Need to know how to fix a leaking roof from the inside? This article gives step-by-step instructions for patching your leaky roof without risking your neck by climbing on top of your house.
A leaking roof is a major hazard, so don’t leave it be, use a temporary patch, and if the problem gets worse, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional roofer.
Tools and Materials You Will Need
- One pair of rubber gloves
- Rubber soled shoes (if you have them)
- Chalk or pencil
- Utility knife or putty knife
- Temporary patch or roofing tar
You can get all of these items with a quick trip to your local hardware store.
Before You Start
The first thing to be aware of is that this is only a temporary solution to contain the leak. If you have a leaky roof, you need a roofing professional to properly fix the leaking roof from the outside. But this can buy you some time and protect your home’s interior and belongings from water. Do not use this solution as a permanent fix.
The second thing to be aware of before starting this project is that you cannot patch the leaky roof if it is still wet. So if it’s actively raining, you’ll have to wait for the weather to cooperate before you can patch the roof from the inside.
To control the leak until you have the chance to patch it, stick a nail in the leak and place a 5-gallon bucket underneath. The nail will funnel the water in a straight line into the bucket, protecting your home. Remove standing water from your attic.
If there is still heavy rainfall and the area is still wet, you will need:
- One nail
- 5-gallon or large bucket
How To Fix a Leaking Roof From the Inside
Once the area is dry enough, follow these steps to seal the leak from the inside to prevent further damage to your home.
Find Roof Leaks
First, you need attic access to search for small leaks. Using a flashlight, search for the source of the leak if you haven’t already. Make sure you only have one leak, as an old roof may have multiple, which likely means it’s time for a roof replacement.
Once you locate roof leaks, look around for other damp areas that need remedying. Standing water in your roof, attic, or crawlspace can lead to mold and water damage, causing a health and structural hazard in your home. Look for darker areas on the ceiling and ceiling joists. Use the chalk or pencil to draw a circle around the problem area on your attic, plywood, and insulation, which will help when it’s time for a more permanent repair.
Apply the Patch
Once you identify the problem areas and ensure the leaking area, meaning the leaking hole itself, is completely dry, you can apply the roof patch. Remember, the area must be dry! If the small leak is not dry, the roof patch will not cure properly and will be useless the next time it rains. Put your rubber gloves on, as this makes it easier to handle the roofing tar and will keep your hands clean so you can move onto the scraping steps without interruption.
Apply a generous amount of roof tar or roof patch to the area. Don’t be shy here. Even if it’s just a pinhole leak, apply a patch bigger than your hand to be on the safe side. Re-doing a roof leak repair will be harder the second time, so it’s best to be thorough the first time around.
Even Out with the Scraper
Using the scraper, whether plastic, metal, or wood, even out the patch. If you’ve ever fixed a hole in a wall, it’s a similar process. You want the layer of roofing tar to be thick and sturdy, but you don’t want it to be in a heavy glob that could easily fall from the ceiling due to weight.
Use the scraper to flatten the roofing tar and spread it liberally over the area around the leak. Once again, do not be shy. If you think you need more patches on the ceiling, you probably do.
Let It Cure
Now, it’s time to let the patch dry or “cure”. The time this takes will depend on the patch covering you chose. Some quick-drying formulas can cure in just a few hours, but most formulas take between 24 and 48 hours to fully dry. Read the instructions on your roof covering and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Rain immediately after you apply the patch may be a problem. If the patch becomes moist and falls off, wait until the small leak is dry again and then repeat the process. Try to time your patching according to when the rain stops, which can be difficult if it’s raining often in your area.
To ensure a tight, resilient seal, use a caulking gun to fill in any holes or cracks in the patch. Once the patch is dry, take the caulking gun and create a border around the patch. Caulking will prevent water from leaking out the sides of the patch and will help keep the patch in place for longer.
If you notice any cracks, bubbles, or tiny holes in the patch, use the caulking gun to seal these too. Add pea-sized caulks, and then use your finger to push the caulking material into the holes and cracks. You can also use your scraper here to ensure the caulking is even and penetrates the holes.
Unlike with the patching tar, you don’t want to go too crazy with the caulking gun. Just make the border and seal any holes, and then walk away. Too much caulking material could compromise the integrity of the patch, defeating the purpose.
And that’s it! Your roof should stop leaking as long as the patch holds. The lifespan of your will depend on many factors, such as your roof age, the patching material quality, your handiwork quality, wet conditions in your area, and more. But a proper interior roof patch could solve your leaking problem for months or even years.
Check-in on the roof from time to time, especially when it rains heavily, to ensure it’s holding. But now you know how to fix a leaking roof from the inside! But if the leak continues to circumvent the patch, you should call an emergency roof repair service.