6 Things to Do After a Roof Leak
Drip, drip, drip.
That’s a sound no homeowner wants to hear, especially when they realize it’s coming from a leak in their roof.
A leaky roof that leads to a ceiling leak that then leads to water in places it shouldn’t be needs to be handled quickly. That leak is damaging your insulation, drywall, carpet, and anything else it comes into contact with for an extended period of time.
RetroFoam of Michigan doesn’t fix roofs or leaks, but we have helped homeowners after the fact with their insulation needs. With that being said, we’re also contractors, so we understand what needs to be done once your roof springs a leak.
In our continued efforts to educate homeowners, we put together a quick list of things you should do after a ceiling leak occurs.
What to Do After a Ceiling Leak
Once you notice your roof, and thus your ceiling, is leaking, time is of the essence.
Here are a few of the things you should do right away.
- Get stuff out of the way and if it can’t be moved, cover it. Whether you catch the leak in action or come home to a soaked couch, you need to get all those wet items moved right away. The best thing to do is move everything that got wet into a well-ventilated area so it can start drying. If you have furniture that is too heavy to move, cover it with a plastic sheet until the leak is fixed. You’ll have to remove the coverings after that so the material can breathe and dry.
- Find something to catch all of the water in. Grab your trash for heavier leaks or a bucket for smaller ones to start collecting the water. If it’s a larger area, you can also throw down some old newspaper and towels to help absorb some of the water. A tip to save your sanity – if it is a small drip, you can pin a string to the ceiling near the leak, so the water runs down the string instead of dripping, according to Servicemaster.
- Relieve any heavy pressure. If you notice a spot starting to swell on your ceiling, there is likely water pooling above. The weight from the standing water can lead to the collapse of your ceiling, which can be dangerous. Servicemaster recommends poking a small hole in the ceiling to release that built up water into a large container.
- Call your insurance company and take pictures. Navigating through what is and isn’t covered when it comes to homeowners’ insurance can be a little confusing. A roof leak may not be covered, but it’s a good idea to call your insurance agent just in case. It’s also a good idea to get any photos you can of the damage caused by the leak.
- Get the water out of your house. Once the leak is under control, everything that got even a little wet or just completely soaked needs to be dried out. This means your floors, furniture, woodwork, or anything that got wet. If you can’t dry out these items yourself, you should call in a professional company.
- Call a professional to get your roof fixed. Things have calmed down and the water isn’t actively pouring into your home anymore, so now you have to fix the problem before it happens again. Calling a licensed and insured roofing contractor can help ensure you won’t have to deal with this again in the near future. A good contractor will also offer some manner of warranty in case a problem does arise later on.
How to Prevent Mold After Ceiling Leak
We already discussed drying out your home to help prevent some mold and mildew growth, but there’s more to it.
If you have fiberglass or cellulose in your attic or ceiling where the leak occurred, then that insulation has retained that moisture. This can become a breeding ground for mold and lead to an unhealthy home.
Another thing to keep in mind is that traditional insulation can lose its insulating properties once it becomes saturated. So, the traditional insulation that became wet during the roof leak will need to be replaced.
One option available to you if you decided to move away from fiberglass or cellulose would be spray foam insulation.
Once you have your roof repaired and the leak fixed, open cell spray foam could be sprayed in the attic or ceiling of your home. This material creates an air seal, but also if another leak were to pop up somewhere else, the spray foam doesn’t promote the growth of mold or mildew and doesn’t retain moisture.
If you’d like to learn more about foam insulation, check out the Learning Center on our website.
About Amanda Ringler
Amanda previously has worked as a breaking news and crime reporter, TV news producer, and editor in Flint and Detroit. Throughout her career as a journalist, she has won several awards from the The Society of Professional Journalists - Detroit Chapter and the Michigan Press Association. As part of the RetroFoam of Michigan family, Amanda uses her experience as a journalist to write content that will help educate homeowners on the benefits of foam insulation. When Amanda isn’t writing, she’s spending time with her husband and rescued huskies. She also loves knitting, making art, cooking, and hosting dinner and a movie night for friends and family.