Emergency Roof Repair 101: How to Protect Your Home

Fallen tree on top of roof

Severe storms can inflict massive damage to a home, especially a roof. Once your roof has been damaged, it's critical to act fast. As a homeowner, there are some steps you can take to minimize damage until a professional arrives and performs a permanent solution.

What qualifies as an emergency roof repair?

Any damage that is immediately noticeable after a storm and is causing problems qualifies as needing emergency roof repair.

Steady leaks, large areas of missing shingles, fallen trees, and hail impacts are all examples of damage that should be remedied as quickly as possible.

Common causes of emergency roof repairs:

  • Winds exceeding 50mph
  • Tree limbs piercing roof structure
  • Lightning strikes
  • Fire
  • Damage caused by animals
Regardless of the cause of the damage, it’s important to have a plan of action in place until a professional roofing contractor arrives on the scene.


Find the right emergency roof repair contractor

What can I do to minimize damage until I can have my roof repaired?

tarp over roof

1. Wait It Out

First and foremost, don’t panic. The damage is done, and climbing up on your roof alone could put you in danger or exacerbate the problem.

Don’t rush on top of your roof to inspect for damages. Wait until the weather improves and it’s safe to inspect any areas you think have become damaged.

Despite heavy storms, there may not be much damage, so avoid putting yourself at risk.

2. Look at Your Roof

Once the storm has passed, inspect your roof for damage. The need for emergency repair will be noticeable from a distance, so start the inspection process from your yard first.

If you don’t see anything but still suspect a problem, carefully climb up on the roof for a closer look. Always exercise extreme caution on wet roofing surfaces.

3. Do What You Can in the Meantime

Temporary repairs can be used to halt the spread of water damage until professionals arrive. Use patches, rubber sheets, sealants, tarps, and duct tape to perform fast-acting repairs.

If water is coming inside the home, control the spread of water the best you can.

One of the best ways to temporarily treat an emergency roof repair is to cover the roof area with a plastic tarp...

1. Measure the tarp and double check that it’s wide enough to cover the entire damaged area and that it is fit to use outdoors.

2. Cover the damaged roofing section, and pull the tarp tightly to smooth it out.

3. Nail down the four corners and along the edges to form a temporary, water-repelling shield.

4. Cover the nail heads with roofing cement.

If you can access the roof safely, do your best to remove any standing or stagnant water from the roof. Pooled water hints to structural damage, and the longer the standing water sits, the more likely it is to seep through the roof and leak into your home.

4. Call the Pros ASAP

When large storms roll through an area, roofing contractors receive high volumes of requests, so it’s crucial to:

  • Contact your insurance provider and a qualified roofing contractor ASAP
  • Do whatever you can to mitigate damages until they can provide professional repair solutions

Document the damages with photos and videos, and keep copies of all paper work from the roofing contractor and insurance provider. 

A word of caution: "Storm chasers" will attempt to capitalize on large-spread damage and impatient, fearful homeowners. Do your research and choose your roof repair contractor wisely.


Are there ways to save money on emergency roof repairs?

You can cut costs when making the initial repairs by borrowing tools and equipment you don’t have, instead of buying materials.

When hiring a professional roofing contractor to handle a more permanent repair, there are a few ways to potentially cut down on your cost.

Put off repairs if you can

If your area is suffering the aftermath of a severe storm, roofers’ prices will most likely be at a premium due to high demand. While price gouging is never ideal, roofers who handle high volumes of emergency repairs work extremely long hours—up to 18 hours a day in some casesso consider their workload before balking at high price increases.

If your repair situation can be put off for a few weeks, or even a month, repair costs will go down. If you choose to wait, do all that you can to prevent further damage.

File an insurance claim

If the cost of repairs is much greater than your insurance deductible, you may wish to file a claim with your insurance company.

This may lead to higher premiums in the future but is contingent on your insurance provider.

Shop around

Always get at least 3 estimates from qualified roofing contractors before hiring anyone. Comparing prices and experience will allow you to choose the best roofer for your needs and avoid overpaying.

How do I hire the right roofing contractor?

removing tree branches from roof in winter

Emergency roof repairs should be left to the best roofing contractors available. Don't be fooled by storm chasers or pressured by slimy salesmen. 

Hometown Roofing Contractors is one of the easiest ways to find the best local roofing contractor for the job. There, you can read company profiles, see what other customers have to say about their services, and request quotes from as many roofers as you'd like.

Find a qualified emergency roof repair contractor