If you’ve even woken up to a steady drip-drip-drip coming from your ceiling, you know how much dread a leaky roof can cause. That’s because what starts as a little leak during a heavy storm can lead to serious damage to your home. If you notice these signs, it’s time to call a pro.

Contain the Leak

If you notice a leak, the first step you should take on your own is to contain it and prevent further damage. First, put a bucket under the drip. Then, though it seems counterintuitive, create a hole in the center of the leak. Puncture your ceiling with a screwdriver to allow the water to drain smoothly and prevent it from accumulating in pools around your ceiling. A small hole is much easier to fix than a collapse ceiling.

Casabella 4-Gallon Bucket available from Amazon

Your Roof is Ready to Retire

The lifespan of most roofs is 20 to 25 years. If your roof is in that range, leaks are probably caused from wear and tear over time. Call a professional to determine whether a full replacement can be postponed with some repairs, or if it’s time to invest in a new roof.

Find a local professional for roof repair or replacement.

You See Damaged Shingles

If you inspect your roof and find cracked shingles, they’re the likely culprit for the leak. A professional can replace cracked shingles, but if you notice many cracks or curling, you may need a full roof replacement.

Find a local professional to repair cracked shingles.

Your Ceiling is Water Stained

If you see water staining on your ceiling, you may have a problem with your gutters, downspouts, shingles, or flashing. A professional can diagnose the problem and replace any damaged components.

Find a local professional to prevent water staining.