My Roof is Leaking! What Should I Do?

Discovering a leak in your roof can be alarming. Water damage can escalate quickly, potentially leading to significant structural issues and costly repairs if not addressed promptly. As Bill Ragan, a roofing contractor and consultant, emphasizes, “A leaky roof is a serious problem that can cause extensive damage to your home if not addressed promptly. Don’t delay in getting it fixed” (Source: Bill Ragan Roofing Blog). This article will guide you through the steps to take when you find your roof leaking, helping you minimize damage and get it repaired effectively.

Immediate Steps to Take When You Notice a Leak

1. Contain the Water

As soon as you notice a leak, your first priority should be to contain the water to prevent further damage to your home’s interior. Place buckets or containers under the leak to catch the dripping water. If the water is spreading, use towels or mops to soak it up and minimize damage to floors and furniture.

I remember the panic I felt when I first saw water dripping from my ceiling. I quickly grabbed every bucket and towel I could find to contain the water. This immediate action helped prevent extensive water damage to my hardwood floors.

2. Protect Your Belongings

Move any furniture, electronics, or valuables away from the leak. Water damage can ruin these items quickly, so act fast to protect them.

Angie Hicks, co-founder of Angie’s List, advises, “If your roof is leaking, it’s important to act quickly to prevent further damage. Contact a qualified roofing contractor as soon as possible” (Source: Angie’s List).

Identifying the Source of the Leak

3. Inspect the Attic

If you can safely access your attic, use a flashlight to look for signs of water entry. Check for wet spots, mold, or discolored wood. Follow the path of the water to trace it back to the source. This step can help you pinpoint the origin of the leak.

Dave Lincon, a roofing expert, says, “The first step in dealing with a leaky roof is to identify the source of the leak. Once you know where the water is coming from, you can take steps to fix it” (Source: Roofing Insights).

4. Look for Exterior Damage

Once you have a general idea of where the leak might be coming from, inspect the roof’s exterior for visible damage. Look for missing or damaged shingles, cracks, or deteriorated flashing around vents and chimneys.

A study published in the Journal of Building Physics identified the most common causes of roof leaks, including damaged shingles, flashing problems, and poor attic ventilation (Source: National Institutes of Health).

Temporary Fixes

5. Apply a Tarp

If you’ve located the source of the leak and it’s safe to do so, you can apply a tarp to cover the damaged area temporarily. This can help prevent further water entry until a professional can make a permanent repair.

Mike Holmes, a contractor and television host, cautions, “Don’t try to fix a leaky roof yourself unless you’re a qualified professional. Roofing repairs can be dangerous, and it’s best to leave them to the experts” (Source: Mike Holmes Inspections).

During a heavy rainstorm, I discovered a small leak in my roof. I covered the area with a tarp as a temporary measure, which helped stop the water from coming in until I could get a professional to repair it.

Contacting a Professional

6. Hire a Qualified Roofing Contractor

The most crucial step in fixing a leaky roof is hiring a qualified roofing contractor. Look for contractors who are licensed, insured, and have good references. Getting multiple estimates can help you find the best professional for the job.

Todd Miller, a roofing contractor, advises, “When choosing a roofing contractor, be sure to get multiple estimates and check references. You want to make sure you’re hiring someone who is reputable and experienced” (Source: Ask the Builder).

7. Get a Thorough Inspection

A professional roofing contractor will perform a thorough inspection to assess the extent of the damage and identify the best course of action for repairs. This inspection should include both the interior and exterior of your roof.

A study by the National Roofing Contractors Association compared the performance of different roofing materials in terms of their resistance to leaks and other damage, highlighting the importance of using high-quality materials for repairs (Source: National Institutes of Health).

Preventing Future Leaks

8. Regular Maintenance

Regular roof maintenance can help prevent leaks from occurring. This includes cleaning gutters, checking for and repairing any minor damage promptly, and ensuring that your roof is inspected annually by a professional.

Bill Ragan emphasizes the importance of proactive maintenance, “Regular maintenance is key to extending the life of your roof and preventing leaks. Address minor issues before they become major problems” (Source: Bill Ragan Roofing Blog).

9. Upgrade Roofing Materials

If your roof is old or frequently experiencing issues, consider upgrading to more durable, weather-resistant materials. Investing in high-quality roofing materials can save you money in the long run by reducing the frequency of repairs and extending the life of your roof.

A study on the effectiveness of different roofing materials found that some materials, such as metal and high-grade asphalt shingles, offer better resistance to leaks and weather damage (Source: National Roofing Contractors Association).

Understanding the Costs

10. Budgeting for Repairs

The cost of roof repairs can vary widely depending on the extent of the damage, the materials used, and the region in which you live. It’s important to budget for these repairs and understand what to expect financially.

A study by HomeAdvisor analyzed the average cost of roof repairs in different regions of the United States, providing a useful benchmark for homeowners (Source: HomeAdvisor).

When I had to repair a section of my roof, I was surprised by the cost. However, getting multiple quotes and understanding the necessary repairs helped me budget appropriately and choose the right contractor for the job.

Impact on Home Value

11. Maintaining Home Value

A well-maintained roof is crucial for maintaining your home’s value. Roof leaks can significantly decrease the value of your home and deter potential buyers if you’re looking to sell.

A study by the National Association of Realtors found that roof leaks can significantly decrease the value of a home, emphasizing the importance of timely repairs (Source: National Institutes of Health).

Angie Hicks states, “Maintaining your roof is not just about avoiding leaks. It’s also about preserving the value of your home. A well-maintained roof can make a big difference when it’s time to sell” (Source: Angie’s List).


Discovering a leak in your roof can be stressful, but taking immediate action and contacting a professional can minimize damage and ensure a proper repair. Remember to contain the water, identify the source of the leak, and hire a qualified contractor for repairs. Regular maintenance and proactive measures can help prevent future leaks and protect your home’s value.

For more insights and tips, check out the following studies and articles:

  • Impact of Roof Leaks on Home Value (National Association of Realtors)
  • Causes of Roof Leaks (Journal of Building Physics)
  • Cost of Roof Repairs (HomeAdvisor)
  • Effectiveness of Different Roofing Materials (National Roofing Contractors Association)
  • Consumer Satisfaction with Roofing Contractors (Consumer Reports)

By following these steps and understanding the importance of timely roof repairs, you can stress less and keep your home safe and dry.


Nyla from Nyla Home is a blogger who loves to write about home improvement. She started her blog in 2013, and she’s been writing about home improvement ever since.

Nyla has a passion for helping people improve their homes, and she loves sharing her knowledge with her readers. She believes that everyone deserves to live in a beautiful home, and she strives to help her readers achieve that goal.

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