Having the right equipment and know how to repair a leaky roof yourself can be not only a money saver but also prevent further damage to your home during times when professional repair is not possible. The information contained in this article pertains to asphalt shingles.
The first order of business is to locate the leak. This can be tricky since the inside location of the leak may not be directly above on the roof. Today's composition roofs are typically layered accordingly, rafter, sheathing, felt and shingles. Therefore, depending on the condition of the sub-structure, the water may be traveling an indirect route.
Identifying the source of the leak is the first order of business. Some obvious situations that cause leaks are tears or punctures to the roof shingles. These will be visible from the outside. Curled or dis-lodged shingles that allow rain to blow under them can also be responsible for a leak. Another less visible cause may be small openings in the metal flashing that is around chimneys, vents, roof seams, corners or angles.
To locate a leak start at the inside leak point. Then check the roof for damage in the general location of the leak. If this is not the problem, then tracing the leak inside is possible by looking for signs that water may be present. Stained ceiling or walls are signs the leak has another origin. If an attic is present, look for pin points of light where water might come through. If you see signs of light through cracks or splits, mark those by sticking a thin wire through the space. This will make locating it on the outside easier.
Wind or Curled Shingle Damage
For shingles that have been lifted by a high wind use a caulking gun and apply dabs of a quick-setting shingle cement. Once applied, press down on the shingle to spread the fixative evenly.
To replace a curled or damaged shingle, use a shingle replacement that is wind resistant and has adhesive applied to the upper part of the surface meant to slide underneath the shingles above it. Once the adhesive is heated by the sun, it will hold the over-lapping shingle in place.
Torn Shingle Damage
For shingles where the damage does not extend under the over-lapping shingles, try coating the underside of the damaged shingle with a roofing cement and then press flat to disperse the cement evenly. Next nail both sides of the tear with 1-inch roofing nails then cover both the nails and the tear with more roof cement.
Dos and Don'ts of Roof Repair
Don't work on a roof if you have an inherent fear of heights
Don't work in wet, cold or windy weather.
Do wear shoes with a slip resistant sole as well as loose fitting clothing for easy movement. But not baggy clothes that might get caught or cause tripping.
Do use a ladder that extends above the roof line.
Do have a helper that can steady the ladder and get your tools and supplies as needed.
Do use a special roof ladder on a steep roof. These hook over the ridge and help provide a secure foot and hand hold as well as more evenly distributing your weight.
Ladder(s) Pry Bar Putty Knife Hammer Caulking Gun
Extra Asphalt Shingles Thin Wire Roof Nails Roof Caulk Roof Cement Flashing Cement
Eliminate repair and help stop damage before it occurrs by following a preventative maintenance schedule. This includes checking and replacing the sealant along flashing every few years as well as checking for damaged shingles before they can cause any damage inside.