Roof Repair Fundamentals – How To Fix Your Leaky Roof



Roof repair is costly business. It is also specialized work. That’s why many homeowners think about hiring a professional when a roof needs maintenance. And most roofs will start leaking sooner or later.

However, if you’re something of a handyman or are wondering if there wasn’t a way to save some money by learning to do it yourself, then here’s a short guide to repair the most common roof leaks by yourself. You can do it using materials that can be purchased from a local home improvement store.

But before you get going, here’s a word of caution. This is a general article, not a ‘how to’ guide for you in particular. If you are not the DIY kind of person, or have a fear for heights, or just aren’t careful enough around tools, then trying to follow this approach can be harmful to your health or even endanger your life. Hire a roofing contractor and supervise the job instead. You have been warned!

What Are The Common Kinds of Roof Repairs?

Leaky roofs are caused by an astonishingly short list of common problems. This list includes:

  • Loose or lost shingles
  • Leaks in pipe flashing
  • Chimney or skylight flashing
  • Valleys of the roof
  • Ice dams building up
  • Low pitch (non-sloping) roofs

The first step is to correctly identify why your roof leaks. Some problems are complicated and you’re better off hiring a roofing contractor for the job. Some leaks are so major that roof repair is no longer an option and you’ll have to replace the entire roof. However, try your best to have it repaired because you can postpone the more expensive replacement to later.

Some roof repairs are impractical or impossible. A low slope roof with a pitch less than 12″ really cannot be repaired to fix leaks permanently. In the same way, if there are major ice dams on the roof, anything you try by way of roof repair will only be a temporary solution that’s bound to break down until the root cause is addressed.

The cost of roof repairs varies widely depending upon how much work will be needed on the roof. Other factors are the quality and kind of roofing material you plan to use, the part of the country where the building is located, and the professionals you hire to help with the job. An online roofing calculator may help give you a good roof estimate.

How To Repair Roofs With Missing Shingles?

Replacing asphalt shingles is relatively simple. The roof repair job requires pry bars and a hammer as well as a tube of roof cement or caulking. The first step is to pull out nails that were first used to hold the roofing shingles in place. Four nails generally hold each shingle, and the ones in overlapping shingles will also pass through it. A pry bar is used to pull them out.

Using the pry bar, the tab of the shingle just above the one needing replacement is lifted up and the nails removed. This temporarily frees the shingle to be slipped out. The new shingle is slotted into the space and nails hammered back in to hold is securely in place. If the tabs are damaged while pulling out nails, the new nails must be hammered in at a different spot on the shingles. The nail holes are finally sealed with roof cement. Sealing any spaces between the replaced shingle and the others above and below is also a good idea.

Safety is of high concern if you’re doing it yourself. A ladder stabilizer bar can prevent a ladder from slipping left or right, making it easier and safer to get on and off the roof. Steep roofs are best left to professionals, as it requires roofing fall protection systems to ensure safety.

Please understand that all this roof repair information is purely for reference and is NOT personal advice or guidance. We do not assume any responsibility for the consequences or injuries sustained by following it!

How To Repair Leaking Pipe Flashing?

Stink pipes need special flashing to keep them from leaking. When the rubber gasket around it dries out, or was wrongly installed, the roof will leak around the pipe. Sometimes the pipe will crack and that’s the reason for a leaky roof.

For leaky pipes, applying an elbow around the pipe will solve the problem. Other flashing issues require a more involved roof repair job which is better handled by a roofing contractor.

Safety Tips for Roof Repair

  • Work on sunny days. Rain or snow can make the roof slippery and dangerous.
  • Take sufficient safety measures. Use safety ropes.
  • On steep roofs, make sure there is ladder framework to keep the ladder secured.
  • Rubber soled shoes give a good grip on the roof and provide traction.
  • Power lines must be identified and avoided during roof repairs.


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