How to Repair a Leaking Roof
How to Repair a Leaking Roof
The roof is literally at the top of any homeowner’s maintenance list, and they’re subject to lots of wear and tear. Fortunately, you can mend minor issues without the help of a professional. Once you’ve tracked down the leak, replace damaged shingles or shakes, patch tears in flat roll roofing, or seal any joint gaps. While many fixes are relatively simple, it’s best to call a roofer for widespread damage, signs of structural problems, or if your roof is over 20 years old.
1- Check for roof damage above watermarks on the ceiling
If you haven’t already tracked down the leak, trace the water damage inside your home. If you have an attic, head up there with a flashlight, and look for water stains or mold. Note the location of any evidence you find, then inspect the corresponding spot on the exterior of your home.
- If your roof is slanted, inspect areas that are higher than where you’ve found interior evidence of a leak. Water enters the leak then, due to gravity, it gets into the attic at a point farther down the roof’s pitch.
- If you have trouble, run a hose for 1 to 2 minutes along different sections of the roof. Have a person inside alert you when they spot water
2- Inspect your roof for widespread wear and tear
Look for curled, cracked, or missing shingles at the leak site, and evaluate your roof’s overall condition. See if there are numerous failing or missing shingles, wide gaps where roofing material meets vents or a chimney, and other signs of widespread wear and tear.
- Repairing 1 or 2 shingles and resealing minor gaps are relatively easy fixes. However, patches of failing shingles and widespread wear are signs that your roof needs to be replaced, especially if it’s over 20 years old.
- Additionally, if you find widespread rot or mold on your roof boards or trusses inside your attic, you might have structural issues that require a professional roofer.
3-Straighten and reattach curled shingles
Over time, the corners of asphalt shingles often begin to curl. Carefully smooth out any curled-back shingles, then use a caulking gun to apply a dab of roof sealant under the raised corners. Press the shingle down, then use a trowel to cover the shingle’s edges with roof cement.
- Shingles are pliable in warm temperatures. Since they’re brittle in colder weather, you might need to soften a curled shingle with a blow dryer. Don’t use a heat torch or any heat source more intense than a blow dryer, or you’ll damage the shingle.
4- Repair a clean crack with a roof sealantThere’s no need to replace a shingle with a clean tear. Instead, apply a thick bead of roof sealant under the crack with a caulking gun. Press the shingle down, then apply another bead of sealant over the crack. Use a putty knife to spread the top bead over both edges of the crack.
To disguise your repair, look around the roof and in the gutter for accumulations of asphalt granules. Collect a small amount, then sprinkle them in the sealant to match its color to your shingles.
5- Replace broken or missing shinglesIf part or all of a shingle is missing
head to the hardware store to find a matching replacement. To remove the broken shingle, carefully lift the edges of the shingle above it with a pry bar. Use a hammer to remove the nails at broken shingle’s 4 corners, slide it out, then scrape the area beneath to remove any leftover roofing cement.
If necessary, use a blow dryer to make the surrounding shingles more pliable. After removing the old shingle, use a sharp utility knife to round the back corners of the new shingle; this makes it easier to install.
Slide the new shingle into place, gently lift the shingle above, and drive 1 1⁄4 inch (3.2 cm) galvanized roofing nails into the new shingle’s corners. If you removed any nails that secured the shingle above the broken one, replace them.
Finally, use a trowel to apply roof cement over the nail heads and edges of the new shingle.