How to Temporarily Stop a Roof Leak

An unexpected roof leak can happen anytime, and is usually detected once the ceiling becomes saturated and begins dripping inside the roof. Though you can put off repairing the leak until the weather clears up and you gather the necessary materials, you must cover the leak as soon as possible to minimize water damage.

Step 1

Identify which part of the roof has formed a leak. For example, if the ceiling inside your house has started dripping near the front door, you can assume the damaged part of the roof is located above the front door.

Step 2

Position a roll of plastic over a wood plank, then staple the plastic’s end to the wood, which will serve as a weight. Put a second plank on top of the first one so that the plastic is sandwiched between them. Nail the second plank in place using wood nails and a hammer.

Step 3

Position a ladder near the house where the roof is damaged. Have a friend or neighbor hold the ladder steady while you climb to the room. Once you’re on the roof, have your friend hand you the roll of plastic that is connected to the two wood planks.

Step 4

Toss the wood planks over the peak or eaves of your roof so that they are overhanging by approximately 4 feet. Unroll the plastic and stretch it across the part of the roof that is damage. Roll the plastic off the opposite side of the roof so that it is on the ground.

Step 5

Get off the roof by climbing down the ladder. Cut the plastic roll, then stack the loose plastic to the ground by hammering it into the ground with tent stakes, or by tossing something heavy on it, such as logs. Keep the plastic in this position until you can repair the roof to prevent water damage.

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