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Facade's avatar

The hurricane is coming: help with a leaky ceiling?

Asked by Facade (22845 points ) August 27th, 2011

So our ceiling has a bit of water damage, and it’s just now started to drip. It’s raining here, but the hurricane has not hit full-force yet (we’re in NJ).

Aside from just putting something under the leak to catch the water, do you have any suggestions for us? =(

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34 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

If you can determine the entry point of the leak,there is a product sold at Home Depot (sorry,I don’t remember the name) that you can spray directly on the leak.That will require you to go in the attic and then on the roof.
Good luck

jrpowell's avatar

The risk of going up on the roof in the rain and wind to fix the problem simply isn’t worth it. Wait the 24 hours for the storm to pass and then worry about it.

AmWiser's avatar

Maybe leave while you can. You stated the hurricane has not hit full-force yet; well if it gets worse isn’t there a possibility of the roof caving in? I’m just sayin’. Please stay safe and don’t take unnecessary chances.

Facade's avatar

We live in an apartment complex, by the way

marinelife's avatar

Large blue tarps on the roof anchored down.

JLeslie's avatar

After the storm buy a tarp for the outside of the roof. Easy to find at Walmart, except that a lot of people might be buying tarps. Although, Jersey won’t get hit very badly, so maybe not many people will have a lot of wind damage. The good news is the weather is usually fantastic after a storm. It is like the storm sucks up all the bad stuff around it, so hopefully you will dry out a little and have some time to patch or tarp until you can get it fixed properly.

If you have a two story home, do the storm during high winds on the first floor, center of the house. The problem with a leak is it indicates a breach, and if wind gets inside it can pull the roof off. But, again, NC must be tearing up the storm (I haven’t watched the weather since this morning) I would assume NJ is going to get just a tropical storm?? Are you on the coast?

Meego's avatar

:/ do you own the apartment?

Facade's avatar

We’re renting and cannot get on the roof. we also have no attic.

Meego's avatar

YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO LOOK AFTER IT!!! WHERE THE HELL IS THE LANDLORD?? Arg.

Meego's avatar

P.S. If you have no access to either, roof, attic or landlord…I suggest a bigger bucket.
When the hurricane is done scream at the landlord and make them pay for any thing that is damaged that you own.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, I missed it is an apartment building. Oops. Are you on the top floor?

jrpowell's avatar

The best bet is to let it drip. If you manage to plug it up you have water collecting in the ceiling. That could bring the ceiling down.

I would actually make the hole a little bigger and possibly make a few more holes to make sure you don’t have 800 pounds of water above you being held up by wet plaster/drywall.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m thinking @johnpowell is making sense. Put a bucket under the drip, make multiple holes if the ceiling seems very wet.

Facade's avatar

@JLeslie Yea
@johnpowell My SO does not want to put a hole in the ceiling for fear of ramifications from our landlord. It’s hardly dripping, but the the ceiling is wet, so do you think it’s necessary to put a hole in the ceiling?

JLeslie's avatar

@Facade Have you tried to contact your landlord? A small hole is easily patched. Drywall is pretty easy to cut through. Is it a very old building? It wasn’t a commercial building before it was residential or anything like that right? No chance of asbestos right? You would have signed a waiver if there was asbestos, don’t panic or anything, you would know.

jrpowell's avatar

If you can see that it is wet there is a lot of water up there. Personally, I would shove a screwdriver into where the leak seems the worst. It is a easy fix to patch it up.

edit :: I am assuming that you have contacted the landlord and haven’t heard a response.

woodcutter's avatar

Wet drywall will pull off the nails holding it up and entire sheets may suddenly drop. I would move anything valuable out of that room in case it does. Cover furniture with plastic until the storm has passed. That leak has probably been there for some time or did the storm blow some of the roofing away

Facade's avatar

We got in contact with maintenance, and they said not to put any holes in the ceiling since we re renting and do not own the apartment, and to call back if it gets worse. So basically, we have to sit and wait. The maintenance guy also mentioned that it might be ok since the wind is picking up…

Meego's avatar

Did you explain you were extremely worried? This is dumb. What kind of place is this? I guess safety doesn’t matter. Put a hole then call them back and tell them it got worse.

JLeslie's avatar

Not sure exactly what the maintenance guy is thinking? He could be an idiot. Sometimes the rains die down a lot towards the eye, but not necessarily. I don’t know enough about this particular storm and what parts of it are going to be over your head.

CWOTUS's avatar

The ceiling is ruined wherever it’s wet, so there’s no harm in making the hole a little bigger to allow any collecting / collected water to run into your buckets.

Besides, no one will know but us jellies, and we’re not talking to your landlord. The maintenance guy knows nothing, either.

wundayatta's avatar

Are you on the top floor? What kind of roof do you have? Do you know what is above the ceiling that is dripping?

If you’re worried, call back and tell maintenance it is getting worse (which it surely is) and that it is ruining furniture or a rug or whatever is underneath it.

Do you have apartment insurance? If not, while it’s too late for Irene, you should get some. Just don’t stand to close to it incase it does come pouring down.

jrpowell's avatar

Here is what happens when you ignore a leak. Our leak was small and eventually it turned into nasty mold so I fixed the leak and ripped out all wet and moldy drywall. I still need to redo the drywall, sigh.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/john_powell/6087024285/in/photostream <—taken 10 minutes ago

My point is that your landlord/maintenance people are lazy. Make sure that shit gets fixed. 20 bucks says that once the rain stops they will pretend like there was never a problem.

Facade's avatar

@wundayatta We’re on the top floor, but I’ don’t know what kind of roof we have or what’s above the ceiling (I know that doesn’t help much). We don’t have apartment insurance, but it’s something to think about.

JLeslie's avatar

Apartment insurance is usually very inexpensive, definitely look into it when this mess over. The landlords insurance might cover some things if the damage is due to the storm.

jrpowell's avatar

My renters insurance is 7 dollars a month through State Farm. 25,000 in coverage and 500 deductible. It is totally worth it.

Brian1946's avatar

@Facade

Does your building have a flat roof?

YARNLADY's avatar

Move everything away from the leak/wet area in case the ceiling gives way, and cover as much as you can with plastic or tarps.

Be sure you document your calls to the landlord so he can’t blame you for not calling him.

augustlan's avatar

I know I’m a little late, but I definitely agree with poking at least one hole in the worst spot. Years ago, we had a leaky toilet upstairs and we just put a bucket under the dripping ceiling, called our landlord, and proceeded to have a party that was already planned. In the middle of the party, my kitchen ceiling came down. Not cool.

Brian1946's avatar

I agree with using perforation pressure release to prevent a major ceiling collapse, and what YARNLADY posted.

When you poke those holes, the water might not release through the holes in neat little streams. The released water might take some of the surrounding ceiling with it, and come down in comparative water falls.

Consequently, I would suggest using as large a receptacle as you can find to catch the water, get a back-up receptacle in case the primary can’t handle the whole load, and protect the areas around the receptacle.

If you have them, I also suggest inserting plastic outlet protector plugs into any unused electrical outlets.

Facade's avatar

Hey y’all… We made it through the storm; the ceiling barely leaked, but there is more water damage. A maintenance person should be coming soon to check out the roof. Thanks for all of your help!

AmWiser's avatar

Thanks @Facade for the update. Happy to hear you’re safe and all is well.:)

Brian1946's avatar

Now that Irene is up in Quebec, and if your building has a flat roof, I suggest that you ask building maintenance to ensure that the rooftop drains are free of any clogs or debris.

augustlan's avatar

Glad you made it through ok, @Facade! Thanks for keeping us posted. :)

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