Emergency Roof Repair – Tricks Of The Trade

If your roof has just sprung leak chances are you’ve already scrambled to save any flooring or furniture that’s in harm’s way by placing a container underneath the affected area. In catastrophic situations like heavy storms, where part of a roof is badly damaged, perhaps even swept away, there are further steps you should take to ensure the safety of your family, yourself and your home.

There are also steps that you can take to fix less extensive damage. Whatever the level of the emergency, this article has you covered.

Assessing the Damage

Storm Damage

After the storm has passed, and you’ve ensured your family is safe, it’s important to get down to do the work of checking the full extent of the roof damage. Be on the lookout for the following:

– Fallen shingles in the immediate outside vicinity.
– Water pouring or dripping from the ceiling.
– Larger broken segments of roof or damage to beams

If you are going to conduct further inspection within the roof, one procedure that cannot be ignored is to promptly shut down your electricity supply at the circuit board. This will also allow you to assess whether any wiring has been affected before risking damage to your electric circuits,  shocking yourself or causing a fire..

Minor roof leaks

It can be argued that any leak, no matter how minor, is an emergency situation. Leaks put at risk deeper structures within the ceiling, including electrical cables, wooden beams and ceiling boards. A leak, however small, should not be left unchecked for longer than a few hours. Otherwise, your roof will inevitably become an expensive liability later on.

Some Preventative Measures

Prevention is better than cure and emergency roof repairs are certainly no exception. Here are some things you can do if roof damage is an imminent risk.

Keep an Emergency Repair Kit on Hand

This is one of the best investments you can make for under 50 dollars. If you can reach the part of the roof outside that’s the underlying cause of the leak within your house, and do so without the risk of slipping or injuring yourself, Eternabond or a similar product will stem the leak long enough to protect your deeper ceiling structure. This will buy you time to phone a contractor who can conduct a more thorough repair on your property.

A more professional and longer-lasting measure would be to use a liquid rubber formula that works to penetrate holes on your roof and seals it more thoroughly. This can buy you as many as 50 years if carried out correctly, but it comes with the disclaimer that the affected area of damage is fairly small. Before you apply the rubber sealant, you will also obviously need to ensure that the affected area is dry and clean first.

More extensive Damage

Depending on the roof structure, the extent of the damage and the structural make-up of your roof, there are different methods of dealing with an emergency roof repair.

Where beams, electrical cables, or walls have been permanently damaged, it pays to call in professional help. It goes without saying that massive weight-bearing structures are not going to be adequately fixed without expertise in the area of construction and roof repair.

With this in mind, you may be thinking to yourself that the damage to your home isn’t all that extensive. The dividing line between serious damage and damage which can be repaired on a DIY basis is often a thin one, but supposing you are keen to minimize costs, there are some less expensive outcomes. One of them is replacing the protective layer between the frame or supporting beams of the roof with a better weatherproofing product.

Roofing that has been Repaired Before

If you are continually experiencing leakage issues that aren’t remedied with simple DIY waterproofing, it may pay to look a level deeper than just an upper layer of asphalt or shingle tiles.

To weatherproof your home without rebuilding the roof’s supportive structure itself, you must ensure that none of the roof’s weight-bearing beams is warped or damaged in any way. So long as the trusses (in the case of a pitched roof) are not damaged, warped, or sodden and (in the case of a flat roof) there is no bowing or dipping causing pooling above the roof, you can look into replacing the layer directly above the inner ceiling.

A common option is to consider replacing the existing layers of asphalt felt (also known as the base layer) and to replace this with a better synthetic product below your capping.


Rubber roofing kits for flat roofing come in a base layer and capping layer. Let’s explain them in more detail:

– The base layer

A base layer or underpayment is installed as a protective layer before adding roofing shingles or tiles above it. This may need to be installed to prevent emergency situations, especially if your existing underpayment does not exist or is older than 20 years. It provides an extra layer of protection against the elements in areas that are severely affected by storms. Because building codes vary from state to state, it’s possible that you don’t even have this added layer of protection to stave off leakages.

Traditionally, underpayments only lasted between 12 and 20 years, but a good quality synthetic product like this one from  Epilay roofing comes with a 40-year guarantee.

– The capping layer

You might assume the underpayment to be of primary importance, but actually, it acts as a secondary layer of protection against the elements. In fact, depending on your building jurisdiction, some homes only make use of the top layer of shingle and this makes it the first line of defence against the elements. For that reason it’s structural integrity is of utmost importance.

Ideally, both capping and base layer will work together to fend off the elements and keep your house safe from emergency situations. This includes not only storm damage but also fires that can threaten older homes.

Clogged Gutters

Another less expensive possibility is that your gutters simply need to unclog. This is a common cause of pooling on the roof which doesn’t require major repairs.