Attending to a Roof Leak in Heavy Rain

When it rains in the Pacific Northwest, it pours. The abundance of moisture means roof leaks are a common problem for homeowners in our area. When you have a roof leak during a heavy rainstorm, it can feel like the universe is conspiring against you. Trying to fix a leak during the peak of the rainy season can be challenging, but these tips will help get you back inside and dry as quickly as possible. Standing under an intensifying deluge while balancing on a ladder and trying to locate the source of water sounds like something only insane people do. But that’s exactly what we did while researching this article – multiple times. And we share our experience with you so that you don’t have to make that same mistake again.

Make Sure It’s a Roof Leak

It’s important to rule out other causes of water damage before you start repairing a leaky roof. Water damage from plumbing issues, HVAC malfunctions, or even the foundation is often mistaken for roof leaks. You can usually identify a roof leak by a few telltale signs. First, water damage is usually centralized near the roofline. If it’s not, you’re likely dealing with something else. Roof leaks are most common at the flashing and seams where roofing materials meet. They can also happen at the transition between the roof and a wall.

Assess the Damage

If you’ve positively identified a roof leak, you need to assess the extent of the damage so you know how to proceed. If the leak is coming from a single hole, you can use a bucket to catch the water until you can repair it. Determine the source of the leak by the type of water damage and surrounding materials. Water from a roof leak will typically fall in a bucket at a different rate and feel than water from a broken pipe or supply line. If the leak is coming from a number of different places, you may need to replace an entire section of roofing. In this case, you’ll need to call a roofing contractor for assistance. The damage could also indicate a larger problem with the underlying structure, so be sure to consult a professional.

Know Where the Water Is Coming From

If the leak is coming from a single hole, you can plug it with a patch until you can replace the section of roofing. The problem is that most roofers don’t provide same-day service. In a heavy rainstorm, it could take days or weeks to schedule a repair. During that time, every time it rains, you’ll have to deal with a leak. To reduce the amount of water getting inside your house, you can install a roof diverter to reroute the water elsewhere. These divert water from a high point and send it down the roofline and away from your home. Diverters are great for preventing roof leaks, but they won’t stop a leak that’s already inside your roof. If you’re dealing with a roof leak, you need to find the source of the water and divert it back out.

Don’t Try to Stop the Rain With Duct Tape

Last fall, a woman in Oregon was forced to live in her van because she tried to stop a roof leak with duct tape. This is a situation that can be easily avoided. If you’re okay with a bucket full of water collecting on the floor and having to wring out a soaking wet rug every day, then go right ahead and use duct tape. If you want to keep as much of your home dry as possible, you’ll need to take a different approach. There are a number of short-term fixes for roof leaks, including buckets, tarps, and plugs. While these are helpful, they’re not a long-term solution. Roof leaks can be dangerous, so you want to get them fixed as soon as possible. If you do not have the skills or equipment required to fix a roof leak, consider hiring a professional.

Repair the Roof ASAP

If you’ve determined the source of the leak and it’s not coming from a section of the roof that needs to be replaced, you can temporarily patch the hole so it stops leaking water. There are a number of different products you can use to patch a roof leak. Some kits will include everything you need to fix a leak on an asphalt shingle roof. If you’ve identified a section of your roof that needs to be replaced, you’ll need to adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended timeframe for when you can start using the roof again. You’ll also have to check the weather forecast and make sure there’s not a chance of rain for the next few days. You’re not ready to cover the newly installed roof until it’s been thoroughly dried out.


A leaky roof can be a huge inconvenience and cost a lot of money to repair. Make sure you know what to do if your roof leaks and take action as soon as possible to prevent damage to your property. Remember, it’s always better to prevent damage than repair it, so make sure your roof is in good condition before the rainy season arrives. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to find and fix a roof leak before it does too much damage. But remember: when it rains in the Pacific Northwest, it pours. You can’t stop the rain, but you can be prepared for it.

Author: Editor

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