water running on roof

How to Stop a Roof Leak Temporarily

It’s a homeowner’s nightmare – watching water leak through your roof, damaging your home while you wait for an emergency roof repair. While B&M Roofing of Colorado offers emergency roof service requests you’ll still need to deal with leaks while you wait for our crews to arrive. Take measures to reduce structural damage while you wait. Learn how to stop a roof leak temporarily, until more permanent repairs can be done to your roof.

leaky roof worn shingles

Common Signs of a Leaky Roof

So how do you know what to look for? There are a few signs that you have a leaky roof that will need repairs.

  • Gutters are clogged – If you have debris that is clogging your gutters, the water isn’t draining properly as designed, and could be leaking into your roof. When looking at your gutters, look to see where water is dammed or building up. You could have some roof damage around those areas.
  • Vent boots are damaged or worn – Also known as vent pipe covers, vent boots are the rubber or plastic cover around your vent pipe that seals off the pipe around the area that it touches the roof. If that area is compromised, water is probably getting past your roof, causing damage.
  • Loose flashing – flashing refers to the metal strips around the edges or that connect sections of your roof. Look to see if they are loose or if there are any gaps between the roof and the flashing. If so, chances are you could have water leaking between the flashing and the roof. You can do some quick repairs with some caulking in these areas.

These are just some of the most common areas to look for signs of roof leaks, but there are more tell-tale signs of a leaky roof with missing shingles, mold or mildew, signs of rotted wood, and discoloring on the ceiling side of your home.


Leaking Ceiling Repair

Everyone knows water flows downhill, and in many cases, that lowest point is above the ceiling. To allow drainage and minimize water damage above the ceiling, locate the wettest point in the roof – which may be a bulge if the leak has gone unattended for a while – and puncture it with a finish nail or another small item.

This opening allows water to drain out of your attic and into a bucket and is much easier to repair than replacing an extensively water-damaged ceiling.

water running on roof


Locating the Leak

The hardest part of fixing a leaky roof? Finding where the leak is actually coming from. Once you locate where the leak is coming from, then it’s easier to know how to stop the roof from leaking temporarily.

If you’re comfortable entering your attic, inspect your roof deck (the roof’s underside) to locate the source of the leak. In many cases, leaks will spring at joints between plywood, and may not be directly above the leak, or directly below the leak in your roofing.

If the leak isn’t visible, there’s a way you can spot where the leak is coming from (being very careful, of course).

Water can enter your roof in one place and run down to another place before you start to notice it, or before it starts soaking into your ceiling. Obviously, you’ll want to find the leak in your roof before the entire roof and ceiling go bad, so the best way to look for a leak is when there’s water running. 

Water Damage ceiling

You won’t want to wait to check for leaks when a heavy rainstorm hits your house and does significant water damage. Instead, control the amount of water flow by taking a garden hose up onto the roof. DON’T GO CRAZY HERE, you don’t need a large amount of water to find the leak. 

Run the (small amount of) water over different places where you think the leak(smight be Have someone else be in the attic looking for moisture with a flashlight. The water will reflect the light and make it easier to see.  

Don’t have an attic? Check for other clues of where leakage might be coming from by pouring a small amount of water through: 

  • Flashing 
  • Ridge caps 
  • Roof valleys 
  • Gutters and downspouts 

If it’s feasible, make sure to collect any water dripping from the roof in your attic (or anywhere else) with a bucket, eliminating any opportunity for it to do additional damage to your home.

Patching a leak from the underside of the roof deck with tar, shingles or plywood isn’t a permanent solution. Once water is getting past your roofing, you’ll need to address it immediately to avoid additional damage to your home.

We understand how imperative it is to fix a leaking roof, so B&M Roofing of Colorado provides emergency response teams to address leaking roofs. Call us at 303.443.5843 or visit our emergency service request form.