In the Midwest, our roofs are covered with snow and ice for a number of months every year, so leaks are not an uncommon occurrence. Depending on the pitch of your roof, it can be very difficult to climb up there when it’s still covered in snow and ice. However, there are some steps you take until you can get local, professional roofers out for an inspection.
It’s important to remember that just because you see water spots on your ceiling or find moisture in your attic, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have a leak in your roof. Don’t panic! As long as you find the drip and can catch the water, your home will be fine until the snow and ice are gone and someone can safely get up on your roof. It may even be just an isolated incident and not require anything more than soaking up the moisture and changing out some insulation.
Get up to Your Attic and Remove as Much Moisture as Possible
Access your attic and be sure you are only stepping on 2x4s or other structural pieces and not any drywall or sheetrock. Look for any wet insulation on the floor of your attic (which is also the ceiling of a room in your home). Remove all of the wet insulation and use a sponge to soak up standing water underneath the insulation. After you’ve done this you can also put a box fan up there to help circulate air and dry out any leftover moisture. Attempting to internally patch a drip can do more harm than good; trapping the moisture and expanding the problem.
Find the Leak
The water you soaked up might not be directly under where the leak is located. Look on the plywood above where you soaked up the water and see if there is a path that leads you back to where the water is getting in. Water will often run along your roof’s rafters and may not be very close to where you found standing water, especially if your roof has a large pitch.
Contain the Leak
Once you have identified where the water is getting in, use a large bucket or Rubbermaid storage bin to catch any more water that may get in. You will want to check this container weekly to make sure it is not full. Once you have your container in place to catch any additional moisture, replace the wet insulation you removed with new insulation, which you can buy by at most hardware or home stores.
Planning for Inspection and Possible Repair
Once the snow and ice melt from your roof, you will need to get professional roofers to come out for an inspection. It will be to your advantage to spend time researching local, professional roofers, that will be honest about your options and not try and sell you a full roof replacement if you don’t need it. You will also want to find roofers who will offer you a free, in-person inspection and explain all your options.
It will be helpful if you can tell the professionals the exact spot where the moisture was getting in, so they don’t have to pull up any shingles and other materials unnecessarily. To do this, use your tape measure to measure along the roof at a 90 degree angle from the two closest edges. This will give you a “coordinate” of where the leak is located, so you can tell the professionals and they can measure to the same spot from the outside of the roof.
Although we often don’t give it much thought, your roof is one of the most important elements of your home when it comes to protecting your family, your belongings, and your home itself. Remember: don’t panic, and don’t to climb onto your snowy, icy roof. Once you have contained the leak, your home will be alright until the snow and ice melt from your roof and it’s safe to get someone up there to inspect. You can set up a free inspection with the professionals at Tri-County. We’re local, have been around for more than 20 years, and are certified professionals. We’ll be honest and transparent about what we find during our inspection and lay out the best options for you.