It happens to even the most well-constructed homes – a wind, hail, snow, or rainstorm blows through, a house fire happens, or another catastrophic weather event occurs and damages your roof, leaving missing shingles or tiles, holes, and leaks in its wake.
While there are numerous causes for problems that necessitate an emergency roofing fix, they all have one thing in common – it is important to temporarily patch things up as quickly as you can in order to prevent further damage and increased expenses for repairs or even a complete replacement roofing system.
Reasons You May Require an Emergency Roof Repair(s)
There are a variety of reasons that you may need an emergency roof repair, such as when winter or water blows or tears shingles off your roof, if a tree trunk or branch or other large item lands on your roof, if there has been a major snowstorm with heavy snow and ice, if there are significant amounts of debris, snow, or ice in your gutters, or if animals like squirrels, raccoons, or woodpeckers have paid a visit to your roof and nested it or otherwise damaged it.
All of that said, some roofing damage may look extremely problematic but doesn’t necessarily warrant the extra cost of an emergency or immediate fix.
For example, minor clogs in your gutters, damage to the flashing, or even tiny leaks or dampness can likely wait a few days for repairs.
Furthermore, proper maintenance and regular roof inspections can help you uncover small problems before they turn into emergency situations, especially if your roof is on the newer side.
After you have experienced a major hail storm – particularly one that pairs the hail with high winds – you should check your roof and the rest of your house for signs of damage, such as dented or cracked shingles, broken or dented gutters, broken skylights, or damage to your windows and siding.
Large patches of missing shingles or leaks that allow you to see the sunlight (or the light from a flashlight) through the roof when you are in the attic or space immediately under the roof likely mean it is time to call an emergency roof repair service.
Wind storms or high winds can cause shingles to blow off, become curled, buckled, or cracked, and debris like tree branches, entire trees, or things like patio furniture or outdoor grills or BBQs to end up on the roof.
You can prevent much of these problems by keeping any overhanging trees well-trimmed and bringing any patio furniture or similar items inside or placing them in the garage, but accidents do happen.
Often, emergency roofing services can temporarily re-adhere some shingles and move tree branches and such off your roof, but chances are you will want to have your roof more permanently fixed or even replaced in the future.
Heavy Rains and Flooding
A major rainstorm or storm that results in flooding in your area can damage your roofing system in several ways; for one, the weight of the water soaking into your roof can cause shingles to curl, buckle, or take on a wavy look – which is a sign that they are no longer in ideal condition.
Water can also make its way into tiny holes and make them into larger leaks, causing dampness, water, mold, moss, and algae to breach the interior of your home.
Moreover, the weight of water sitting on your roof can cause it to sag or even collapse completely.
Accordingly, if you suffer a heavy deluge, having your roof checked out right away and potentially having an emergency roof repair company place plywood and tarps over damaged areas is essential in order to maintain the health of your roof.
A house fire can be one of the most impactful and destructive events that can occur to your property – and often the house or other structures are made unsalvageable.
However, in the case of smaller fires that get put out fairly quickly, it can be possible to patch the roof until it can be replaced.
One thing to keep in mind is that the fire itself isn’t the only cause of damage to your roof – not only is there is smoke, ash, and soot staining or degrading the integrity of your roof, the water and chemicals used by the firefighters can be just as problematic, if not more so.
In addition, firefighters often have to punch holes in the roof while they are combating the flames.
Is a Roof Leak an Emergency?
In general, a leak in your roof can be considered an emergency and you will want to at least temporarily patch it up as soon as possible, and in the case of any kind of natural disaster, once it is safe to enter the property.
Roofing contractors who do emergency repairs can cover the holes with a tarp(s), plywood, or other materials until a more permanent fix can be made.
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Types of Emergency Roof Repairs
Depending the kind of damage that your roof has incurred, the type of roofing materials and style of roof that you have, and even the current climate and weather conditions, an emergency roofing specialist will opt for different kinds of erstwhile or semi-permanent fixes.
Tarping A Roof During Emergency Roof Repairs
Covering leaky spots and any other damage on your roof with plastic tarps is considered a temporary fix meant only to prevent further issues until your roof can be properly repaired.
Tarps are a short-term solution that should not be left on your roof for longer than 90 days.
The process of tarping a roof is simple – the roofing contractors cover the entire damaged area with a plastic waterproof tarp and nail it down at the edges with roofing nails, then seal the edges with plastic roofing cement and roofing tape.
Using Plywood for Emergency Roof Repairs
Plywood can be used underneath the tarp as a temporary repair that lasts a bit longer than tarping on its own.
The layer of plywood is fastened over the leaky or damaged area with at least 3 inches of extra wood on the edges and covered over with a tarp to keep it dry until the roof can be repaired or replaced in the long term.
Temporary Sheet Metal Roof Repairs and Patching
If you have a metal roof, then your roofing company can patch it by cutting a piece of sheet metal to fit over the hole or damaged spots, nailing it in place, and painting and sealing that part of the roof to match the rest.
DIY Shingles and Flashing
For some smaller holes or leaks, your roofing crew can tuck pieces of aluminum flashing cut to fit into spots where shingles are missing, attaching them with roofing nails and plastic roofing cement or roofing tape.
A roofing professional can also seal over damaged, curled, cracked, or buckled shingles if the issues are minor, but keep in mind that you will likely need to replace those shingles in the future.
Plastic Roofing Cement and Emergency Roof Repairs
Crafted from ground and refined premium asphalt and also referred to as mastic, flashing cement, or asphalt plastic, this roofing material is applied with a trowel or caulking gun and smoothed with a putty knife as a way to prevent leaks and block water from coming around temporary roofing fixes like tarp, plywood, and DIY shingles made from flashing.
Roofing Tape and Emergency Roof Repairs
Roofing tape or flashing tape is used to seal the edges of a temporary roof repair made from tarp, plywood or metal.
It is a durable and waterproof tape that can serve as a sealant when emergency roofing repairs are made; roofing tape helps to reinforce the edges of patches and the flashing on your roof against leaks, dampness, mold, moss, and algae.
Can I Perform My Own Emergency Roof Repairs?
While you may consider yourself handy around the house and skilled at DIY projects, we always recommend bringing in the professionals when you are dealing with the literal roof over your and your family’s heads.
Roof repairs can be complex and it helps to have an expert who knows what to look for and how to best mitigate the damage in the short term – and fix it more permanently in the long term
Cost of Emergency Roof Repairs
The cost of emergency roof repairs varies greatly depending on the extent of the damage, the types of materials needed, the size, shape, and pitch or steepness of the roof, and even any other hazardous conditions involved in your area or on your property.
For instance, the cost of tarping a roof after a storm or other catastrophe ranges from $200 to $1000, while the average price of other types of roof repairs ranges from $300 to $1,100.
Be aware that plywood and tarp are only stopgap fixes as well, so you will incur more expenses in the future with more long-lasting repairs or a total roof replacement.
Will Insurance Cover Emergency Roof Repairs?
There’s a good chance that your homeowners’ insurance policy or flood insurance policy (if applicable) will cover the costs of emergency roof fixes if the damage occurs during a “covered peril” like a major storm or fire, and potentially subsequent more permanent repairs or even a roof replacement.
Of course, always check your individual policy(s) and speak to your insurance and possibly a public adjuster to get your questions and determine whether or not emergency roof repairs or other work on your roof will be covered.
We suggest making that you understand these policies and any rules or restrictions well in advance of a disaster – the last thing you want to be doing in an emergency situation is dealing with your insurance.
At the end of the day, being aware of your emergency repair options if your roof is damaged and having an experienced team of roofing contractors that you can call is an essential part of being a responsible homeowner.
Emergencies do happen but we are here to help.
If you’re thinking about filing a roofing claim, read our latest roof insurance claim guide.
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