How to Stop a Roof Leak in the Rain

July 15, 2023

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Discovering a roof leak during a rainstorm can be stressful and seem like an emergency situation. Water dripping from your ceiling and puddling on the floor is never a welcome sight. While a leaking roof requires prompt attention, a calm and methodical approach to finding and sealing the leak will give you the best results. With some basic tips, you can troubleshoot and tackle a roof leak even when the rain keeps falling. 

So, how to stop a roof leak in the rain is the question on your mind? The main objective is to find the origination of the leak and quickly repair it with temporary material like duct tape. Once the rain stops, you can make permanent repairs. 

How about we jump a bit deeper into the subject? Please continue reading.

how to stop a roof leak in the rain

Locate the Source of the Leak

The first step is to locate where the water is coming into your home. This will help pinpoint where the leak is originating from on your roof. Go into the attic or crawlspace and try to follow the water stains on the underside of the roof decking. Look for wet insulation or moisture on rafters and trusses to trace the leak to its access point. If you can't get above the ceiling, examine water stains on walls and ceilings below the roof. Stains that are concentrated in one area indicate where the water is dripping through. If possible, poke a small hole in the ceiling tile or drywall to confirm the source.

Once you've identified the general area, go up onto the roof for a closer inspection if conditions allow. Locate the portion of roof decking above the ceilings showing water stains. Look for cracked or missing shingles, damaged flashings around chimneys and vents, or holes where fastener screws are missing. Flag the suspect areas so you can find them again when the roof dries out.

Make Temporary Repairs

With the leak source identified, the next step is to make temporary repairs to stop further water intrusion. Time is of the essence, so improvise with the materials at hand. For damaged or lifted shingles, drive extra roofing nails above and below the affected shingles to tighten them back down. Apply roofing cement or tar under loose shingles to seal them. Cover cracked or torn shingles with a piece of overlapping shingle material nailed securely in place.

For damaged flashing around vents or joints, cover the area with aluminum foil or roofing cement as an emergency patch. Can you seal a roof leak in the rain? Yes! Use a tube of roofing sealant or caulk to fill holes or cracks at seams and junctions. Attach a piece of plywood or plastic sheeting over larger holes, sealing the edges with roofing cement. Weigh down tarps with bricks or boards to create a water diversion away from severely leaking areas.

Make sure all items are secured tightly against wind. Although crude, these quick fixes should temporarily plug leaks and buy you time for permanent repairs when the weather clears. Place buckets and containers under interior leaks to catch dripping water until patches are in place.

roof drilling for installation

Inspect and Repair Once the Roof Is Dry

Once conditions dry out, do a more thorough inspection of the roof to find and fix the exact sources of the leaks. Remove any temporary patches and look closely at the exposed roof surface for problem areas. Check for missing, cracked, or curled shingles and replace any that are damaged. Reseal around loose nails, vents, and roofing seams with roofing cement. Apply fresh roofing tar under loose shingles and re-secure with nails. Fill holes from missing screws or staples and replace any broken flashings around chimneys, vents, and valleys.

Examine the underside of the roof as well for moisture stains or dark spots indicating small leaks. Once you've identified all problem areas, make permanent repairs. Wear protective gear like goggles, gloves, and rubber-soled shoes when working on your roof. Carefully remove and replace damaged shingles and secure them with nails. Apply flexible flashing sealant around vents, joints, and projections. Consult a roofing professional if leaks originate from plumbing vents, chimneys, or skylights, which require more involved repairs.

Be Proactive to Prevent Future Leaks

Make roof maintenance a priority to prevent leaks before they happen. Clean out gutters and downspouts so water can flow freely away from the house. Clear branches and debris from the roof surface, which can damage shingles. Inspect the attic and visible roof underside at least annually for early signs of leaks before major damage occurs. Address curled, broken, or missing shingles immediately to maintain the roof’s protective integrity. Reseal joints if any become dried or cracked.

Following temporary and permanent leak repair procedures when your roof begins to fail during rainstorms can help prevent catastrophic water damage. Stay alert for any drips, dampness, or moisture stains inside your attic or living space after heavy weather. Catching and patching leaks quickly is the key to keeping your roof watertight. With vigilant maintenance and prompt response when leaks occur, you can keep your roof in shape to withstand the wind and rain.

How to Stop a Roof Leak in the Rain the Safe Way: Call a Professional Roofer

Dealing with a leaking roof while it's actively raining can be frustrating and risky. Though it may be tempting to try quick fixes yourself, calling in a professional roofer is the safest and most effective approach. A licensed and experienced roofer has the skills, equipment, and expertise to accurately diagnose and repair roof leaks in wet conditions.

Unlike DIY solutions, a professional roofer can safely access your roof in the rain to find the source of the leak. They have waterproof safety gear and climbing equipment to inspect your roof's condition securely. A roofer can then make repairs using industrial-grade adhesives, patches, and sealants that form watertight seals, even on wet surfaces. 

Because they understand roof construction and how water flows, roofers can detect and fix problems you may miss. Calling a roofer to repair leaks promptly can prevent further roof deterioration and interior water damage to your home. Ultimately, hiring a pro to address a serious roof leak is the right choice to keep your home dry.

gaf-certified roofer

Final Thoughts

It can be unnerving to deal with a leaky roof when it's raining cats and dogs. Even a light sprinkle can cause damage to occur. The best thing you can do is call a professional for help. If one isn't available, we recommend doing your best to protect your home's contents from the rain. You can place buckets and old towels beneath the leak, which is a much safer option than trying to climb the roof. The great news is most roofing companies offer 24-hour emergency service and will most likely be able to help you during the storm. Safety is always a top priority.

About The Cranston Roofers

The Cranston Roofers have over 20 years of industry experience as GAF-certified roofing experts. Are you looking for 24/7 roof repair? We've got it covered. Please contact our team for a FREE roofing inspection and estimate at (401) 208-2324.

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