So it’s raining outside. And, um, inside, too. If this is normal, then you’ve missed the entire point of having a roof, and maybe home ownership isn’t for you. Otherwise, you’ve got a leak.
Other not-so-obvious signs of leaks are bulges or discoloration in your ceiling. It’s likely that water is pooling on the other side of that bulge or dark spot. You’ve got to take immediate action.
Contain the Leak and Prevent any Further Damage
Put a bucket, trashcan, or some other container under the site of the drip or suspected leak. Note: Consider propping up a board inside the container so the drips hit the board and not the accumulated water. This will prevent the repetitive and annoying dripping sound, which could lead to you punching a hole in one of your walls, which you’ll then need another contractor to fix. (If you want to punch a hole in something, hang on – we’re getting to that part.)
Now, get a screwdriver — and this is important — it has to be a Phillip’s head screwdriver.
No. It doesn’t.
Take any old screwdriver, locate the center of the bulge where water is accumulating and puncture it right in the middle. Though it might seem counterintuitive to punch a hole in your ceiling to stop a leak, the new hole will allow the water to drain smoothly and relieve pressure on the rest of your ceiling. If water accumulates and pools, the entire ceiling could collapse. The general rule with ceilings is the same as the general rule with clothing or gunshot wounds: Smaller holes are easier to fix than big ones.
Consider Fixing it Yourself — Briefly — And Then Call a Professional
The problem is identified and contained. Well done! This is normally where you call a roofing contractor. But you changed the oil in your El Camino last weekend after just watching a few videos on YouTube, so you can do it yourself, right?
Unless you really know what you’re doing, this isn’t a DIY project. Given the expense and catastrophic damage that could result from shoddy work, would you hire someone who had never done it before?
Next, Spy on Your Contractor
When your roofer comes to inspect and give you an estimate, keep your antenna up for common red flags. Anyone will first check out the original leak — and your nifty screwdriver hole. It’s what they do next that counts.
An experienced roofing professional will inspect your roof both from the exterior of the roof itself as well as the inside of your home, typically the attic. Inspecting the underside of the roof sheeting can show signs of water damage, however it is not a foolproof method so inspecting the roof for damage is needed as well.
It’s impossible to exaggerate how important it is to act quickly when it comes to a roof leak – the clock is ticking. Leaky roofs never fix themselves or get better on their own. By letting 24 hours turn into 48 hours, you’re increasing the likelihood that what could have been a manageable problem might result in catastrophic structural damage or mold contamination. While mold might not sound like a menace, its worst variations can kill you. At the very best, it’s gross and unsightly.
The leak isn’t bad — yet. Get it fixed now. Learn more about Maryland’s trusted roofer.