So it’s happened: you’ve got a leaky roof, and you need to get it fixed.

Usually, this is just an annoyance—it rains, the roof leaks, you call the repair company, they come and patch it up, done. But sometimes, that leak can be so bad that it feels more like a full-blown emergency. If your leak is coming down in buckets instead of droplets if the water’s coming through multiple spots in your ceiling instead of just one, if it seems like every time, it rains your roof’s going to implode… well then buddy (or gal), you’re gonna wanna get that thing fixed ASAP.

That said, I know what you’re thinking: “I’m already stressed out enough! How can I possibly add anything else to my plate?” We get it—life’s complicated enough without having to deal with a water-logged roof. But that’s why we’re here: to take some of the guesswork out of how to handle an emergency roof repair situation. Here are five steps for dealing with a seriously damaged roof when all you really want to do is curl up under a blanket and never leave again.

1) Call a Roofing Contractor:

The first thing you’ll want to do when your roof needs emergency repair is to find a roofer you can trust. We know that this will be hard to do on short notice, but it’s important that you get someone out there as soon as possible to assess the damage, so don’t wait around too long! Ideally, you’ll have a contractor in mind before disaster strikes, so you can just call them up and get help immediately. You might also consider hiring a contractor for an annual inspection, so they can keep an eye on your roof and identify potential issues early. That way, if something does happen, you’ll already know who to call!

2) Get in Touch with Your Insurance Company:

It’s easy to forget about your homeowner’s insurance when you’re not thinking about home improvement but having home insurance is one of the best ways to ensure that if something happens to your home, you’ll be able to pay for the repairs (or whatever else happens). For example, if a tree falls on your house and damages your roof, then you’ll want to make sure it gets repaired quickly so that other parts of your home don’t end up getting damaged too. The last thing anyone wants is mold or water damage in their home because they didn’t get their roof fixed right away!

3) Remove Your Belongings:

Before you do anything else, get your belongings out of the damaged area of your home. If you have a leaky roof and it’s raining, move any furniture, electronics, or other items that could be damaged by the water. You may need to use buckets to catch the drips and move them to a safe place. If you have any important documents or media stored in the area, try to remove them safely and take them somewhere dry.

It only takes a few minutes for water damage to become permanent; if you don’t have time to move everything away from the leak, focus on what’s most valuable or irreplaceable.

4) Get To a Safe Location:

If your roof has sustained damage due to high winds or fallen tree branches, it’s not safe to stay inside your home. If possible, get outdoors and wait for emergency services to arrive on the scene. If you can’t safely get outside, move to an interior room with no windows or skylights and huddle in a corner with your back braced against the wall. Make sure family members have their cell phones turned on and are able to text you if they’re in another room so that you’ll know they’re okay while you wait for help to arrive.

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