Emergency Roof Leak Repair Guide (2024)

By Tamara Jude Updated February 5, 2024

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If your roof begins leaking, you must determine the situation’s urgency. Emergency roof repair services are often available 24/7 but are costly, particularly on nights and weekends. Sometimes, you can provide a temporary fix yourself and wait for normal business hours to call for service. In truly urgent situations, you should call a roofing professional immediately. We’ll explain how to tell the difference and what to do when you notice a leak.

What to Do When You First Notice a Roof Leak

Here’s what to do as soon as you spot water leaks.

Temporary Repairs You Can Do Yourself

If you determine your roofing problems aren’t an emergency, you can make quick do-it-yourself (DIY) fixes while waiting for permanent repairs. Prioritize your safety and never walk on a wet roof or one you suspect has sustained structural damage.

Materials Needed

Depending on the damage type and extent, here are some supplies you might need:

Step-by-Step Process

Steps to temporarily repair a leaky roof.

  1. Start with proper ladder and roof safety. Set the ladder’s feet about 3 feet away from the roof’s edge and secure the top if possible. Wear non-slip shoes and secure any items you bring up with you. Don’t climb on the structure if you have any doubts about its structural integrity.
  2. Document the damage, even if you’re unsure whether you’ll file an insurance claim. Take pictures if possible.
  3. The simplest fix involves spreading a tarp over the affected area and weighing it down with lumber or other weighty material. Ensure one tarp edge is secured on the opposite side of the roof’s peak so water can’t run underneath the tarp.
  4. If the damage is a small puncture, fill it with epoxy, roofing cement, or rubber sealant. Brush any granules or debris away from the hole, and use the product according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  5. If you spot loose or missing shingles, secure them or replace them using extra shingles you may have lying around. Take care when inserting roofing nails, as you don’t want to cause further punctures. It may be better to use sealant.
  6. Call your insurance company to begin the claims process. They’ll assign an adjuster to help you with the next steps.
  7. If you’re not using insurance, schedule a roof inspection, or call a local roofing contractor to perform permanent repairs.
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Professional vs. DIY Roof Leak Repair

Apart from small, temporary fixes, a licensed roofing company should perform emergency roof leak repairs. Roofing systems are complex and vital for protecting the whole house, so even if the problem appears to be fixed with a little epoxy, you’ll need to call in professionals eventually. They’re trained to spot damage that you might miss, and they’ll know how to fix problems under roof shingles or other surface roofing materials. The consequences of unchecked water damage are serious and expensive, so it pays to hire licensed roofers as soon as possible.

Emergency Roof Repair Costs

Here’s what you can expect to pay to have your roof repaired based on your roof’s size and material, the extent of damage, and other factors.

Temporary Repair Costs

Temporary fixes are generally inexpensive. If you do them yourself, you’ll only pay for materials. For example, you can purchase a tarp at most home improvement stores for $10 to $50.  Professional roof patching, which is only a temporary solution, costs between $100 and $1,000.*

*Via Angi

Permanent Repair and Replacement Costs

Professional leaking roof repair costs between $360 and $1,550. Here are common cost ranges for specific fixes.

This pricing applies to nonemergency repairs. If you need emergency repair, the price can easily double.

Factors Influencing Roof Repair Costs

Repair costs will depend on these factors.

How to Hire a Professional

When comparing local roofing companies, here are some things to keep in mind.

Preventing Future Roof Leaks

Once your roof has been repaired, keep up with regular maintenance to avoid similar problems in the future.

Maintenance Tips

Roofs require upkeep. Specific tasks will differ based on roofing material, but here are some general tips.

When to Replace a Roof

All roofs will need replacing at some point. While roof replacement expenses are steep, they may be necessary to protect your investment in your home. Here are signs it’s time for a new roof.

Our Recommendation

If you spot a roof or ceiling leak in your home, address it immediately. Secure your safety, contain the water, and then do your best to determine the problem’s urgency. We recommend calling for emergency roof leak repair if the water is actively running, if your home’s wiring may be affected, or if more storms are on the way. Professional roofers can stop the leak to prevent damage from compounding.

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Emergency Roof Leak Repair FAQ

Is a ceiling leak an emergency?

A ceiling leak is an emergency if the water spot is larger than a few inches across, there are multiple leak spots, there’s puddled or running water, or the wiring is compromised.

How do you temporarily stop a roof leak?

Putting a tarp over the affected area and weighing it down is the quickest and easiest way to stop water from getting in through the roof.

Can you fix a leaking roof from the inside?

If you have access to your unfinished attic and you find the leak’s source, you can use a patch kit as a temporary fix.

What is the best way to repair a leaking roof?

Small puncture holes can be patched or filled with epoxy or roofing cement, but cracked or missing shingles should be covered with a tarp until a roofer can make a permanent repair.

What are the signs that you need to fix a leaky roof?

Here are some signs that your roof needs leak repair.u003cbru003eu003cbru003eDamaged, loose, or missing shinglesu003cbru003eDamaged or missing flashingu003cbru003eWater stains on ceiling or wallsu003cbru003eSound of running or dripping wateru003cbru003eMold or mildew

How can I repair a roof leak in the attic?

Small leaks can be temporarily repaired with patches or epoxy, but larger leaks require covering the roof with a tarp. Regardless of the leak’s size, you should hire a licensed roofer to make permanent repairs.