Flat Roof Repair

How Should I Protect my Roof While I am Waiting for Repairs?

You may have once come across a damaged shingle or a hole in your roof, and called for professional help immediately; just when you were waiting for the expert to arrive and fix your roof, rain starts to pour outside! Panic starts to grip you, and you start to wonder what to do now? After all, how can you stop the rainfall from getting into your house? Is there a way to stop a roof leak? Of course, there is. In fact, there are many ways to put a halt to your leaking roof temporarily. Read on to find out all about them..

Ways to Stop a Roof Leak Temporarily

  1. Tarp Covering

First and foremost, head to your attic – the most common source of the leak – and cover the hole using a tarp. Make sure that the tarp is long enough to cover the ridge of the roof. If you are experiencing high rainfall, you will need to place a tarp over the hole twice or even multiple times. To do this, secure the tarp over the tarp that has already been there and secured over the hole. If in case, there is no tarp, you can use strong and durable duct tape.

  1. Use Plastic Roofing Cement

If you don’t already have plastic roofing cement, then you will have to purchase it for emergency use, for instance for a roof leak. It is arguably the best temporary roof leak fix that you can go for during heavy rainfall or snowfall. Plastic roofing effectively helps seal tiny holes and cracks in roofing and prevent the water from entering your house. For a proper application, make sure that you have a roofing trowel, caulk gun, and putty knife.

  1. Use Roofing Tape

Easily available at any hardware store or home improvement shop, roofing tape is typically applied to the inner part of the roof decking to limit the water flow inside your house. To fix the leak temporarily, ensure that you are equipped with a ladder to properly stand on while applying roofing repair tape on the hole. This makes the temporary roof leak fix long-lasting than any other method – tarp tape or duct tape.


Temporary Fixes For A Leaking Roof

If you notice wet spots on your ceiling, find a shingle in your yard or hear the dreaded dripping of water in your home, you probably have a roof leak. Roof leaks typically lead to many other problems in your home, and it can be challenging to know what to do when your roof starts leaking. Luckily, there are multiple temporary solutions. Take matters into your own hands until professionals arrive and learn the most common types and causes of roof leaks, why you need to stop the leaks and how to temporarily repair a leaking roof.

Types of Roof Leaks

There isn’t one singular cause when it comes to a leaking roof, which can make pinpointing the leak all the more challenging. Before you can fix your roof leak, consider the following most common types of roof leaks and how they can affect your roof.

  1. Clogged Gutters

Debris can build up in your gutters if they haven’t been cleaned out. Clogged gutters keep water from draining normally, causing a leak. Try to keep your gutters clean and keep trees trimmed near your roof, or contact a professional to clean your gutters.

  1. Vent Boots

Vent boots work to keep water out of the area where the roof vent pipes join the roof. They are usually made from plastic, metal or rubber and could be a combination of the materials. If you suspect a leak, look for cracks on plastic vent boots and any broken seams on metal vent boots. Be sure to check out the rubber boot around the pipe as well, as it could be rotting or torn and letting water in. If you have a leaking vent boot, you’ll likely need to replace it. Just take off the old vent boot with a knife and install a new one.

  1. Flashing

Flashing is metal strips around the edges or joints of your roof that are prone to leaking. Flashing works to protect your roof from water and is probably around your chimney, too. If these metal strips rust or crack, they could let water in and cause leaks. Until a professional can fix it, you could use caulking and roof cement temporarily.

  1. Skylights

Skylights could result in leaks if they aren’t fitted or put in properly. Your skylight could also be leaking due to cracked flashing or damaged surrounding shingles. You might be able to use roofing cement and caulking as a temporary fix for a leaking skylight but will still need a professional to repair or replace it and install new surrounding flashing or shingles.

  1. Chimney

The mortar between the bricks on your chimney can weaken and crumble, letting water in. Chimneys also have four different types of flashing, and even if one has issues, it could result in a leak. A tiny crack above the flashing is enough for water to get through, so it’s essential to keep an eye out. If you think your chimney is leaking, look at the joints where the chimney joins the roof or the mud caps. You can typically fix a chimney leak temporarily with patches.

Some other popular roof leak locations and causes include:

  • Old or missing shingles
  • Holes in the roof
  • Nails that are in the wrong spot
  • Excess moisture
  • Shallow roof slope
  • Complex roofs


A Trick for Finding Difficult Leaks

If a leak is difficult to find, enlist a helper and go up on the roof with a garden hose. Start low, soaking the area just above where the leak appears in the house. Isolate areas when you run the hose. For example, soak the downhill side of a chimney first, then each side, then the top on both sides. Have your helper stay inside the house waiting for the drip to appear. Let the hose run for several minutes in one area before moving it up the roof a little farther. Tell your helper to yell when a drip becomes visible. You’ll be in the neighborhood of the leak. This process can take well over an hour, so be patient and don’t move the hose too soon. Buy your helper dinner. If running water doesn’t reveal the exact location of the leak, don’t be timid. Start removing shingles in the suspect area. With them removed, there’ll be evidence of the leak and you’ll be able to track it down right to the source. You’ll see discolored felt paper or water-stained or even rotted wood directly below and around a leaky roof.


Fixing Minor Shingle Damage

If you’re only facing a smaller and more isolated problem, it may be something you can repair yourself. For any shingles that are loosening or hanging, you can reattach them yourself if you can access them safely. You can stick them down with some roofer’s cement and nail them down firmly. Put more cement over the top of the nail and cover it completely. Also, check around the seams in your roof and apply some more cement to any areas that are split, cracked, or appear to be weathered.

Got any shingles that are starting to curl? You can heat them up slowly and re-adhering them to the roof, also using the roofer’s cement. Just the same as before, nail the shingles down where they began to detach and cement over again.

Missing shingles altogether? Just one or two? If you want to do a more-than-temporary roof repair, you can measure your shingles and pick some up at your local supplier. When you’re up on the roof, apply cement along the edge of the shingle, slip it up under the shingle above the spot you’re patching, and attach firmly. Once again, nail into place, and put more cement over the nails. It’s entirely possible that, if you do it right, your temporary roof repair will be near as effective as a professional fix.


Can I Get A Temporary Roof Repair In An Emergency Situation?

If your roof is already leaking and there’s a storm coming in a few hours, you can call a roofing contractor to perform emergency work.

Emergency work is work performed after hours (5pm) and on weekends.

This will be more expensive (1.5x more costly) than a non-emergency situation, but sometimes this is your only option to prevent more damage in the future.

In the example repair earlier in this post, the $640 repair would cost approximately $960.

In the case of an emergency, a roofing contractor will come out and make a repair that day. If the roofing contractor doesn’t have the same material as what your current roof is, say EPDM, they will use a similar material to get you watertight ASAP (like spray polyurethane foam).