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5 Emergency Roof Repair Tips Every Homeowner Should Know

Actively dripping water and flying shingles is hardly the time to brainstorm your emergency roof response plan. When the top of your home needs attention, you must act fast. That’s why it’s so important to know how to care for your roof in case of an emergency. Follow these tips and you’ll become the emergency roof repair expert you never knew you needed. 

1. Place a Tarp to Prevent Leaks 

Water seeping into your home from above is a definite roofing emergency that requires immediate action to prevent additional cosmetic or structural problems. Place a temporary tarp to the roof surface until a professional can come and evaluate the situation. Pull the tarp tightly down onto the roof and smooth it out. Make sure the tarp is tucked under the roofing material or installed up and over a ridge, to prevent the water from entering at the top and running underneath. Then, nail down the edges and cover the nail heads with roofing cement. 

Make sure the tarp is large enough to cover the entire affected area and that the tarp is meant for outdoor usage.

2. Repair Damaged Shingles and Tighten Loose Ones

Most of the time when leaks are caused by loose or damaged shingles, you can tackle a temporary fix while waiting for the pros. Reaffix loose shingles, as well as the surrounding shingles using adhesive, cement, or roofing nails around the edges. 

Record and note the shingles you’ve band-aided so that you can share that info with the pro once they arrive. 

3. Don’t Tackle The Big Stuff Yourself 

It’s hard not to gravitate toward the DIY lifestyle, but there are some jobs that are just too dangerous for amateurs to tackle solo. Making serious repairs to your roof is one of them. Call a local roof repair company to fix significant roof damage such as missing flashing, roof rot, or water spots on your ceiling. Even better, you won’t have to lug and climb a ladder.

4. Document the Damage 

Just because you shouldn’t grab a ladder and climb up on your damaged roof, doesn’t mean you can’t take action as soon as you see there’s damage. 

  • Snap “after” photos and videos of the damage
  • Document in writing what you believe to be the extent of the damage 
  • Record any estimates, invoices, and bills you receive 

Having all of this information on file will help ensure a smooth and hassle-free claims process.

5. Contact Your Insurance Company

Reach out to your insurance company and describe the damage to your roof. Find out what your policy covers and whether insurance will cover partial or full costs for repair. Your insurance company will likely send an inspector to your home to investigate and verify your claim. 

“Often insurance companies want you to have a roofing contractor look at the damage so that you don’t open up a claim unnecessarily, which can hurt your ratings with your insurance carrier,” says Ami Feller of Feller Roofing. “If your contractor thinks you might have a roof claim, it can be very beneficial to have your contractor present when your insurance adjuster comes—it avoids a lot of back and forth. The two can assess the damages together and hopefully come to an agreement on the spot about what needs to be done to repair the roof.”


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