What If Your New Roof Starts Leaking?

Matt Marandola
Written by Matt Marandola
Reviewed by Ami Feller
Updated February 25, 2022
Modern house with black roof
Photo: U. J. Alexander / Adobe Stock

Leaks in your new roof are typically covered by a warranty

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The whole point of getting a new roof was because your old roof was leaking, so it’s a little frustrating when you see your new one doing the same. Leaks in a roof can cause water damage in the attic and throughout your ceiling, leading to mold build-up. Not to mention if you just got a new roof, you probably weren’t expecting to deal with this issue all over again.

Luckily, you can do these seven things when your new roof starts leaking to get the problem addressed ASAP.

1. Remove Items From Around the Roof Leak

Clear away items like furniture, clothing, and photos from the area where you notice the leak.  This process may also include getting up into the attic and removing those items until the leak is at least temporarily fixed.

If the leak is near electrical outlets, then you should cover those up with outlet plugs. You may also need to cover the outlet with a plastic grocery bag, tarp, or anything that will prevent water from splashing into the sockets.

2. Place Buckets Underneath the Leak for Now

Bucket being used to catch water from leaking roof
Photo: Motortion / Adobe Stock

For the leak itself, you can use buckets to collect the water until a pro can come to address it. Collecting the water can also help you to determine how much water is coming through the leak. This step can help your insurance company determine the severity of the problem.

As the bucket fills up, dump this water outside, as there’s a chance that the water could contain pieces of the roof itself or insulation from the attic. By disposing of it outside, you ensure you’re removing these materials from your home.

3. Take Photos and Videos for Insurance Purposes

From the time you notice the leak in your new roof to the point of someone coming to fix it, take pictures and videos of the affected area. Having photographic proof ensures both the insurance company and the roofing company know the extent of the problem. These will also help the roofing company pinpoint where the problem is originating from and how to go about fixing it.

4. Find Where the Roof Leak Is Coming From

If it’s possible, head to the attic and see if you can find any signs of light coming through the roof. These spots can usually indicate the source of a leak. Take note of where the holes are located inside, and then you can even head to the roof if it’s safe to do so and you feel comfortable.

Make sure you’re wearing non-slip shoes while on the roof to avoid slipping and falling. If your roof is at a steep angle, do not try to walk on it. Be sure to always work with a buddy. In many cases, it’s best to leave the job to the pros to prevent an injury.

If you do decide to go on the roof, locate the area where the leak is and take pictures of the damage. If you’re having trouble finding it, you can consider running water over the roof to see an area where it’s draining (have someone inside looking for any water that drips through). Do not try to put anything in the hole where the leak is, as this could make it worse.

5. Contact the Roofing Company That Installed Your Roof

Now that you have an idea of where the leak is located, get in contact with the local roofing company you worked with. If the damage was from the work of the roofing company itself, such as not properly securing shingles, improperly flashing a penetration, or forgetting to nail down certain shingles, then it’s likely covered under warranty. This warranty only applies if a licensed roofer installed your roof, though.

If the damage was from the roofing manufacturer, for example, poor shingle adhesion, then you’ll be utilizing their warranty instead. This warranty process could push back the repair time, as manufacturers often have a list of roofing contractors with which they work.

6. Get In Contact With Your Home Insurance

If there was significant damage to other areas of your home, you should get in contact with your home insurance for anything not covered by the roofing warranty. This can include anything from furniture to appliances.

They’ll more than likely want pictures of the damage, and they may need to send out someone to audit the damage. If a roofing contractor caused the damage, the repairs may be covered by the contractor’s liability policy.

7. Don’t Put Off Repairs

The last thing to do is to wait out the repairs. Unfortunately, if the leak happens in spring and summer, you might have a longer waiting period for the repairs, as this is a busy time for most roofing companies. If you do have to wait a bit for repairs, you should ask the contractor to tightly fasten a tarp over the damaged area to keep water out. 

Once pros finish up the repairs, make sure you take pictures of the after results. This way, you have them for your records in the unlikely event that the problem happens again.

Dangers of Leaving a Roof Leak Unattended

While a tiny leak may seem more of a nuisance rather than a worry, leaving it unattended can lead to future damages. Over time, a slow drip can break down wood in the attic or even collapse a ceiling if the water isn’t draining properly. It also creates a damp environment that makes mold easy to grow in.

Take care of yourself and your home by calling your roofing company ASAP to get the problem under control.

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