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What Do You Do if Your Roof Springs a Leak?

Your family is coming for a weekend visit. You’ve been rushing around shopping, cleaning and getting ready for days – then, a storm hits. And it rains. And it pours. And…it starts raining in your living room!

There’s never a convenient time for your roof to spring a leak, but there are things you can do to help mitigate the damage, minimize the cost and, most importantly, prevent future leaks.



Once you discover an active leak in your roof, the first thing to do is minimize the water damage as much as possible. To do this, you should move or put plastic covering over anything that can be damaged by water. This includes: furniture, electronics and other valuables.



Immediately put a bucket or other waterproof container beneath the leak(s) to catch the water. If water splashes onto the floor, put an old T-shirt in the bottom of the bucket to absorb the splash, or try pinning a long string to the ceiling near the leak, so the water will have a path into the bucket. If the paint is bubbling, it’s likely holding water, so puncture the bubble to release the water into your bucket. If you cannot contain or control the water from coming in, it’s time to call a licensed roofing contractor; many offer 24-hour emergency services.



Once you have the leak under control, you need to thoroughly dry all carpet, furniture, woodwork and anything else that was exposed to water. Not only will water leave a stain, but mostly, you must prevent mold from growing in your home. If your carpet is soaked, pull it away from the padding and expose both sides of the rug and the pad to briskly circulating air. If the damage is extensive, call a professional water extraction company.



If you know (or even suspect) that your home has sustained heavy damage, call your insurance agent. Although your policy may not cover damage from a leaky roof, contact your insurance agent as soon as possible and let them determine what is and isn’t covered.



Once you’ve done all you can to get the situation under control and minimize the damage in your home, it’s time to get your roof fixed. To be sure it’s fixed right the first time and never returns, you should call a licensed roofing contractor.

Here are a few tips to help you choose the right contractor:

  • Get several quotes from different companies
  • Make certain your contractor is licensed, insured and will pull all required permits
  • Be sure your contractor agrees to locate and repair all wood damage before re-roofing your home
  • Ask your contractor to outline specific maintenance instructions for your new roof
  • Ask about the guarantee and the expected life of the roof
  • Be sure your contractor agrees the roof must pass municipal inspection before the work is considered complete

Do not allow the work to begin until you’re comfortable each of these important requirements has been met. Also beware of fly-by-night companies that may try to take advantage of you – especially soon after a natural disaster.



After you’ve had your roof repaired or replaced, there are a few easy steps you need to take to prevent it from leaking again:

  • TRIM THOSE TREES – Falling tree branches can puncture your roof, while low-hanging limbs can scrape your roof’s surface over time, compromising its performance.
  • KEEP GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS CLEAN Falling leaves, acorns and other small debris can clog your gutters and downspouts, giving water a place to accumulate. Use a garden hose to remove clogs and keep your gutters clear. If you have a stubborn clog, remove the downspout and clear it with a mop handle or other long object.
  • CHECK YOUR COLLARS AND FLASHING – Some roof leaks are caused by cracked or missing chimney and vent flashing, or compromised pipe collars. If the flashing or collar is badly damaged, it may need to be replaced. If the seal has simply failed, it may be possible to repair it with roofing tar in some cases.


By choosing the right roofing contractor and taking time to properly maintain your roof, you can help ensure it performs well and lasts for many years to come.

Learn more about how to make informed decisions for your roofing needs.

Tadlock Roofing
Tadlock Roofing

Tadlock Roofing has provided quality service to the North and Central Florida area since 1980. All of our work is personally guaranteed. We provide solutions to fit any roofing budget, and are your source for residential or commercial roofing needs – from new construction to repairs, re-roofs, maintenance and insulation. We also specialize in low slope and steep slope roofing systems. All of our work includes the very best manufacturer-certified warranties with up to 50-year non-prorated system coverage.

28 Responses

  1. It is never a fun experience when you discover that leak in your roof during the thunderstorm. You end up breaking out the pots to catch the water and hope for the best! If your roof is looking bleak, it is best to get in contact with a roofing contractor before the major damage is done. Yearly roof maintenance can also be really beneficial.

  2. First things first, I’ll call my insurance company and determine my coverage. I also don’t think our roof leak is a DIY sort of project so we’ll call up a professional. We’ll use these guidelines to make sure we get a good and reputable contractor to take care of it. Thanks for the really helpful post!

  3. I agree that you really shouldn’t wait to get a leaky roof fixed. You’d hate for further problems to arise. It’s better to get it taken care of quickly so that nothing drastic happens. Thanks for sharing this.

  4. I think it is a really good idea to call your insurance agent to see if they would cover a roofing contractor. You really don’t know unless you ask and you might be pleasantly surprised. I think these tips are really helpful.. Thank you for sharing.

  5. The best way to ensure that you are protected from leaks is to do the proper preventative maintenance. If you plan ahead, you will save yourself plenty of money and headaches in the future. It is wise to get your roof inspected on a somewhat consistent basis to get a knowledgeable set of eyes up their looking out for you.

  6. I would definitely emphasize the importance to make sure you speak with a licensed contractor to take care of your roof repairs. That way you make sure it is done right the first time just like you mentioned. Some people will try to do it themselves, but often times it needs to be done again by a professional.

    1. We agree, getting your roof repaired by a licensed professional can prevent further damage, and save money in the future.

  7. Containing the water and removing it are definitely the right first steps to take. The water, if left alone, can cause damage to other parts of your home and you really don’t want to have to worry about mold growing! Looking into repairs as soon as possible can help you get the leak fixed and back to your normal life. Thanks for sharing these great tips about what to do if your roof starts to leak!

  8. Thanks for these idea about dealing with a leaky roof. I like your ideas to prevent a future leak after the roof is repaired. I didn’t realize that having tree close to the roof could cause problems, but that does make sense. It seems like preventing a leak is way better than having to fix it. Thanks for the info!

  9. You make a good point about how a licensed roofing contractor can make sure your roof is fixed the right way so the leak won’t come back. My husband and I recently noticed a leak in our roof. We thought about trying to fix it ourselves but the last thing we want to do is potentially cause more damage. We will definitely have to do some research for roofers in our area.

  10. My grandmother’s house has a leak in the roof. I’m glad that I read this article because I really didn’t know how to best help her fix it. I’ll have someone come out and fix it, and then I’ll implement your tips for cleaning out her gutters to prevent pools on her roof. Thanks for sharing this with me.

  11. These are some really good things to know about when you are thinking about hiring a roofer. I liked your tip on making sure that they are going to repair any damaged wood under your roof before they start re-roofing. That way, you know for sure that your whole roof is going to be repaired.

  12. You’re right, “There’s never a convenient time for your roof to spring a leak.” Luckily, knock on wood, we’ve never had an issue with a leaky room. However, knowing what to do make sure the damage isn’t too bad or who to call for help is important to understand. The last thing we want to happen is have our home ruined because of a leaky roof! Thanks to you, we are much more prepared if it ever happens. Thanks for the help!

    1. We hope your roof doesn’t spring a leak but we’re glad we could better prepare you in case it does. If you have any questions or need any help in the future, make sure to contact us at

  13. Last week, my roof leaked and so my husband attempted to do a temporary fix on it to stop it. However, I know that he didn’t do a permanent fix and so I definitely am planning on having a contractor come and fix it up more professional and do the waterproofing as well. However, I had no idea that gutters could contribute to leaking roofs and so I might want to get some type of guard. What is the best type of gutter guard that helps to prevent leakage problems?

  14. I didn’t know that you needed a license to be a residential roofing contractor. All this time I thought you just became one by shadowing someone else that was already a professional. In my mind it was more important that they had years of experience. When I hire someone I will make sure they have a license now.

  15. Getting your roof fixed isn’t easy, and neither is choosing a contractor to fix it. The biggest thing I would look for would be if they’re licensed and have all permits taken care of. In the end everyone has a certain preference and should choose their best choice.

  16. As my wife and were getting ready to go to sleep last night, a few different leaks sprang in our roof. I went up there trying to figure out what is wrong with it, but its far beyond my expertise and I don’t dare to try and take it any further. This article helped me see that it wise to call in a professional service that knows what they are doing, and that is exactly what I plan on doing.

  17. I agree that once the water is under control that you should remove all of the water possible. However, I can’t often take up the carpet to get it dry. Once I have taken the carpet up I have never been able to put it back down successfully. I normally blot up as much water as possible and then have a fan blow onto the area (shop-vacs are great for sucking up water). Then I fix the roof as soon as I can.

  18. I like your advice to contain the water damage before calling someone to fix the roof. While you obviously want your roof to be fixed so no more water will get in, it’s going to be easier and faster to protect your furniture and other belongings first. Like you said, covering items with plastic, catching the water in a bucket, and drying everything out as quickly as possible will help keep water damage in check until your roof is fixed. Thanks for the article!

    1. You’re welcome! A leak in your roof is bad enough. Containing and preventing further water damage is the first thing to do in this unfortunate situation.

  19. When I was in college, the apartment next door had their ceiling collapse because of a water problem. They noticed water draining from the light, and left to tell the manager. when they got back, the roof ceiling had collapsed in. It was because there was a leak and it saturated the insulation and it just got too heavy. Too bad they didn’t catch it when it was small.

  20. I was up in my attic the other day, and I noticed a little bit of water. After reading this, I need to call my insurance agent! I had no idea that we had a leak in the roof, so I’ll be sure to have a professional come and check it out from us. In the mean time, I’ll make sure to clean the water up.

  21. I am glad that you stated that you should stop the water damage. If you have leaks you want to make sure that it doesn’t ruin anything else. After that, you can call the roofing company to come and fix the problem.

  22. That’s a really good idea that you should maintenance tips from your roofer. I know that my roof has had some leaks recently and they seem to keep reappearing in other parts of my home. I’ll have to talk to my contractor and see what they think is the best way to stop me from getting leaks in the future. Thanks for the awesome advice!

  23. That’s a good point to make sure to get several different quotes from different companies. That way you could get the best price for your roof. I would want to make sure I don’t have to pay more than I have to, so I’ll keep that in mind.

  24. I would like to echo the importance of keeping the roof well maintained because leaks cause too many problems.if they are not detected early,As mentioned under ,what is in your attic, many of the problems if they are not detected, u don’t want to have to replace molded wood or rotted’s much easier to regularly check te roof and replace

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