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Utah weather can do quite a bit of damage to your roof. So, when you see a leak, the surest solution is to call in the help of a professional. However, this can take time, and you still have to deal with water trickling, or pouring, into your home.

What Happens with a Leaky Roof?

Water damage is one of the most pressing issues to a home. It can be slow and insidious in its attack but have deep and far-reaching effects, or it can quickly overwhelm and flood your home. Either way, our Utah flood clean up specialists say leaks can translate into big water damage and lead to several potential problems, such as:

Weakened structure

When water gets into your home, the structure will begin to absorb it. Water seeps into the wooden or stone foundations that support the house and it begins to wear away at them. Wood and plaster become warped and brittle, flaking away or cracking under the weight of the building. When left untreated, this water damage will cause the foundations to collapse, taking your home and everything inside with it.

Mold and mildew growth

Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments. When water seeps into your home, it gives mold spores the best chance to take hold and spread. Mold and mildew spread fast, quickly burrowing deeply into any porous surface. From there, it will weaken your home’s structure and threaten your family’s health. Mold spores in the air affect peoples’ lungs and pose greater threats to those with allergies.

Temporary Fixes for a Leaky Roof

When you first notice that you have a leak, you will likely find yourself stuck in the unenviable position of having to wait for a roofer to come out and take a look.

At some times of the year, particularly during the autumn or winter, cases of roof damage or leaks skyrocket. This often means that professional roof repairers face an extensive backlog of work. In the meantime, your leak will continue to wreak havoc. And the longer you leave it, the worse the damage will be later. Therefore, you need to step in with a temporary solution while you wait.

Remember, though, that none of these are permanent solutions; they will only tide you over until a professional roofer can come and fix the issue.

First step: When You Find a Leak

Start with placing a bucket or bowl beneath the leak to catch any water that has already gotten in. For a wooden roof, it should be easy to see the source of the leak, but you may need to follow the dampness to find it. For angled roofs, the water may be seeping in at one spot and draining to another where it pools, so it’s important to identify where the water is entering.

In some cases, such as with papered or painted ceilings, the water will pool and create a bulge as it weighs down against it. This needs to be drained, as the trapped water will create additional weight against the ceiling that could potentially cause it to collapse. Cut a small hole into the centermost point of the bulge to allow the water to drain out freely. When the excess water is gone and you have identified the source of the leak, you will be ready to apply the temporary fix.

Use Tarps

Tarps are easily available at any hardware store and are almost completely waterproof. Furthermore, tarps are lightweight and highly flexible, making them very easy to store for emergencies.

Depending on the size of the leak, a tarp should be more than enough to cover it. You’ll have to measure the size of the hole or damaged area to determine what size of tarp to buy, but once you have those dimensions, choosing will be easy. All you have to do is secure the tarp in place over the leaking area.

However, the downside of using a tarp is that they need to be secured flat against the roof. Water can easily slip under the edges of your tarp if it is not secured tightly using waterproof tape or other type of adhesive. They are also unsightly, but given that this is a temporary solution, you won’t have to deal with them for long.

Note: It’s best never to use nails to attach anything to your roof unless you’re a certified roofer. Nails make holes that can cause additional damage and may just void your roof warranty.

Use Plastic Sheets

Similar to tarps, plastic sheets are a great option for laying a temporary fix on your leaking roof. Plastic sheeting works the same way as tarps – meaning you will need to secure them down with tape for a sealed covering, but they have one advantage over tarps: their size.

Plastic sheeting will be a much more ideal solution if your roof has a leaking area that is more extensive than most tarps. Plastic sheeting can be bought in rolls, allowing you to cut pieces to size and shape you require. Moreover, they can be layered more easily and disposed of after.

Tar Paper

Tar paper is a heavy-duty sheet imbued with tar to make it waterproof or water-resistant. When it comes to leaks in your roof, this can be easily stuck in place over the affected area, assuming it isn’t a wide-open hole.

You can also apply it by spreading roofing cement or caulk over it so the paper is underneath your roof’s shingles. This will keep the leaking area from allowing more water in until your chosen professional can come to repair the damage.

Patching with Roofing Tape

For much shorter-term fixes, roofing tape adheres to the underside of the roofing material on your home. It patches the hole much like applying regular tape would but cannot hold as long as a tarp or sheet can. This is because the adhesive nature of the tape will quickly lose its hold. You can easily replace it if this happens, but you may need to do this multiple times, depending on how long the tape stays in place.

When your roof is damaged and begins leaking, it’s critical to seek a Utah flood restoration specialist after the professional repairs are done. While you wait for a roofer, however, you can mitigate the amount of water damage you’ll need to clean up later. Depending on the size and extent of the damage, there are many ways to hold off the incoming water. Use the above measures to temporarily fix a leaky roof and give your home’s structure more protection against water damage.


A leaky roof requires fixing as soon as possible. Calling professional roofers is given, but you still have to do your part especially when they can’t come as soon as they want. Temporary fixes for a leaky roof should be done even if you have no experience in roofing. Here are some simple things you can do to temporarily patch up a leaking roof.

Temporary Fixes for a Leaky Roof Infographic