What to Do if Your Ceiling Leaks During a Storm
If you notice your ceiling leaking during a storm, it’s easy to deduce you probably have a leak in your roof. However, if you want to save money and protect your property, you’ll take the following preventative steps right away.
1. Go up in the attic and find out what is causing the leak.
Yes, it’s probably the roof, but you need to find out:
- Exactly where the water is coming in. Common leak areas are the flashing around a vent or fan, or a damaged area of the roof where shingles were lifted or destroyed by wind or wildlife.
- If the problem really is the roof. If your air conditioner or water heater is in the attic, you will want to check to make sure you don’t have leaking happening from those two units. Sometimes an AC unit or water heater has been leaking for a while, but you didn’t notice the water problem on the ceiling until during the storm.
2. Prevent future damage to the ceiling.
Place a pot or pan on the spot where the water is coming in.
3. Lay down newspaper around the source of the leak.
This will help you determine if the leak is limited to the spot you identified or if it is more widespread than you first thought. The roofing company and insurance company will be interested in seeing where the problem originates.
4. Determine how much damage the leak has done.
Examine the ceiling, walls, cabinets and flooring affected. How long do you think it has been leaking? How long has the affected area been wet? If the leak is in the home you live in every day, hopefully you caught the leak the first time it happened. However, if the leak is in a vacation home or has been happening for a while, the leak may have done a lot of damage that may be tough to repair.
5. Take pictures of the damaged area and damaged items.
You may need these pictures for insurance purposes.
6. Determine if you need a water restoration company.
Repairs are much less costly if you completely dry out the affected area within 72 hours of the water damage. If the leak is small and you are only dealing with a tiny area, you may be able to simply direct two fans at the small portion of the ceiling (one from below and one in the attic) and hope for the best. You’ll still need to repaint the entire ceiling (and connected ceilings) before reselling the home, but a small leak that dries quickly can usually be painted over.
If it’s a larger leak, you need to get professional help to completely dry out that ceiling, drywall, flooring and cabinets, if cabinets were affected.
Here’s what happens if you don’t completely dry these areas down to in the first 72 hours after the water damage occurs:
- Drywall may or may not return to the original state, depending on how saturated the drywall was and if there was any sagging, bulging or cracking at the points where the sheets of drywall that make up the ceiling connect to one another.
- Hardwood flooring and cabinets may need to be completely replaced if they are not dried out in the first 72 hours. If hardwoods are completely dried, they can be refinished instead of replaced, and refinishing is a lot cheaper than replacing.
A professional water damage restoration company will use a combination of water extraction tools, industrial fans, industrial dehumidifiers and high heat to completely dry out the affected areas. They do this to prevent growth of mold and to increase the chances of full restoration.
7. Talk to a roofing company.
Set up an appointment with a roofer to have the source of the damage evaluated. If you have recently had your roof repaired or replaced, your roof may still be under warranty.
8. Call your insurance company.
Insurance companies vary in response, coverage and procedures. Ask questions, document everything, and be persistent.
Need Charlotte Water Restoration Services?
If you need a water damage restoration company to completely dry out a water damaged area of your home, give us a call today. E.R. Services will always give you a fast response for plumbing-related water damage. We can quickly repair your plumbing, and while we might not offer restoration services, we can refer you to a company that does.
Quick question & answer: What should I do if my ceiling leaks during a storm?
If your ceiling has water damage from a storm, there are several things you can do. After going up in the attic to find the source of the leak, you can try to:
- Place a pan underneath the leak to prevent future ceiling damage
- Place newspaper around the source
- Determine damage from the leak
- Take pictures of damaged areas and items