What Should You Do If Your Roof Is Leaking in the Rain?

June 14, 2024

roof leaks in heavy rain

We may not get a lot of rain in Reno -but when we do, we get a lot of it at once. The last thing you want during a rainstorm is a leaking roof.

When your roof leaks in heavy rain, it not only threatens your home's structure but also causes significant damage to your belongings. The damage it can do to your walls and interior means you will be spending thousands on repairs, especially if you don't act in time.

But how do you stop a leaking roof during heavy rain?

In this guide, we will help you understand what causes leaks and what to do when you have one.

Understanding the Common Causes of Roof Leaks

Roof leaks can come from:

  • Missing or damaged shingles
  • Cracked flashing
  • Clogged gutters
  • Poorly sealed roof valleys

Heavy rains, strong winds, and snow can damage your roofing shingles over time, especially if routine maintenance is neglected.

But before the water trickles down the roof, you might notice a few warning signs, such as water stains on ceilings, damp walls, peeling paint, and musty odors. Identifying and addressing these roof leak symptoms early on can help you prevent more extensive damage down the line.

How to Stop a Roof Leak in the Rain?

Even if you fail to notice the warning signs and your roof starts leaking in heavy rain, there are still steps you can take to mitigate the damage and address the leak.

Here's what you can do:

1. Stay Calm and Focused

Finding a leak in your roof during a rainstorm can be overwhelming, but you need to stay calm and focus on how to prevent ceiling leakage. Panicking will only make the situation more stressful and might lead to more rain damage or put your safety at risk.

If you are feeling stressed, ask your friends and family for help. They could lend a hand in helping you find the source of the leak, move your belongings to a dry area, and stay safe.

2. Act Immediately

When you notice the leak, think about your safety first. Avoid standing on wet floors and keep away from potential hazards like electrical outlets and light fixtures. If you are sure the leak is coming from near an electric outlet or wiring, cut off the power to that room before trying to locate the exact source. 

If possible, check your attic, as it's often the first place the water will enter. When you locate the leak, use buckets, bowls, or any containers available to catch the dripping water. Place towels or rags around the area to absorb water and prevent it from spreading.

3. Contain the Damage

While placing buckets and towels can contain water, it won't fix the leak. If the leak is manageable, use a temporary patch such as roofing tape or sealant to slow it down. This can buy you some time until you can call a reliable roofing company in Reno, NV.

If the leak is severe, try to redirect the water flow to a single area. You can do this by creating a drainage channel with plastic sheeting or tarps. But if the water is flowing like a tap, you should immediately leave your house because the damage might make it unsafe.

4. Protect Your Belongings

Once you have contained the leak, you can start moving your furniture, electronics, clothing, and other valuables away. Store all your important documents and small valuables in waterproof containers and keep them in a safe, dry room.

Use plastic sheets or tarps to cover larger items that cannot be moved. We recommend using thick polyethylene plastic (PE) because it is strong and effective.

5. Set Up Temporary Shelter

You might need to set up a temporary shelter for your family, but first, cover the affected area with a tarp or plastic sheet and secure it tightly to prevent it from blowing away. Check your home for a dry area, move all your essentials, and stay there until your leak is fixed. 

If the damage is extensive and your home is unsafe, consider staying with friends, family, or in a hotel until repairs are complete.]

6. Check the Extent of Damage

Once the rain stops and it's safe to move around the house, you can check the affected area for damage.

First, look for structural damage, such as weakened beams or sagging ceilings, but do only a basic survey using your ladder. Don't try to climb into your attic or on the roof, as structural damage can make your house unsafe. Call professional roofing repair services immediately to inspect and fix it.

Rainwater tends to follow the path of least resistance, which means it can find ways to enter your house through gaps and joints. This can lead to mold and mildew growth, which pose significant health risks. However, you can quickly identify mold and mildew; just be sure to check your walls, floors, attic, chimneys, aluminum flashing, and gutter thoroughly.

7. Deal with Electrical Hazards

If you are sure the water is getting near electrical outlets or appliances, turn off the power at the circuit breaker to avoid the risk of electrocution.

Avoid touching wet electrical outlets or appliances when checking for damage or fixing the leak. Use a flashlight and avoid turning on the power supply. And if you suspect any electrical hazards, call a certified electrician to assess and repair any damage.

8. Record the Damage

Documenting the damage is necessary to file your insurance claim. Take photos and videos of the damage and create a detailed list of all the damaged items and areas. You can include short descriptions and estimated values of your damaged belongings to speed up the claim process.

9. Talk to Your Insurer

While some policies cover water damage from roof leaks, others may not. Check your policy to understand what is covered before calling your insurer. When you report the leak, provide the necessary details. Most likely, your insurance company will send an adjuster to check and verify the damage. Be present during their inspection to ensure nothing gets overlooked.

10. Look for Long-Term Solutions

Quick fixes are not a substitute for permanent repairs, which is why you should hire a Reno roof repair expert and focus on long-term solutions.

Experts can check your roof for leaks, missing or damaged shingles, missing granules, mold, or any other underlying issues and prevent water damage during a rainstorm. They will also clean your gutters and downspouts to prevent blockages that can lead to water damage.

DIY vs Professional Repairs: Which Is Better?

DIY can seem like a tempting solution when fixing roof leaks in heavy rain– it's cheaper and offers the satisfaction of fixing things yourself. However, before grabbing your tools, think about how severe the leak is and if you can fix it alone. While minor leaks may be manageable for a DIY enthusiast, severe ones often need the expertise of a professional.

Also, think about the long-term cost savings. While DIY roof leak repairs seem cheaper at first, they can add to your expenses down the road, if not done properly. However, hiring a roofing expert is more cost-effective in the long run as they provide reliable repairs.

If you're unsure about how to fix a leaking roof, it makes sense to hire a professional. They have the right tools and experience to thoroughly inspect your roof, identify all underlying issues, and provide a detailed repair plan along with an estimate.

The Bottom Line

When dealing with roof leaks in heavy rain, you need to act quickly to ensure safety and minimize water damage. But what's equally important is to look for long-term solutions and hire a professional when you don't know how to prevent a ceiling leakage. It's up to you to keep your roof in excellent condition and ready to face whatever Mother Nature throws at it.

Does your roof have leaks? Whether you need to address emergency roof leaks or preventive maintenance, Mountain Vista Roof Systems is here to help. Call us today to schedule your roof inspection.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Quickly Should I Address a Roof Leak?

You should address a roof leak immediately to prevent further damage and potential safety hazards. Most roofers offer emergency repairs to fix leaks and other underlying issues.

Can I Fix a Roof Leak Myself?

You can perform temporary fixes, but it's better to hire a roofing expert for long-term solutions. Experts have the necessary tools and experience to fix your roof and prevent water damage in the future.

What Are the Long-Term Consequences of Ignoring a Leak?

Ignoring a leak can lead to structural damage and mold growth. While structural damage is often expensive and sometimes irreversible, unchecked mold growth can lead to significant health risks.