A leaky roof is a big problem. You’re home enjoying a rainy day when you see water coming through the ceiling. You know you have to do something, but what steps will get the leak under control?
The first thing you have to do is stabilize the leak from the inside. You’ll need a putty knife, some roofing tar, and either a shingle or a small piece of plywood, all of which are easy to find at your local home improvement store.
Your next step is to access the attic and find the leak. Simply position yourself above the area where you noticed the leak in the living space and the leak will be either directly above that spot or somewhere further up the underside of the roof.
Some attics are too small to enter, and sometimes the leak can’t be found. In those cases, you’ll need to get on the roof with some heavy roofing plastic that you tack down with 2×4’s along its edges.
If you can track down the leak, you need to set up some lights. Use flashlights or other battery-powered illumination so that you can’t get shocked. It might also be good to lay down a board or plywood so that you don’t fall through the ceiling.
Now it’s time to get to work making your temporary patch. Spread the tar over the hole with the putty knife. Apply tar until the leak stops, then quickly place the shingle or plywood over the tar. Hold it still while you apply more tar around the edges.
This patch should be enough to get you by until the rain stops. While you wait, clean up the leak so that your insulation and ceiling can dry out.
Another important job is to mark the location of the leak so that you can find it from the outside. Use landmarks like roof vents or the chimney and measure the distance across the roof and then up or down the roof to the leak’s location.
With those measurements in hand, head to the roof on the next dry day. Some leaks are obviously the result of missing or damaged shingles. Fill in new ones, being careful not to break the remaining ones nearby.
Roof work must be done right, and it can be very dangerous. If you are uncertain of your abilities, don’t hesitate to contact a professional roofing company.
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