10 Things to Do If Your Roof Is Leaking

A leaking roof can cause significant damage to your home if not addressed promptly. Whether it’s a minor drip or a major ceiling leak, taking immediate action is crucial to prevent further issues. Here are ten steps to follow if you discover a roof leak

1. Identify the Source of the Leak

The first step in addressing a leaking roof is to identify the source. Water can travel along beams and pipes, making it challenging to pinpoint where the leak originates. Look for signs of water damage in the attic or ceiling, such as discoloration, mold, or damp spots. Sometimes, the source might be directly above the leak, but water can also travel horizontally before it drips down.

2. Contain the Leak

Once you’ve identified the source, the next step is to contain the leak. Place a bucket or container under the dripping water to catch it and prevent it from damaging your floors. If the ceiling is leaking water and bulging, carefully puncture the lowest point with a screwdriver to allow the water to drain into the bucket. This can prevent a larger pool of water from collecting and causing the ceiling to collapse.

3. Move Valuables Out of the Way

To prevent further damage, move any furniture, electronics, and personal items away from the affected area. Water can cause significant damage to these items, so it’s important to protect them as much as possible. Cover larger items that can’t be moved with plastic sheets to keep them dry.

4. Dry Out the Area

Use towels, mops, or a wet/dry vacuum to remove any standing water. Set up fans and dehumidifiers to help dry out the area. This step is crucial to prevent mold growth, which can start within 24 to 48 hours in damp conditions. Ensuring the area is thoroughly dried will minimize the risk of further damage and health issues.

5. Inspect the Roof

If it’s safe to do so, inspect the roof for visible damage. Look for missing, cracked, or curled shingles, damaged flashing, or clogged gutters. These are common causes of a leaking roof. If you’re uncomfortable or unable to safely inspect the roof, contact a professional roofing contractor to perform the inspection.

6. Temporary Fixes

While waiting for a professional repair, you can apply temporary fixes to stop the leak. Roofing tape or tar can be used to seal small cracks or holes. For larger areas, a tarp can be secured over the damaged section to prevent water from entering. These measures are only temporary and should not replace a proper repair.

7. Document the Damage

For insurance purposes, document the damage thoroughly. Take clear photos and videos of the affected areas, including the interior and exterior damage. Keep records of any temporary repairs you make and any expenses incurred. This documentation will be essential when filing an insurance claim.

8. Contact Your Insurance Company

Notify your insurance company about the leak as soon as possible. Provide them with the documentation of the damage and any temporary repairs you’ve made. An adjuster may be sent to assess the damage and determine coverage. Understanding your policy and knowing what is covered will help you navigate the claims process more effectively.

9. Hire a Professional Roofer

To properly fix a leaking roof, it’s best to hire a professional roofer. They have the expertise and equipment to accurately assess the damage and perform the necessary repairs. Choose a reputable roofing contractor with good reviews and proper licensing. This ensures the repair is done correctly and safely.

10. Prevent Future Leaks

After addressing the immediate issue, take steps to prevent future leaks. Regular roof inspections and maintenance are key. Keep your gutters clean to ensure proper drainage and trim any overhanging branches that could damage the roof. Additionally, consider installing roof vents to improve ventilation and reduce moisture buildup.


A leaking roof can be a homeowner’s nightmare, but taking prompt and effective action can minimize damage and prevent future issues. By identifying the source, containing the leak, protecting your belongings, drying out the area, inspecting the roof, applying temporary fixes, documenting the damage, contacting your insurance company, hiring a professional roofer, and taking preventive measures, you can effectively manage a roof leak situation.

At USA Storm Roofing & Construction Group, we are committed to providing expert roofing services to homeowners in Fairfax, VA. If you’re dealing with a roof leak or need professional assistance, contact us today for a comprehensive inspection and reliable repair services.

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