"When is a Leaking Roof an Emergency?"

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Posted on June 12, 2024

"When is a Leaking Roof an Emergency?"

Roofing emergencies happen, and usually at the most inconvenient time. A leaking roof becomes an emergency if it disrupts your life, damages electronics and wiring, and affects the structure of the home or building. If you are having any of these issues, take the emergency seriously to protect yourself and your property. Call a company with 24-hour emergency roofing services.  


When called out on an emergency, a roofing professional assesses the damage and finds the cause of the leaking roof. They make temporary repairs and estimate the cost of fixing the leak. If your roof is older, or damage is extensive, your emergency team will give you an estimate on a new roof. In the end, you will once again have a roof over your head that keeps out the elements and protects your property.     

Signs of a Roofing Emergency 

While every roof leak is urgent, some leaks are more urgent than others. The signs of a roofing emergency include: 

  • The leak is forcing you out. When you cannot live in the area with the leak, you have a roofing emergency.  
  • Water has damaged appliances and electronics. When water gets into appliances and electronics, take it seriously. Wet electronics can start fires and cause severe injuries.  
  • Wiring is wet. In a roofing emergency, water leaking into the electrical system may cause shorts, sparks, and eventually a fire. The whole electrical system can be damaged by water. If you see a leak near wiring, shut off the power at the breaker box and call an electrician and a 24-hour emergency roofing service.  
  • Water is damaging the structure of your house. Water traveling through the decking and framing can damage ceiling joists, rafters, trim, and wall framing – compromising your entire home.  

Even a small leak can eventually lead to a lot of damage. If you have a small, slow leak, ask Honest Abe Roofing for a roof inspection and learn how to stop the problem before it does considerable damage.   

Disasters That Call for Emergency Roofing Help

Any of the following weather-related mishaps require prompt attention from a roofing company:

  • Water damage. Hurricanes, heavy rain, or snow can cause water to get under the roof and into your home or business. 
  • Storm damage. Strong, constant winds can damage shingles and blow them off the roof. 
  • Hail damage. Large hail breaks shingles and sometimes breaks through the roof. 
  • Damage from fallen trees. Snow, wind, and heavy rain can cause trees and tree limbs to weaken and fall on the roof.  

 Lack of proper maintenance is also a major cause of roofing emergencies. When homeowners do not clean the gutters regularly or remove branches from the roof, the condition of the roof suffers. Leaky roofs also occur when you do not replace missing or cracked shingles.  

 When you call Honest Abe Roofing for emergency roofing services tell us what happened and where the roof is leaking. We are on call 24 hours a day every day of the year and will quickly find the cause of the leak. Then, we apply a temporary fix to prevent more water damage until long-term repairs begin, or we install a new roof.  


Depending on the source of the leak, we apply a patch or tarp over the affected area. If you are thinking about tarping the roof yourself, do not do it, especially in a storm. We recommend leaving this to professionals who know how to stay safe on roofs.   

How to Find and Fix a Leaking Roof to Prevent an Emergency 

You can prevent a roofing emergency by paying attention to your roof. In some cases, fixing leaks when they are small takes care of the issue. You may see a water stain on the ceiling or find rotten wood in the attic. To find the origin of a leak: 


  1. Use a flashlight to trace the location of the leak. It may be coming from the roof, chimney, vents, or dormers. If you cannot find the source, have a helper watch in the attic while you soak a small section of the roof with a garden hose. 
  1. After finding the location of the leak inside, go outside to inspect the roof. Use binoculars to spot damage from a ladder. Look for curled, cracked, or missing shingles. Check for compromised caulking, flashing, and end caps.   

Simple Repairs to Roofs with Asphalt Shingles 

If you are comfortable getting on a roof, you may want to make simple repairs to a leaking roof yourself. First, know that shingle repairs are easier in warm months when the shingles are pliable. Steps for repairing the roof depend on the state of the shingles: 

Curling Shingles 

Secure curled shingles with a coat of asphalt roofing cement. Or use a patching compound applied with a caulk gun. Make sure to apply enough roofing cement to secure the edges and corners, then press the shingle firmly to set it.  

Missing, Rotten, or Damaged Shingles 

If you are planning to replace missing, rotten, or damaged shingles, be aware that it is difficult to match new shingles to old ones. Some homeowners have spare shingles from when they got a new roof, but even those will look different than shingles that have been in the sun for years. 


To apply new shingles, follow these steps: 


  1. Remove the damaged shingle(s) by lifting the edges of the shingles around it. 
  1. Pull out the nails with a pry bar. The shingle should slide right out once you remove the nails.   
  1. Prepare the roof for a new shingle by scraping away any cement from the old shingle and removing nails. 
  1. Round the corners of a new shingle using a utility knife to make it easier to slide under the existing shingles. 
  1. Slide the shingle under the one above it. 
  1. Lift the corners of the overlapping shingles and nail the new shingle down at both corners.
  1. Cover the nails with roof cerement then flatten the overlapping shingles over the new nails.  

Leaks in the Flashing 

When metal flashing around chimneys, vents, and dormers starts leaking, get on the roof with a caulk gun filled with roofing cement. Look for damage to joints, then apply a fresh coat using a putty knife.  

 If you start your repairs then realize a whole row of shingles needs to be replaced, or the shingles come off easily, you may want to get your roof inspected. Doing so will help you avoid a roofing emergency.  

Do You Need Roof Repairs or a Roof Replacement? 

A leaking roof always leads to the question, “Do we need to replace the roof or repair it?” Like most things, it depends. If your house is more than 20 years old and you have an asphalt roof, repairing the roof delays the inevitable: the roof is well past its prime. It is time to stop patching it and invest in a new one.  But if you have another kind of roof, you may be able to keep making repairs. Some roofing materials last much longer than others.  


  • Asphalt shingles last 20 years. 
  • Metal roofs can get 30+ years. 
  • Clay roofs last 50+ years. 
  • Slate roofs have held up for more than 100 years. 

In addition to the material used, many other factors impact how long a roof lasts. The quality of installation, how the roof has been maintained, abuse from weather and storms, and the presence of plants, animals, and moisture should all be considered.

 The roofing specialists at Honest Abe Roofing offer free advice on whether to repair or replace a roof after a roofing emergency. Contact us online or at 844-298-4100.  


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