Water damage from a roof leak doesn’t just create ugly spots on the ceiling and walls. Moisture leads to mold, and mold spreads. Worse, mold can be deadly, so it’s important to prevent it from growing from the start.
At the First Sign of a Leak
Unlike a drippy faucet, a dripping ceiling cannot wait. The water coming through your ceiling or running down the wall has already made its way through layers of roofing materials, insulation, and more. Thorough drying of all those materials is essential to prevent the growth of mold. Try to find the source of the leak. Patch the hole, soak up as much of the water as you can and run fans in the affected areas. This should be sufficient if you’ve caught the leak right away.
Finding and Patching a Roof Leak
Because most roofs aren’t flat, detecting a leak can be difficult. The cramped, dark conditions in an attic can also pose a challenge. Your local roofing company might have just the tools needed to find and plug a leak quick.
For instance, we use drones for roofing inspections. These devices can be helpful in detecting a mysterious leak when investigations from inside the home haven’t found the source. Once you discover the problem, you can repair or replace the roof to prevent further water damage inside your home.
Depending on the cause of the leak and your policy guidelines, insurance might cover this work. Was the damage due to a storm or other incident or normal wear-and-tear? Is the cost to fix the leak $5,000 or more? File a claim if this was an expensive accident. Otherwise, talk with your roofing professional about special financing or payment plans available.
Identifying the Source of Mystery Leaks
Your roof is responsible for keeping water out of your home, but rain is not the only source of moisture. Have you failed to find a hole in your roof? Consider alternative problems. Condensation builds up around pipes and ductwork. Plumbing leaks. How can you tell whether water is coming from one of these sources instead of your roof? Ruling out a leaking water pipe is simple. Your water meter keeps track of the gallons you’re using in real time. Turn off all the water features in your home, and if your usage continues to climb, you know you need to shut off the supply to the house and call a plumber. Detecting a condensation problem is trickier.
Chances are your attic is a den of hot, humid air. This also occurs in the spaces between the exterior and interior walls of your home. Normally, indoor humidity doesn’t get high enough to damage the building materials in the structure. The problem occurs when ductwork and plumbing transport cold air and cold water through these hot areas. Warm air is capable of holding more moisture than cold air, so when the air around cold ductwork and cold water pipes drops, the moisture it’s holding needs somewhere to go. It pools on metal surfaces, and when enough droplets form, it drips off onto wood, insulation, wiring, and other materials in hidden areas of your home. Condensation problems usually come to light when damage spreads from these areas through drywall or ceiling panels into living areas. Periodic energy audits and insulation updates help prevent condensation problems and resulting damage.
Fixing Water Damage from a Roof Leak
You can often handle water damage from a roof leak with just a wet-dry vac and a few fans if you discover it right away. Remove as much moisture from the area as possible, thoroughly dry the affected materials and monitor them over time for signs of problems. Mold usually shows up as colorful spots spreading across a surface, but that is not the only type of water damage. Wet ceilings, for instance, experience a change in color even once they are dry. Wait at least a week, and then paint over dried surfaces with a mold-resistant paint.
Flooring is especially susceptible to water damage from a roof leak. When wet carpet padding sits for more than a few hours, replacement is your safest option. If installing new carpet isn’t possible, at least remove the damaged carpet and get it out of the house. Mold growing in carpet padding causes serious illness. It’s not worth the risk. Damage to wood can also lead to replacement, as over time the wood buckles and curls. Thankfully, you can often avoid water damage from a roof leak by staying on top of home maintenance.