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Andy Johnson Owner of White Leaf Roofing - roofing contractor in Chandler, AZ

Andy Johnson
Owner & Founder of White Leaf Roofing

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What to Do If Your Roof Is Leaking and How to Temporarily Fix It

Ever felt the dread of discovering a roof leak in the middle of a storm? It’s a scenario nobody wants, but it’s essential to know what to do if your roof is leaking. This guide provides step-by-step instructions on how to handle a roof leak, from immediate actions to contacting a professional.

Key Takeaways

  • Take immediate action to protect your belongings and contain the leak.

  • Identify the source of the leak by inspecting the attic, shingles, & flashing.

  • Engage professional roofing company for repair & preventive maintenance such as gutter cleaning.

Immediate Actions to Take When Your Roof Is Leaking

A bucket placed under a leaking roof to catch water, preventing further damage

A leaking roof can cause significant damage to your home if not managed promptly. It’s important to act quickly to minimize damage and prevent further issues. Begin by safeguarding your belongings, especially those located near roof vents, a frequent origin of leaks. Then, control the leaky roof to stop the water from spreading and inflicting further damage.

If you notice a bulge in the ceiling, this could indicate trapped water. To avoid a potential ceiling collapse, it’s crucial to release the built-up water pressure. While these actions are beneficial in mitigating a roof leak, bear in mind that they provide temporary relief and the necessity for professional roof repairs to achieve a lasting solution.

Protect Your Belongings

When faced with a roof leak, your first goal should be to protect your belongings, especially if you have flat roofs. Move items out of the way, particularly those in the attic or near the ceiling which are more vulnerable to water damage. Cover furniture and personal belongings with tarps or plastic sheets to shield them from the dripping water.

To mitigate the risk of mold growth, consider the following steps:

  1. Reduce the indoor air humidity to 35% or lower.

  2. Enhance ventilation in your home.

  3. Inspect the exterior surface of the roof for any signs of damage or leaks.

Implementing these steps can restrict more damage to your property and lessen the effects of the roof leak.

Contain the Leak

While it’s important to protect your belongings, it’s equally important to manage the active leak. Use the following items to capture the leaking water:

  • Buckets

  • Towels

  • Garbage cans

  • Any other containers you have on hand

This will help reduce the damage to your floors and other surfaces.

Ensure to place the containers directly beneath the leak to capture maximum water. Keep an eye on the containers and empty them regularly to prevent overflow. These measures are temporary but can be extremely helpful in managing the situation until professional help arrives.

Release Built-Up Water Pressure

A bulging or dipping ceiling is a sign of trapped water. This buildup of water pressure can lead to a ceiling collapse if not addressed promptly. To prevent this, puncture a small hole in the lowest part of the bulge and position a bucket beneath it to collect the water.

Although creating another leak may appear counterproductive, this action can alleviate the water pressure and avert more severe damage. Remember, this is a temporary fix, and it’s crucial to seek professional help to properly repair the roof.

Identifying the Source of the Leak

Inspecting the attic for water marks and signs of leakage to identify the source of the roof leak

Once you’ve managed the immediate effects of the leak, the next step is to identify the source. Locating the origin of the leak can help in understanding the extent of the damage and planning for the necessary repairs. The origin could be due to impaired shingles, defective flashing, or possibly blocked gutters.

Start by inspecting the attic for signs of water damage and mold. Also, pay attention to spots on exterior walls, as these may indicate problems with the step flashing where the roof meets the wall. Bear in mind, that pinpointing the origin of the leak is key to effectively rectifying the problem.

Inspect the Attic

Your attic can provide significant clues about the source of the leak. Look for:

  • Watermarks

  • Mold

  • Damp insulation

  • Discoloration on walls or ceilings

  • Bulging walls

  • A musty smell

These are all signs of a potential leak.

For a thorough inspection, you might need the following tools:

  • Moisture meter

  • Infrared camera

  • Tape measure

  • Gas leak detection solution

If you notice any mold, you can test for a reaction using a swab soaked in diluted bleach.

Remember, your attic is the first defense against a leaking roof, so a thorough inspection is key.

Examine Shingles and Flashing

Inspecting the state of your shingles and flashing is crucial in identifying the source of the leak. These areas are common entry points for water, especially if they’re damaged or improperly installed. Look for cracked, broken, or missing shingles, and check for visible damage in the flashing such as cracks, dents, or corrosion.

Incorrectly installed flashing can lead to roof leaks, so make sure it’s secure and properly attached. If you spot any issues, it’s best to consult a professional roofer for further inspection and repairs.

Temporary Roof Leak Solutions

Applying a tarp over the affected area to prevent further water intrusion in temporary roof leak solutions

Before you can secure professional assistance, there are multiple interim measures you can employ to control the leak. You can apply a tarp to cover the damaged area, seal any visible gaps and cracks, and replace any damaged shingles.

While these actions can help control the situation, bear in mind they are provisional and cannot substitute professional repair. After implementing these measures, it’s crucial to contact a professional roofing company to inspect and repair the roof properly.

Apply a Tarp

One efficient interim measure is to place a tarp over the impacted area. This can help prevent further water intrusion until professional help arrives. Start by assessing the damage and clearing any debris from the roof. Then prepare the tarp and install it using 2×4 anchor boards.

To temporarily fix a leaking roof, follow these steps:

  1. Secure the tarp in place using nails or adhesive tape.

  2. This method is effective in covering the leaky area and preventing further damage.

  3. Remember, while a tarp can provide temporary relief, it cannot permanently fix a leaking roof.

Seal Gaps and Cracks

Closing gaps and crevices around chimneys, vents, and windows can offer an interim solution for minor leaks. Use caulk to fill these gaps and prevent water from entering the home. Start by checking for visible damage such as cracks or dents.

Ensure the area is clean and dry before applying the caulk. Once applied, press the caulk into the gap to create a tight seal. While sealing gaps can help manage minor leaks, it’s important to remember that this is a temporary solution and professional repair is still necessary.

Replace Damaged Shingles

Damaged or missing shingles can be a source of roof leaks. If you notice any missing shingles, replace them promptly to prevent water absorption. Start by removing the nails and scraping off old cement from the area.

Next, apply fresh cement and place the new shingle in the designated spot. Make sure it aligns properly with the other shingles before securing it with roofing nails. Although this step can help manage the leak, it’s still advisable to consult with a professional roofer to ensure that the repair is done correctly.

Contacting a Professional Roofing Company


Andy-Johnson-Roofer-in-Chandler-ArizonaWhile these interim measures can aid in controlling a leaking roof, it’s imperative to engage the services of a professional roofing company. They have the experience and skills to properly identify the source of the leak and provide a permanent repair solution.

A professional roofer can provide a thorough inspection of your roof, identify any potential problems, and offer a detailed estimate for the necessary repairs. By engaging a licensed roofer, you can ensure the longevity of your roof and prevent future leaks.

Local Roofing Contractors

Local roofing contractors like White Leaf Roofing, a local roofing contractor, can offer you:

  • Outstanding craftsmanship with various roofing materials

  • Commitment to customer service

  • Quality work

  • Dedication to customer satisfaction

They come highly recommended by customers.

White Leaf Roofing, founded by Andy Johnson, stands out for its transparent pricing and absence of aggressive sales tactics. They offer 3rd party financing options to make their services more accessible. To get a complimentary estimate, you can reach out to them via their website or by calling.

Insurance Documentation

In case of a leaking roof, it’s important to take the following steps:

  1. Record the roof damage by taking photos of the damaged roof area and noting the extent of the damage.

  2. Get in touch with your insurance company.

  3. This documentation can be crucial when filing an insurance claim.

Contact your insurance agent and provide them with the necessary information, including:

  • the type of damage

  • cause

  • date and time of the incident

  • your policy number

Keeping a log of all communications and receipts can be helpful when dealing with insurance claims.

Roof Maintenance and Prevention

Scheduling biannual inspections with a professional roofing company to detect potential problems before they become serious

Appropriate roof maintenance and preventive measures can assist in avoiding future leaks and expensive repairs. Routine inspections can assist in identifying potential issues early and extending the lifespan of your roof.

Keep your gutters clean and free of debris to prevent water from pooling and causing leaks. Additionally, replace damaged shingles and seal any visible gaps and cracks. By taking these preventive measures, you can maintain the integrity of your roof and avoid potential leaks.

Biannual Inspections

It’s advisable to have your roof inspected by a professional roofing company at least biannually, preferably during the fall and spring. These inspections can help identify potential problems before they become serious.

A professional roofing contractor can conduct a thorough inspection of your roof, checking for signs of damage or wear. If any issues are detected, they can provide you with a detailed estimate of the necessary roof repair, ensuring your roof is repaired in a timely manner.

Regular inspections not only help maintain your roof but also give you peace of mind knowing that your roof is in good condition.

Gutter Cleaning

Maintaining clean gutters devoid of debris is another significant aspect of roof maintenance. Clogged gutters can cause water to pool on your roof and lead to leaks. It’s recommended to clean your gutters at least twice a year to ensure proper drainage.

For cleaning, you may need a ladder, bucket, and gutter scoop. Always remember to follow safety measures while cleaning, such as wearing non-slip shoes and using a stable ladder. By keeping your gutters clean, you can prevent water accumulation and prolong the lifespan of your roof.


In conclusion, dealing with a roof leak can be a daunting experience, but with the right knowledge and approach, you can effectively manage the situation. From taking immediate actions to minimize damage, identifying the source of the leak, implementing temporary solutions, to contacting a professional roofing company for a permanent fix – every step plays a crucial role in protecting your home from further damage. Regular roof maintenance and prevention strategies can also help avoid future leaks and costly repairs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if water leaks through the ceiling?

Shut off the water supply, catch or soak up excess water, and contact a water damage restoration company immediately when water is leaking from the ceiling; it is an emergency many people don’t prepare for.

How do I fix water coming through my roof?

To fix a water leak coming through the roof, you should add flashing behind the gutter to prevent water from getting behind it. Additionally, check for damaged shingles, re-apply caulk, and replace or fix vent boots to resolve the issue.

How do I temporarily stop my roof from leaking?

Quickly cover the leak with tar paper and roofing cement, caulk or cement for smaller leaks, or plastic sheeting or tarps for a temporary solution until it can be professionally repaired.

How can I identify the source of the leak?

To identify the source of the leak, inspect your attic for water damage and mold, and examine your shingles and flashing for any signs of damage or improper installation.

When should I contact a professional roofing company?

It’s important to contact a professional roofing company after taking any temporary measures, so they can provide a thorough inspection and permanent repair for the leak.