Sometimes time or finances can cause you to put off general maintenance around the house. If you noticed that you have a leaking roof and have not gotten around to fixing it, you know that the problem will only worsen with time. If a heavy rainstorm comes along and you notice roof leaks have suddenly gotten significantly worse, you may begin to panic.
The only true solution to a leaky roof is to call a professional to fix it or replace the roof altogether. But if it is leaking badly you have to do something or risk a lot of damage to your home. If there is a thunderstorm you cannot climb on the roof. You may be wondering how to fix a leaking roof from the inside of the house.
PATCHING THE ROOF
Putting a patch on the inside of your leaking roof is a temporary fix. It is a way to keep the water from coming in until you can get someone to do a proper repair on the outside. Never patch the inside and leave it as a permanent repair of roof leaks.
GO INTO THE ATTIC
To fix a leaking roof you will have to gain access to your attic with a ladder and search for where the water is originating from. Remember that the place you see water may not be the origin point. Water from a leaky roof can travel along surfaces before it starts to drip onto the ground.
Once you find the leak, open the drywall and remove as much insulation as you can to get to the leak. Be careful that you are not working around any of your home’s wiring. The drywall should be easy to get through if it has been leaking for a while. Use sponges or towels to soak up as much standing water from the roof leak as possible to prevent further damage.
MAKE A PATCH
If you have some extra roofing shingles and tar, they will be the best tools to use to patch the leaking roof. If not, you will need to make a quick trip to one of the hardware stores and pick up a piece of plywood and roofing tar. Use a utility knife to spread the tar evenly across the small holes. Put it on thick to prevent the roof leak from opening up again before you can fix it properly.
After applying the tar to the leak, stick the shingle over it. Put more tar around the edges to seal it as well and careful as possible. You have to cover every opening or the water will find another way to get in.
MAKE A MAP
Use a tape measure to determine how far the roof leak is from the edge of the ceiling. Once the rain has stopped and everything has dried out, you will want to use this measurement to find the leak from the outside. You do not have to be precise, but try to give yourself an idea of where to look.
PATCH THE ROOF WITHOUT PLYWOOD OR SHINGLES
You know how to fix a leaking roof from the inside, but there is a good chance you do not have any roofing shingles laying around. And if you cannot get any wood you can still put a patch on the ceiling. You will still need some roof patch or leak cement. It will cost you about $25 at your local hardware store.
Once you have found the leak, dry the standing water as best as you can. The roof patch substance works best in a dry site. Then apply a generous amount directly to the leak and spread it evenly with a putty knife. Once the roof patch dries you can either apply more of the roof patch or you can go around the edges with caulk to be sure you have closed up all the holes.
If it is late, the hardware store is closed, or you cannot afford to buy shingles or roof patch, you still have options. The water will do damage to your home if you do nothing, or the roofing tar may not work in wet conditions. If you cannot patch the roof from the inside, the next best thing is to divert the water or cover the leaking hole in the attic ceiling.
DIVERT THE WATER
Once you have found the leak, stick a large nail in it. The nail will give the water something to run onto and it will all drip away from the leaking area in one direction. That will keep it from continuing to spread into your insulation and drywall. Remove standing water and then place a large plastic bucket or container beneath it to collect the water.
If it is raining heavily, the bucket may fill up quickly. You may have to sit and babysit it until the rain stops or the leaks slow down. You may also need a second bucket to swap out so you can go empty it when it gets full.
COVER THE HOLE
If you cannot patch your roof from the inside but you have access to a tarp or plastic sheeting, you can use it to temporarily deal with a small leak. This will only work if the rain outside is not heavy and it is even more of a temporary solution than patching it. You can cover the area of your roof with the tarp and attach it to the ceiling joists in your attic with a staple gun, but realize that the roof is still leaking and that water is now collecting inside the tarp. If it goes on for too long you might have a bigger mess on your hands.
If it is raining and you have discovered a large leak in your roof, you will not be able to do a proper fix until it dries. However, in a pinch, you can use some of these methods to temporarily fix the problem. The only true repair for leaky roofs is calling a roofing professional or replacing the whole thing. Be sure to make that call as soon as possible to prevent an even bigger problem later on.