Yup, passengers on the Titanic played with ice chunks that fell onto the deck from the fatal iceberg. They clearly did not recognize an emergency, even when it rained down on them. Can you? When is a leaking roof an emergency? 

Roof Leak

If you find a roof leak, you have to deal with it. Roofs do not heal themselves, and any roof leak only gets worse with time. So, you first have to assess how serious the leak is. You need no fancy tools or skills to do this. Here is what to look for and do:

  1. Measure the rate of water entering your living space or attic; a slow drip is not a roofing emergency, while a fast drip qualifies as an emergency requiring your local, helpful roofer’s immediate response
  2. Measure the quantity of water coming in from your roof; just put a pot or bucket under the roof, wait 15 or 30 minutes, and use a kitchen measuring cup to calculate the amount of water per hour (15 x 4 or 30 x 2)
  3. Determine the risk to your home’s interior; an attic or gutter leak could ruin insulation and—eventually—saturate drywall of the ceiling below, while a leak into your living space could destroy furniture, artwork, personal items, or valuables
  4. Decide how the leak affects habitability—this is key because a home that does not allow the normal activities of daily living is not a home; if you cannot sleep, dress, prepare and eat meals, or take care of basic hygiene, then you have a roofing emergency

If the rate or quantity of water entering your home is alarming to you, you should contact your professional residential roofer. If the risk to your home is high, you have a roofing emergency. Most important of all: if your home is not habitable, you definitely have a roofing emergency and must contact your roofer immediately

Not an Emergency

If all you do to keep up with a roof leak is to put a pot in the mud room because of an occasional drip after a heavy rain, you do not have a roofing emergency. Does that mean you should ignore the leak? Absolutely not! Still work with your roofer, but schedule an appointment for prompt roof repair or partial roof replacement. Make the appointment for a time convenient to you, even if it is some weeks in the future. 

Why would a roofer be so casual about an obvious problem? Roofers deal with roof leaks day in, day out. They can tell the difference between a middle-of-the-night emergency and a routine repair call. 

A few drips over a few days will not destroy your southeastern Michigan home. However, the roof will not miraculously stop leaking and you must deal with the leak. In this scenario, your drywall, joists, insulation, rafters, and sheathing are not at immediate risk of crumbling away to nothing. 

In many professions, the difference between a scheduled work and a true emergency is cost. The scheduled visit during routine working hours costs less than a full-blown emergency call. 

When you are working with a professional roofer, they will always send a roof inspector to first assess what is needed. This could allow further damage to happen as you wait for your appointment.

Faster, Bigger, Worse

Ultimately, you decide whether to call your roofer or not. A leaking roof comes down to a simple idea: the faster and bigger the quantity of water entering your Michigan home, the worse the damage will be. The only variable remaining is time. The longer you wait, the greater the damage and the more your home loses resale value and curb appeal. Additionally, the longer you put it off, the greater the risk of mold growth with can be extremely dangerous for the health of you and your family.

What Your Roofer Will Do

When you call your roofer, they may be available to come within hours of your daytime call. Their first visit will be a free 21 Point Inspection as the roofing technician pokes and probs far beyond the obvious water leak. Surrounding areas on the roof, in the attic, and in your living space must be checked for:

  • Hidden issues
  • Blunt impact
  • Additional leaks
  • Mold
  • Structural damage

Your roofing contractor’s crew will determine one of three sensible solutions that not only solves the one leak, but helps prevent future problems:

  1. Localized repair
  2. Partial roof replacement
  3. Full roof replacement

Expect a detailed written estimate or Scope of Work no matter the size of your roofing needs. For temporary protection, and especially if the job is larger than anyone anticipated, your roofer’s crew may install a temporary tarp to prevent further water infiltration. Then, at the appropriate time, a thorough repair or replacement will be performed, restoring your southeastern Michigan home’s roof to its original splendor. 

Victors Roofing is ready to help you! We believe the number one way to take care of a leaking roof is to prevent it in the first place. If your roof is 10 years old or more, you should have it inspected to see if it has any weaknesses and head off those potential problems before they become disasters. Contact us today with all your roofing questions. Learn more about solving roof leaks, preventing roofing emergencies, and protecting your roof, your home, and your family.