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What to Do About a Leaky Roof

The roofline of a shingle roof in Maryland with debris on roof

You wake up one morning and notice a growing brownish stain on your bedroom ceiling. It’s a leak! As unpleasant as it is, it’s a reality. There will be repairs, and you may want to get that ceiling repainted to cover up the stain. But right now you need to figure out the best course of action to have this problem resolved before the next rain. Our Maryland roofing company has put together some basic steps you should follow to deal with this leak.

Take Pictures

Before you do anything else, get your smartphone or camera out and take photos of the damage. They will come handy if you decide to file a homeowners’ insurance claim. Keep in mind that although homeowners’ insurance does cover roof damage, the coverage is rather narrow and depends on the cause of damage. For example, if a sever thunderstorm rolled through your area and ripped off a piece of flashing around your chimney, you may be covered. However, if your roof is more than 10 years old and the leak occurred due to neglected maintenance, you may be out of luck. But still take pictures just in case, so that you can discuss your options with your insurance agent.

Make Sure it’s a Roof Leak

Before you jump to conclusions, make sure you are in fact dealing with a roof leak. This is important because you need to know who to call—a plumber or a roofer. That’s right, plumbing leaks are also common and may also show up as stains on the ceiling. A good indication that you may have a plumbing leak is that it’s right under where your upstairs bathroom is. Turn your upstairs shower or sink on and listen downstairs for a tapping sound inside the ceiling. If a leak manifested itself on the day it rained or the next day, it’s likely a roof leak. You can also walk outside and see if you can spot any visible roof damage like missing shingles.

Determine Who is Responsible for Fixing

If you live in a detached home, your roof leak is your own responsibility. However, if you own a condo in a condominium, your condo association may be handling these sorts of repairs. Similarly, if you rent, it’s probably your landlord who should be dealing with this problem. If you think you are not responsible for fixing the leak, contact the suspected responsible party right away to alert them about this issue. They may have you pay for the repair and will reimburse you later.

Find a Good Roofing Contractor

Now that you know it’s probably a roof leak that is your responsibility to fix, it’s time to find a reliable roof repair contractor. Start by asking your friends and family for recommendations. If they are homeowners like you, they’ve probably dealt with roof repairs in the past and can point you in the right direction. If you don’t get any good roofer leads from your network, search online and check out a few Maryland roofing company websites. Look for signs that the roofer is local, licensed, insured and experienced. Give them a call and schedule an inspection.

Check Your Warranty

If your roof is relatively new, it may still be under warranty. Most roofing manufacturers offer limited warranties anywhere from 10 to 30+ years. If you were the one who paid for the new roof, you should have the warranty paperwork. If you purchased a home with a recently renovated roof, you may have had the warranty transferred to you. That’s right, some roof warranties are transferable—usually one transfer is allowed upon home sale. This is something you would have negotiated during the buying process, so check your paperwork. If you do have a warranty, your roofer will then help you determine whether this particular damage is covered.

Weigh Your Options

Let’s say you have an old roof that you never really maintained. Your roofing contractor may be able to patch this leak, but there is no guarantee more leaks won’t start happening soon. As you are having your leak fixed, talk to your roofer about the possibility of roof replacement. He can offer you a rough estimate, so that you can carefully weigh whether it’s something you can afford right now, or start saving up.

If you have any other questions about roof maintenance or roof repair, give Platinum Exteriors a call or contact online for an estimate!