Earlier this week we talked about a few of the things you should do if the rains are getting into your house. Let’s dig a little deeper!

A 10-year storm creates over 3 inches of rain in a 24-hour period of time. The storm that Portland experienced on December 2nd and 3rd had 3.85 inches of rain in a 24-hour period of time.

It’s not a thrill to notice water coming down an interior wall or finding it dripping into a light fixture or off a beam. It’s frustrating (even scary) to look up and see a dark stain on the sheet rock ceiling or worse yet a bulging, ever growing area that looks ready to explode at any minute.

What is a homeowner to do?

Here are some steps you can take to take to minimize the damage and save you some heartache, money, and a mess.

  1. Protect the floor from getting wet. Have yourself a 10×10 tarp in the garage that you can grab quickly and put it under the wet zone. You never know what coming, it’s like a flash flood, you should expect the worse and appreciate the best. After you have put the tarp down then put a bucket or a large pan to directly catch the water.
  2. You should grab a flashlight and a large bowl or pan and head for the attic. Some homes have two-attic accesses or more. It depends on style and size of the home. Smaller homes usually have just one garage access. When you go into your attic make sure you only stand on the wood rafters and not the sheet rock that makes up your ceiling. A narrow 4 ft by 2 ft piece of plywood can help you traverse your rafters. Either way what you’re looking for is where the water is coming from. Sometimes you will find that a leak is uphill from the actual drip. Put a drip catch in place and give us a call so we can come out to find where the hole is in the roof. It’s a good idea to watch the leak for a few minutes so you can describe the size of the leak. In very severe storms, we try and get to the biggest volume leaks first which of course are creating the most damage.

What if I have a open beam or vaulted ceiling with no attic access? And what about a skylight leaking?

  1. Tarp the floor
  2. Set out a water basin and give us a call.

What if I have a bulge in my sheet rock, what do I do?

  1. You really don’t want to touch the sheet rock or you could get a face full of some very nasty water.
  2. You should prep the floor with a tarp and get the bucket or pan ready. Then find an ice pick or a sharp pencil and put a very small hole in the center of the bulge.
  3. Turn the pick or pencil as you push it into the sheetrock so it will penetrate and release the pressure. By doing this you will minimize the damage and expense of the leak.

Why is my roof leaking now when it’s never leaked before? (This is my attempt to help you feel better, because everybody asks that exact same question).

  1. If a builder put on your roof as the home was built and you live in the greater Portland area, your roof was not engineered or installed for extreme weather conditions. Anytime, depending on the circumstances, when we get severe weather, the water will find its way in. Your only true defense is a custom-engineered and installed roof will that handle good and bad weather. (Even with a builder-installed roof, you may never have a leak it all. It depends on the direction of the storm surge and the design of your home. Some of you may never have a leak issue even though your roof is considered a standard install. That is one of those things you end up giving thanks for when the storms arrive and your home stays dry.
  2. Over a year’s period of time, a roof can collect enough tree debris in the drain areas of the roof, that when a moderate to heavy rain comes, water is diverted horizontally and in doing so, it finds a way into your home. This happens no matter what kind of roof you have. On tile roofs with closed valleys, silt and decaying matter builds up under the tile in the metal valleys causing a diversion. It seems like the leak comes out of nowhere.
  3. In high wind situations, a piece of diversion metal can be blown off the roof. If this happens in a vital area, water can find its way into your home.
  4. Cracked pipe flashings and air vents can also be responsible for a water intrusion. Just as Les Schwab Tire Stores try to explain to you why and how your tire blew, these flashing sometimes fail at the worst time. (Have your roof checked every five years to minimize what might fail at the wrong time).
  5. Your home has weather walls (the walls facing south and west) that take most of the beating as the weather storms come to Portland. These walls wear out 2-3 x’s faster than the other 2 or 3 walls. Before they fail, the siding will show signs of wear. (Cupping and curling, horizontal cracks in the paint, and the caulking is no longer in place in the mid field joints or the corners of windows and doors).

How do I get rid of my newly acquired stain in my sheet rock?

  1. After getting your roof leak fixed, it’s time to get rid of the stain in your sheet rock. If the water leak hasn’t caused repairable sheetrock damage and only left a stain, the fix can be simple.
  2. After the sheet rock has dried get a spray bottle and some bleach, cover the carpet and furniture with a sheet and lightly spray the sheetrock’ about 6-9 inches away.
  3. Do not try to touch the sheetrock or wipe it as that will really mess up the finish. If the stain doesn’t come out in five minutes reapply till the dark stain disappears.

Who do I call to repair my sheetrock?

  1. In Portland, Oswego Drywall is the only company I would use for sheetrock repair.

What about the insulation getting wet behind the sheetrock? What about harmful mold and mildew forming in my attic or walls from my roof or siding leak?

  1. Most small leaks caused by storms will not affect the insulation or cause mold and mildew to form in the ceilings or walls.
  2. Leaks left to leak again create an environment where a lot damage is a sure thing.
  3. You as a homeowner should have the exterior of your home, roof, siding, gutters, and windows inspected often to lessen the likely hood of undetected leaks causing very costly issues.

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