6 Emergency Roof Repair Tips (Homeowner’s Guide)

Emergency preparedness permeates every aspect of our lives, from in-school tornado and fire drills to emergency exit announcements in public gathering spaces. In fact, you’ve probably heard at least some of the following advice throughout your life about emergency preparedness for your home:

  • Discuss the emergency exits in your home with your family.
  • Keep fire ladders in the closets of all second-story bedrooms.
  • Check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors annually.
  • Keep a storm shelter in your basement stocked with drinkable water, non-perishable food items, a first aid kit, and an emergency radio.

But what about emergency roof repair?

All the above bullet points are excellent advice, but they don’t prepare you for the day when you need emergency roof repair. Whether the damage is caused by a severe storm or something else, you’ll need to stay calm and act fast to prevent the roof problem from affecting the rest of your home.

Luckily, most minor repairs are totally achievable for the average homeowner. Keep reading to learn how to perform basic emergency roof repair on your home.

1. Prioritize Safety

worker performing emergency roof repair

After your home’s roof experiences significant damage, it’s natural to want to rush up there and fix it right away. However, a bit of prudence is wise, as swift action isn’t worth compromising your safety or the safety of those around you.

Wait until all high winds and heavy rains have stopped. If possible, give your roof a bit of time to dry before you attempt to climb on it.

Always wear protective equipment when working on your rooftop, including:

  • Rubber-soled boots
  • Long sleeves and pants
  • Sturdy work gloves
  • Protective eyewear

If you have a multi-story home, consider using a harness to anchor yourself to the roof in case of slips and falls. Use a sturdy ladder, and have a friend or loved one hold the bottom of the ladder while you climb onto the roof.

Test the structural integrity of your roof before you put your full weight on it. If you notice any sagging or give in the roof, stop what you’re doing and call your roofers right away. It isn’t safe for homeowners to attempt emergency roof repairs on their own in these situations, and continuing to work without a professional present could lead to serious injury or even death.

2. Document the Damage

Once you’ve determined that it’s relatively safe to walk on your damaged roof, take a look around and note the specific areas and quality of the damage to your roofing materials. Write down the date and time that the damage occurred, along with an explanation of what happened. Take pictures of the affected areas.

If your roof damage has been caused by a product defect, faulty installation, or an insurance-covered event (such as a storm), you’ll need proof of the damage to submit with your insurance claim, so that’s why it’s important to collect this documentation before you begin work on your roof.

3. Tarp Your Roof

asphalt roof of the house covered with tarp from damage

For water leaks, you’ll likely need to lay a tarp over the affected areas while you wait for a more permanent fix. It’s imperative to complete this process right away on a leaking roof to prevent further water damage inside your home.

Follow these steps to properly tarp your roof:

  1. Measure the affected area.
  2. Purchase a tarp big enough to cover the damaged area, plus a few additional feet on each side.
  3. Secure the tarp to your roof using either the self-adhesive on the tarp or wooden boards secured with roofing nails.
  4. Ensure that the tarp is taut and that wind and rain are unable to get underneath the tarp.

4. Remove Debris

Once all the leaks are stopped up, and your home’s interior is safe and sound, take some time to clear any remaining debris from the top of your roof. This could include tree branches, hailstones, rocks, and blown-off shingles. Completing this step now will keep sharp objects from causing additional damage to your roof, and it will make life much easier for your contractor later.

debris on roof during an emergency roof repair

This is also a great time to assess whether you’ll need to get your gutters or your flashing replaced.

5. Call Your Insurance Company

Using your documentation, submit a claim to your insurance company, if applicable. They’ll talk you through what to do next, including providing additional documentation or scheduling a time for an insurance agent to come out and inspect your property.

Although insurance coverage varies from company to company, most homeowners’ policies include some sort of provision for storm damage, as long as you’ve stayed up-to-date on routine maintenance for your roof.

6. Get on Your Contractor’s Schedule

contractor on the side of the road with his phone

Your temporary roof patch should be treated as just that: a temporary fix. While it will hold until a contractor can check out your roof, it won’t last forever, so you should plan to get a roofing professional to help you with permanent repairs as soon as possible. Depending on the contractor, they may even be able to help you sort out your insurance claim.

If you suspect that the damage might be covered by either manufacturer or labor warranties, getting in touch with that contractor right away will also help you determine whether and how they will cover the repairs.

Emergency Roof Repair Services for You

The next time you find yourself in need of emergency roof repair, keep these six tips in mind. As long as you prioritize your safety, stop the roof leak, and connect with your roofing contractor, you should be able to take care of everything before you have to worry about further damage to your roof and home.

When you’re in an emergency situation, you don’t have time to search online for the best roofing contractors for the job. Save yourself the worry and keep Level Edge at the top of your list for all emergency repairs. When you call us, we’ll provide you with a thorough roof inspection, honest recommendations for your roof repairs, and absolutely no obligations until you sign the project proposal.

Ready to work with some of the best contractors for emergency roof repairs in the Twin Cities metro? Get in touch today!