7 Way to Protect Yourself Against Storm Chaser’s Roofing Scams (Don’t Get Scammed!)
By Faith Wakefield /
Here’s what we’ll cover in this guide:
How do you repair a leaky roof? The answer depends on what is causing your roof to leak in the first place.
In this guide, we’ll help you identify the source of your roof leak and explain what tools and resources you’ll need to fix it as quickly as possible.
You don’t need us to tell you that dripping water is a clear indicator that your roof is leaking. But sometimes the leak is harder to spot.
Musty smells, warped shingles, spots on the exterior of your home and water stains on your ceilings or walls are all warning signs of a roof leak.
If it isn’t obvious where your roof is leaking from, you’ll have to do some investigating. The best place to start is in your attic. Take a flashlight and look for mold or water stains along the roof sheathing or rafters.
Before you can fix your roof leak, you have to figure out what’s causing the issue. Here are the six most common types of roof leaks and why they happen:
Some roof leaks are difficult to find. If you still can’t find the leak after checking your attic, have someone stay inside your house while you spray the roof with a garden hose. Go section by section, making sure that you soak the roof thoroughly.
Ask the person inside to tell you if they start to see a drip. This will help you identify the source of your leak.
How you should fix a roof leak can vary depending on the source of your leak. If small cracks or holes are causing your problem, it may be a simple fix. However, larger problems may require a professional assessment.
Vent boots are rubber sleeves that are installed around the vents and pipes on your roof. Vent boots are meant to prevent water from seeping into your home through the roof vent or pipe.
If there’s an issue with the vent boot — like a split — or if a vent boot is improperly installed, it can lead to a roof leak.
To fix the issue, you will have to either replace the vent boot entirely or seal the splits.
If the splits on your vent boot are large or the vent boot is in poor condition (cracked, rotted or torn), you should hire a professional roofer to replace the boot.
Replacing a vent boot requires removing and replacing the old shingles around the vent. Properly installing a new vent boot takes skill, so it’s best to go with a professional to make sure the job is done correctly.
If the vent boot is in otherwise good condition and the splits between the vent and the boot are less than a half inch in length and one-quarter inch in width, you can use a roof sealant to reseal the leak yourself. Just make sure to completely seal the boot by applying multiple layers of sealant around the vent pipe.
Roof vents are important because they regulate the temperature of your roof and attic and prevent overheating. Roof vents also prevent condensation, which can cause water damage in your attic.
A leaking roof vent may be caused by heavy rains blowing under the hood of the vent, or damaged, old or nonexistent vent boots. When you’re examining the problem area, look for cracks, split seals or damage to the vent.
If you need new flashing or a vent boot installation, you’ll likely need a professional’s help. However, you may be able to patch small holes or cracks with a roof sealant or caulk.
Roof flashing is thin metal sheeting that is installed around roof features — like vents, pipes, chimneys and skylights — to seal out and redirect water away from your home. Metal flashing is a crucial component of your roof that may need to be repaired or redone during your roof’s lifetime.
Unless you have prior roofing experience, installing roof flashing should be done by a professional. However, if the flashing issue is just a result of a small hole or an old seal, you can repair roof flashing yourself using caulk and roofing cement.
To reseal flashing, chip or pry out the existing mortar or sealant and use masonry caulk to seal the space between the flashing and the chimney or other roof features. Once the sealant has sufficiently cured (according to the directions on the packaging), use a masonry trowel to apply flashing cement.
Some roofing leaks are simple repairs that you can do yourself. Identifying and fixing leaks early will help you avoid more expensive repairs down the road.
Here are some of the most common roof leak repairs:
Keeping your gutters clean is more of a leak prevention method than a repair, but it is still important.
Clogged gutters can prevent proper water flow, putting strain on your gutters and eventually leading to water overflow and leaks. Water can pool in your gutters and soak the edge of your roof, causing water damage and attic leaks over time.
You can avoid these issues by keeping your gutters clean. Experts suggest that you clean your gutters twice a year, but this can vary depending on how much debris falls on your roof.
If your gutters get clogged frequently, or you want to reduce how frequently you clean your gutters, we suggest installing gutter guards.
Fixing leaks around chimneys, vents and pipes on your roof may be as simple as replacing the caulk along the edge of the flashing that surrounds these roof features.
If you choose to do it yourself, you can buy caulk at any home improvement store. Make sure to choose a silicone caulk that is waterproof and made to withstand the elements.
If you have a shingle roof, you’ll likely have to deal with missing or damaged shingles at some point. Luckily, if there are just one or two damaged or missing shingles, a shingle replacement is relatively easy.
All you have to do is remove the nail (if there is one), use a pry bar to remove the old shingle, scrape away the old roofing cement, lay down new cement and nail the new shingle over the damaged area.
Rusty or exposed roofing nails can lead to leaks. To avoid this issue, you can replace and caulk over old nails or screws. You can also use roof putty to fill holes or seams.
If you have an exposed fastener metal roof, you can replace old screws or nails with gasket “rescue screws” that are made to be fastened into old holes and seal out water.
Simple, DIY roof leak fixes like caulking and replacing shingles and nails are great short-term solutions to roofing issues.
That being said, hiring a professional roofing company to fix leaks, especially complex leaks, is a safer option that can provide more long-term solutions. Many roofing companies also back their work with a warranty, giving you peace of mind that the project will be done right.
Whether you go the DIY route or hire a professional, you must address your roof leak roof as quickly as possible. The longer you wait, the larger your problem will be, driving up roof repair costs and increasing the likelihood that you’ll have to bring in a professional.
Fixing complex or extensive roof leaks should be left to a roofing contractor. Significant water damage, mold or multiple water entry points through your roof are indicators that it’s time to call a professional.
If your roof leak has become serious, it could cause damage to your roof decking, underlayment or fascia boards. In this case, you may need a roof replacement. A roofer can do an assessment and give a professional opinion about whether you need a new roof or just a repair. Often, a roofing assessment is free.
Your roofing contractor is more likely to suggest a roof replacement if your roof is reaching the end of its expected lifespan anyway. Keep in mind that the lifespan of your roof will depend on which roofing material you have.
For instance, if you have an asphalt shingle roof that is over 20 years old, you may start seeing more frequent roof damage and leaks from old age, suggesting that you need a roof replacement.
If you would like to be connected with a roofing company and receive a free quote for your roofing project, select one of our top roofing providers below:
Homeowners insurance may cover the cost of repairing roof leaks if you can document that the issue was caused by an accidental or sudden event.
The exact situations when your insurance will cover roof repairs will vary depending on your insurance plan. However, most homeowners insurance covers damage caused by extreme weather, fires, lightning strikes or explosions.
Roof leaks caused by neglect, roof age, floods or pests are typically not covered under homeowners insurance.
You can seal a leaking roof with a waterproof sealant designed for the exterior of your home. Take a look at the best sealants for DIY roof and home repairs to learn more about what sealants best fit your needs.
Some of the most common causes of roof leaks are: Old roofing, poor maintenance, poorly installed or worn out design features, cracked or poorly installed flashing and ice dams.