Licensed | Bonded | Insured
Licensed | Bonded | Insured

How to Stop a Roof Leak in the Rain: Expert Tips and Techniques

Share it on
how to stop a roof leak in the rain

Table of Contents

Nothing can disrupt a cozy rainy day indoors like a sudden roof leak. Discovering a stream of water trickling from your ceiling is a moment of dread and helplessness. 

Do you wonder, How to stop a roof leak in the rain? Don’t worry; we have you covered. 

To stop a roof leak in the rain, identify the source find internal leaks, clear debris from the area, apply roofing tar as a temporary sealant, cover the area with PE plastic for extra protection, replace damaged shingles if necessary, use tarpaulins for large sections, ensure all joints are sealed, and monitor the roof repair often to ensure the leak has stopped.

How To Stop A Roof Leak In The Rain – Detailed Guide

Imagine it’s a rainy day, and you spot water dripping from the ceiling – a sign of a roof leak. It’s alarming, but don’t panic. 

The first step is to find where the water is getting in. Clear the area on your roof of any debris or obstructions. 

A temporary solution, like applying waterproof roofing tar, can help seal the leak. Adding a layer of PE plastic provides additional protection. 

If you discover that old or damaged shingles are causing the leak, replace them. For larger areas, consider using a tarpaulin as a protective cover. 

Crucially, check all seams and joints to ensure they are sealed correctly. Once the rain subsides, inspect your work. 

If the leaking has stopped, your emergency leak repair move has been successful. Remember, these are temporary fixes; you should seek professional help when possible.

Read Also:

Causes of Leaky Roofs

Leaky roofs can be a nightmare for homeowners. Understanding the root causes of these leaks can be the first step in effective prevention and repair.

  • Weather and Environmental Conditions: The external conditions to which your roof is subjected play a critical role in its integrity. Storms, high winds, and hail can cause immediate damage, while long-term exposure to sun, rain, snow, and ice can lead to deterioration over time.
  • Roof Age and Deterioration: No roof lasts forever. The aging process brings about wear and tear, leading to cracks, loose tiles, or worn-out shingles, which eventually cause leaks.
  • Poor Installation or Maintenance: If the roof is not installed correctly, or if regular maintenance is overlooked, even the best materials can fail prematurely.
  • Damage from Wildlife or Fallen Objects: Animals and falling objects like branches can cause physical damage, often leading to leaks.

Signs of Roof Leaking

Identifying the signs of a roof leak early can save you from substantial damage and repair costs. Let’s discuss the major indicators:

  • Visible Water Damage or Water Stains: Water stains on your ceiling or walls are the most common and easily identifiable signs of a roof leak.
  • Drips or Puddles Inside the Home: If you notice any unexplained puddles or consistent dripping from the ceiling, it’s time to check your roof.
  • Mold or Mildew Growth: The persistent dampness from a roof leak can promote the growth of mold or mildew both inside and outside your home.
  • Damaged or Missing Roof Shingles: If your roof shingles are broken, curled, or missing, they might be the culprit of the leak.

Different Methods to Stop Leaks in the Rain

There are numerous ways to tackle a leaky roof; some offer a temporary solution, while others provide a more permanent fix.

  • Temporary Fixes VS Permanent Solutions: Quick fixes are usually intended to minimize the immediate damage caused by the leak, but they are not a long-term solution. A comprehensive repair after the rain subsides is necessary to ensure the issue does not recur.
  • Overview of Common Materials and Tools: Common materials used for quick fixes include roofing tar, polyethylene plastic, new shingles, and tarpaulins. The tools needed typically include a ladder, trowel, safety harness, and protective clothing.

Step-by-Step Guide to Stopping a Roof Leak in the Rain

Roof leaks can become apparent during rainfall, but you can take steps to mitigate the damage. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Find the Source

Identifying where water is getting in is crucial. The leak source on your roof usually aligns with where water stains or damage appear on your ceiling or walls. It might be a challenge during heavy rain, but it’s the starting point to control the situation.

2. Clear the Area

Once you’ve pinpointed the leak source, safely access your roof, if possible, and clear the area of any debris, leaves, or potential obstructions. Ensure you’re wearing appropriate safety equipment to avoid slip and fall accidents in wet conditions.

3. Apply Roofing Tar

For a temporary quick fix, waterproof roofing tar can be a savior. Apply it generously around straight edge and over the leak area. This gooey material will seal the opening and repel incoming water, mitigating the leak’s impact until a permanent fix can be made.

4. Use PE (Polyethylene) Plastic 

In addition to roofing tar, cover the leak area with a sheet of PE plastic. This acts as an added barrier against rainwater. Secure the plastic sheet well to withstand wind and ongoing rain.

5. Install New Shingles

If your inspection reveals old or damaged shingles as the leak’s culprit, they may need to be replaced. Temporarily, you can slide a sheet of metal or plastic under loose shingles or the compromised shingle to divert water away from the leak.

6. Use Tarpaulins 

When dealing with leaking roof with extensive damage, a tarpaulin or heavy-duty plastic sheet can be your best bet. It can cover a larger area of the roof, providing temporary protection against rain until more permanent repairs can be made.

7. Seal Joints

Leaks often occur at the joints, edges, or where the roof meets the chimney or vent pipes. Make sure all such seams and joints are properly sealed.

8. Stop Your Roof Leak

After the rain stops, revisit your work. Check the previously leaking area during the next rainfall. If there’s no more water leaking out, your emergency repair has been successful. Remember, this is a temporary fix, and a thorough inspection and repair should follow when the weather clears up.

Prevention of Future Roof Leaks

Prevention is always better than cure. This adage holds for roof leaks too.

1. Regular Maintenance and Inspections

Keeping an eye on your roof’s condition can prevent many leaks. Schedule regular inspections, especially after severe weather events and before the rainy season. Look out for signs of damage, loose or missing shingles, and wear and tear.

2. Professional Repairs and Installations

While DIY fixes can save the day, nothing beats the assurance of professional work. Hiring professionals for repair work or new installations ensures the job is done correctly, with appropriate materials and techniques. This can significantly reduce the likelihood of future leaks.

3. Dealing with Potential Leak Causes

Many roof leaks can be attributed to external factors like overhanging tree branches, clogged gutters, accumulated leaves, or other debris. Proactively addressing these issues can save you from future roof repairs. Trim overhanging branches and clean gutters regularly to prevent water buildup.


Handling a roof leak in the rain might sound like a daunting task, but with the right information and a bit of courage, it can be managed effectively. 

However, these quick fixes are temporary solutions and shouldn’t replace professional repair work. 

Once the weather clears, it’s crucial to have your own roof repaired, inspected and the damage properly addressed.

More importantly, to avoid facing a similar situation in the future, regular maintenance and inspections of your roof are crucial. 

Stay proactive in your approach and remember – taking good care of your roof means it will take good care of you.


What materials do I need to stop roof leak damage from a roof leak in the rain?

To stop a roof leak in the rain, you’ll need essential items like roofing tar, PE plastic, possibly new shingles, a tarpaulin for larger areas flat roofs, and tools to clear debris and apply these materials.

Can I use roofing tar to stop a roof leak during rainfall?

Yes, roofing tar is a waterproof material you can apply to the roofing tar patches the leak area as a temporary measure to stop the leak during rainfall. However, it’s a temporary solution until a more permanent fix for internal leak can be done.

How can I identify the source of a roof leak during heavy rain?

Identifying the source of a roof leak during heavy rain often involves looking for water stains or damage on your ceiling or walls. The leak source on your roof usually aligns with these interior signs.

Are there preventative measures to avoid future roof leaks during heavy rains or rainfall?

Yes, regular maintenance and inspections, professional repairs and installations, and proactively dealing with potential roof leak damage from causes like overhanging branches or debris can effectively prevent future roof leaks.

Take your learning further with RMC Roofing & Construction, where we delve into aspects such as:

#1 on for Best Roofers in Albuquerque

5 Years in a row!

Call Us Now!