If you’re a responsible homeowner, you may think that water damage could never happen to you. After all, you try to keep your home in good shape, insulate your pipes so they don’t freeze, and make sure your bathroom and kitchen fixtures stay functioning.
Unfortunately, a great deal of water damage occurs when you least expect it. Often, it’s due to a roofing leak from wear and tear or a violent storm.
Insurance researchers studied aggregated claims and found that water damage is responsible for a whopping 1 in 50 insurance claims every year. When you consider all the reasons someone might file an insurance claim, that’s a lot!
Combine that with the fact that many water damage claims aren’t covered because of slow leaks, flooding, too little proof, and more. You need to do everything you can to prevent water damage.
The good news is that it’s easy to break down what to do when your roof leaks into a few simple steps. Check out the first five things to do after spotting a leak in your roof.
1. Watch Out for Roofing Leak-Related Danger and Document the Scene
Before you touch a single thing, survey the scene with an eye for detail. If water dripped onto electronic appliances, outlets, or anything else, do not touch the water damage if you value your life!
That might sound dramatic, but electricity and water don’t mix. Or, a more accurate way to say that common warning is to say that they DO mix, far too well for your safety. Wet appliances can electrocute you and help start electrical fires in some cases.
While you capture all the details in your mind, preserve them with your camera. The biggest reason to do this is that your insurance company will want proof of the leak and the damage it caused. It’ll also help you keep track of what’s damaged for personal reference.
This might seem like a frustrating step—It’s natural to want to jump right in and try to save everything. If the drip or stream of water isn’t among a jumble of possible hazards, you can put a bucket or other container down to catch water before you assess the rest of the scene.
If there is an electrical hazard or you’re not sure whether it’s safe, see if you can shut the power off to that part of the house. When water and electricity come in contact, it’s also wise to get in touch with an electrician.
2. Try to Reduce Water Damage
If it’s safe, the next step is to do your best to dry things out. To reduce damage, start sopping up water as soon as possible. There are a few clever tricks for catching water you may not know about:
- Put fabric at the bottom of a bucket to avoid splashing
- Release water from paint bubbling on the ceiling with a needle
- Tie a string from the leak point to the bucket directs water straight down, not onto the floor
Dry things even if you don’t think water will harm them. It’s better to realize sooner than later if something’s broken for insurance purposes, and letting things dry out on their own can cause extra damage.
3. Track the Roofing Leak Down
After you take care of the immediate damage, search for the source of the leak if it’s not obvious and safe to do so. If you have an attic, that’s the first place to check.
If it’s not that easy to find the leak in your house, don’t worry. Roof repair professionals are happy to help, so hold tight.
This entire list should happen in quick succession: At this point, work on controlling any continuing water flow, and follow the next steps.
4. Contact the Insurance Company if You Want Payment for Repairs
You’re in an excellent position to make a call or open your insurance app if you did a good job of following the first step listed here. The more pictures you take, the more proof you have to show your insurer. If you don’t document the scene well, you may struggle to get compensation.
It’s tempting to call a repair company from the get-go, but be careful if you want payment for repairs. Make sure your insurance doesn’t have a preferred contractor that you have to use. Always call the insurance company first if reimbursement is your priority.
5. Get the Leak Fixed for Good
Once you contain the disaster, it’s time to get the leak fixed for good. If storm damage repair requests have your local roofing contractor overwhelmed, call around about getting a temporary fix. It’s not easy to learn how to fix a roof leak the right way, and a botched DIY attempt will ruin your insurance claim.
A patch can help you out for a few days while you wait. However, chances are slim that it’ll hold up if another storm or other problem comes along. It’s vital to get the roof fixed for good as soon as you can.
Depending on what kind of damage you have, you may want to replace part or all of your roof. Sometimes, fixing up your roof’s water barrier is enough to protect your home or business for a long while.
Yet, a full roof replacement is a much better fix. If you can afford it, consider upgrading to a more leak-proof kind of roof. No matter what kind of roofing you have, prevention will save money in the long run.
Maintaining your roof, taking care of weak spots before leaks occur, and removing hazards like overhanging tree branches all help make sure you don’t have to deal with these problems at all.
Satisfy All Your Warsaw, NY Roofing Needs
These five things to do after you notice a roofing leak will help you take care of it before you have a much worse problem on your hands. We’re here for all of your roofing needs in and around Warsaw, New York.
Get in touch when you need a new roof, a roof inspection, maintenance, or want a pro to take care of your roof leak repairs. We’re prepared to take the best care of your roofing needs, so contact us today to keep leaks from damaging your home or business.