It’s that time of year again, and while we may be warm and comfortable inside, the condition of the roof outside may not be sufficient to hold back Mother Nature.
If this is a problem you have, or expect, here are a few tips that may save you some grief and maybe even a little money as well.
Rainy weather is when roof leaks get discovered. That’s when it’s too late for anything but a repair. No time to contemplate, no time to plan, just get to the phone and get a roofer there as soon as possible.
First and foremost, it is important to properly deal with the leaks inside the house to minimize interior damage.
A water leak from the roof will slowly pond at the ceiling until it finds an escape route, usually a penetration point like at a light fixture or heat register.
After several hours of puddling in the attic, a simple single roof leak can manifest itself inside the home as multiple leaks, making even the simplest roof leak appear to be much worse than it really is.
With multiple leaks it is almost impossible to keep things dry at the “wettest spot” in the ceiling, where the water seems to be collecting the most.
Punch a hole right in the middle and be prepared to collect a flood of water. Giving it an escape route will minimize leak management to one or two locations but initially will quickly release gallons of trapped water. So, be prepared.
Once the leak inside is under control you can choose to manage collection with buckets or redirect it to the outside with a bottle funnel. Here’s what you’ll need to do the job: an old plastic one-gallon bottle; duct tape; a garden hose; a ladder.
Cut off the bottom of the bottle and turn it upside down to create a one-gallon funnel. Use the duct tape to attach one end of the garden hose to the small opening at the bottle neck and direct the other end of the hose outside (either through a window or door). Finally, tape the bottle funnel to the ladder so that it is immediately beneath the leak. Water into the bottle is fed through the hose and back outside.
Once you have managed the leak inside, you can attack the outside. Keep in mind that it is nearly impossible for most of us to permanently stop a roof leak in the rain.
Step one is to crawl into the attic and use a flashlight to find the leak.
Remember, the leak in the ceiling and the leak in the roof may not align. If your roof covering is over a layer of plywood, then you should keep in mind that water will generally travel from the leak in the roofing material to the nearest joint in the plywood, depending, of course, on how the roof slopes.
Once you have determined the general vicinity of the leak from within the attic, here’s what to look for: one or more missing shingles (sloped roofs); ponding water (flat roofs); a large tree limb or heavy object fallen onto the roof; a plumbing or heating vent pipe; leaves or debris causing a dam.
Stay drier this wet season by having a bit of wet patch and an extra shingle on hand. Just in case!
And, that’s all there is to it.