In the lower mainland, the one thing you can count on is the rain. Vancouver has often been nicknamed “Raincouver” by its inhabitants, and rightly so!
It is a temperate rainforest after all. In general, the rain is an often welcome alternative to snow. However, there are a few things that are less likely to benefit from the constant rainstorms of the fall and winter months.
One of these factors is your roof! Your home may seem cozy with the sound of rain pattering down on your rooftop. But if you are ill prepared for storm season, you could find yourself in a very different situation. Many things can cause your roof to leak, and when it happens, it's important to stop the problem as quickly as possible.
An excessively leaky roof can cause permanent water damage and harmful mold to grow inside your home this can permanently damage your insulation. It can eventually lead to interior rotting, flooding and decay if it is left unattended for longer periods of time. It's best to fix a leaky roof as soon as it starts. Follow these steps and your roof should be safe and dry in no time.
Collect excess water
If you notice a leak starting, sometimes the only immediate thing you can do to prevent further water damage is to collect the water that is leaking from the ceiling.
Place a pot or plastic, waterproof bucket under the area that leaks. Keep a towel or piece of cardboard under the bucket in order to absorb any backsplash from the water droplets.
Turn off the lights
If the water has started to leak through your ceiling, it will continue to spread as long as a water source remains. It will find any and all outlets to drain from, and a very dangerous and convenient place leaks tend to appear is through your ceiling lights or chandeliers. Water often chooses the path of least resistance and the holes in the ceiling where your light fixtures are placed are often places water collects and leaks in storms.
As everyone should know, electricity and water are a lethal pair. As soon as you see any sign of water damage around your light fixtures, cut the power and turn off the lights in that part of your home. Do not attempt any repairs and call a professional right away.
Depending on where your leak is, there are a few different ways to take the next steps. If your leak is in the ceiling of your home, chances are that it is easy to locate. Look for signs of water damage in your ceiling, specifically look for ripples or bubbles forming.
It will look like an obvious bulge in the drywall. This bubble is caused by the water leaking in and collecting in the area above your ceiling. It will continue to grow as the weight and pressure of the water builds.
If the bubble is growing rapidly or if the bubble appears to be getting larger or spreading across your ceiling, simply take a screwdriver and poke a small hole in the largest part of the bubble. Place a bucket below the leak after poking a hole.
If anything, this hole will help to centralize the leak and it will relieve the pressure building up in your ceiling. It will keep the water damage from getting worse. You will only have to fix the single hole, rather than a gaping crack across your ceiling.
Minimize damage with a temporary patch
Your roof's tendency to leak partially depends on external and structural design patterns. If your roof is completely flat, it is much more likely to gather water when it starts to rain or snow. This water has no means of draining off of your house and instead, it collects and puts pressure on your home.
For homes with flat roofs, there isn't much that can be done. The best idea is to buy a waterproof tarp and outfit your entire roof with a waterproof substance for the winter months. You can also use roofing cement.
This method isn't an ideal fix, but putting a tarp sized patch in the area that tends to leak in the winter months is a good idea for homes with flat roofs. Keep the tarp in place with nails or plywood. Water can still enter areas around the tarp, but the leak will appear less severe.
Check your gutters
If your roof is slanted and continues to leak, check your gutters before you worry about structural problems in the roof itself. It could simply be that your gutters or your downspouts are clogged and the water is gathering and leaking into your attic instead. Clear your gutters and watch to see if the leaking subsides.
What if the leak is coming from my windows?
If you notice moisture seeping in from your windows instead of your ceiling, sigh a sigh of relief, this is often a much easier fix. The caulk sealant along the outside of your window is most likely old or cracked. Take a look outside the window that leaks.
If you notice any cracks in the white sealant material along the outside edges of the window, water could be seeping through and into your home. You can test our theory by taking a garden hose and running it against the cracks by your window. Have someone inside let you know if the leak starts to show.
If your sealant is the problem, it is easy to replace. Simply remove all of the old and cracked caulk with a putty knife. You can buy these at any local hardware store. once the sealant is removed, you can replace it with new, latex or silicone caulk. This will ensure it is water resistant.
Take action right away
Take action as soon as you notice a leak starting in your home. Even if it seems minor and doesn't bother you, it can lead to much more dangerous issues like mold, ruined drywall, and interior rot.
In any situation involving leaks, your role as a homeowner or tenant is simply to limit the damage to your home, until professional help arrives. Any and all leaks are a plumbing emergency.
At Hillcrest Plumbing we have 24-hour emergency service, so you can rest assured help is on the way at all hours if the day or night. With over 50 years of experience, our certified plumbing professionals have the experience and knowledge they need to fix and repair your leaks. Give us a call.