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How to Patch a Leaky Ceiling Until It Can Get Fixed


A leaky ceiling is one of the most annoying issues homeowners face. The constant drips that need caught, the hassle of needing to get it fixed but maybe having to wait depending on what day of the week or season it is, and the worry that it will cause more problems the longer it goes on. It is no fun, to be sure, but there are a few things you can do to patch the leak until a professional can come assess and repair the issue that will make your life easier.

Contain the Leak

Once you have located the dripping and placed buckets and towels under it to prevent any further damage, the first step is to contain the leak. As water comes into the house it will pool under the ceiling until it can find a way down through a seam in the drywall or register. If the outlet is not big enough it will eventually find another, damaging a different part of your house. To keep this from occurring, poke or cut a hole where the dripping is and allow the water to flow into the bucket you already have set up. This may sound counterproductive, but it will actually keep the leak contained where you can catch it, rather than spreading.

Stop the Leaky Ceiling – Patch with Tar or Cement

Go into the attic if you have access and trace the stream back to the source, which may or may not be where the dripping is. Once you have found the source patch it on the inside with roofing cement or tape, either of which can be bought at your local hardware store. Once it stops raining, go up on the roof and using a trowel or putty knife apply either roofing tar or cement to the hole or crack and then place a shingle or piece of plywood on top of it. Apply more tar or cement around the patch to hold it.

Cover with a Tarp

If you are unable to pinpoint the exact tear or hole, or do not have access to tar or cement, another option is to minimize the damage with a large tarp or sheets of plastic. A tarp can also be used over top of the patch as an extra security measure. Again, wait until the rain has let up before going up on the roof to place the biggest tarp you can find or several sheets or heavy-duty plastic over the area. You will want the plastic to cover more than just the hole, so bigger is better. Make sure to start at the ridge and roll the tarp or plastic down over the affected area. Staple or nail the bottom of it to a piece of wood like a two-by-four to keep it from blowing away.

After you have made a temporary patch for the leaky ceiling, always call a professional like Roof Advance to come fix the problem permanently. Make sure to get the issue fixed as quickly as possible as a leaky roof can lead to all kinds or damage to your drywall, carpet, floor, furniture, and even eventually allow mold to grow. Roof Advance offers a free quote and quick service so your patch job won’t have to last through another storm.

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