more substantial as soon as you can.

A more substantial temporary roof patch, which can be made out roofing tar, or bespoke roof patches that are available from building and hardware stores can be used. These should only be used to secure the leaking site and stop the water getting in. To ensure there isn’t ongoing or permanent damage to your home, you will need to arrange for the hole in the roof to be repaired professionally.

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Professional roof repair

It is likely that to make your roof watertight, permanently, you will need to secure the services of a professional roofer. Before you do this, you need to check if your roof damage is covered by your home insurance. Not all roof repairs are covered by standard house insurance, so you need to double check. If not, going forward you may want to consider bespoke roof insurance or roof protection.

Whether or not you have insurance coverage, you will need to call a professional roofer. You can search on the internet for roof leak repair near me. This search will bring up local roofers and national companies that employ local contractors. Many offer instant quotes and provide emergency services.

Ensure that the websites are safe before you visit. Check out the customer reviews on the site, and if available the nationally recognised review sites.

If your roof repair is covered by your home insurance, or you have bespoke roof insurance or roof protection, they may have a recommended list of tradesmen. Alternatively, they may send one of their contractors out to you when you register your claim.

Permanent roof leak repair

If broken roof tiles are the cause of your leaking roof, these will need replacing. If a hole in the roof is the source, the hole needs to be dried out, closed and made weatherproof to fix roof leak.

If your flat roof leaks in heavy rain then the leak is maybe due to residual water or snow on the roof. The pitch of a flat roof is usually ten degrees or less, this means that heavy rain and snow may remain on this type of roof for longer because it doesn’t have a steep slope to expel it naturally. A flat roof leak repair may be more extensive than a conventional roof repair because a flat roof is normally covered by a continuous sheet of roofing felt or other roofing covering. The whole roof may need to be replaced to achieve a flat roof leak repair. Flat roofs are often on single-story buildings and so, repairing them may be easier than, the more steeply pitched, hip, gable or gambrel roofs.

Where the roof leak repair is because of broken roof tiles, it should be possible to remove the broken tiles and insert the new ones. However, this is likely to need scaffolding. This is guaranteed to increase the cost of the roof leak repair.

Preventing future roof leaks

The best way to prevent future roof leaks is to ensure that the roof is made watertight by a professional roofer. If the roof leak is due to broken roof tiles they must be replaced and sealed. It is worth ensuring that the roofer checks the remainder of the roof tiles for damage, Repairs will be cheaper if carried out when the roofer is already there than for a separate call out to be made later.

The best way to prevent future flat roof leaks in heavy rain is to ensure that the damaged flat roof is replaced in entirety. As if one area is damaged, there will likely be a need for flat roof leak repair later, if the whole roof is not replaced. Removing excess rain and snow from flat roofs is another important maintenance tip.

What to do if your chimney leaks in the rain

If your chimney leaks in rain here are the possible causes:

  • Cracks or gaps in the mortar between the bricks on the chimney
  • Cracks or gaps in the chimney veneer (this is the covering on the chimney used to make it look more attractive, or add further weatherproofing if the existing bricks and mortar are wearing. Veneers are made from brick, stone or man-made substitutes)
  • Worn out flashing or sealant can cause water to leak where the chimney meets the roof or walls.
  • If your chimney leaks in the rain, follow the same procedure for roof leaks

What to do when roof is leaking recap:

  1. Contain the water getting in
  2. Stop the water getting in by covering the hole
  3. Check if your home insurance policy covers roof damage
  4. Check your roof insurance or roof protection policy if you have one
  5. Call the insurance company and/or a roofing professional to repair your leaking roof
  6. Ensure your roofer checks the whole roof for damage

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