Roof Leak Repair – How To Repair a Leaky Roof

Roof leak repair is usually urgent, even an emergency.  Localized roof damage like cracked or missing shingles or shakes, or a blistered or cracked area on a flat roof can cause leaks, but sometimes it can be years before the entire roof needs replacing.  The hardest part of repairing damage caused by leaks is locating the leak.

Roof leak repair – Repairing shingle roofs:
They are usually easy to repair.  At the leak stain mark, inspect for damaged, curled or missing shingles. Inspect every place where surfaces meet, around chimneys and vents – look for breaks in the flashing or caulking and gaps in the lines of roof cement.  If the shingles or flashing in the leak area don’t shown any sign of damage, you may have to contact a roofing professional. Deterioration of the shingles or inadequate flashing may be the cause.

Repairs are fairly simple if evidence is found of shingle damage.  Compound for caulking guns or asphalt roof cement can be used to reattach curled back shingles, which can be easily straightened out in warm weather.  They need to be softened before they can be flattened out in cold weather, which makes them brittle. This can be done by the careful use of a propane torch with a flame-spreader nozzle applied gently to the curled edges just warm enough to soften, but not to catch fire, then flatten them.  Apply roof cement to the bottom of the shingle at each corner to reattach, and press firmly into place.  Shingles that can be raised up off the roof with no effort are rotten and need replacing. Torn and missing ones should also be replaced – they (and rotten ones) should  be replaced with new ones.

A whole new roof may be required if a large area of rotten shingles is found – this is the stage when a roofing professional should be consulted.  If not, the shingles left over from the previous roof installation can be used for replacement.

Roof leak repair – Replacing damaged shingles:

Step 1:  Damaged shingle needs to be removed by raising edges of neighboring shingles and using pry bar to carefully remove nails.  Slide out old shingle, and if there’s any brittle or loose cement left behind, scrape clean. When shingles are blown off by adverse weather conditions, removal of any protruding nails in the roof is necessary.

Step 2:  Slightly curving the back corners with a sharp utility knife will make it easier to slide the new shingle into place.

Step 3:  With the front edge aligned with shingles on each side, and back edge under shingles in the row above, slide the new shingle into the space provided.

Step 4:  Raise the corners of the overlapping shingles.  Use 6d galvanized roofing nails, hammered through each corner to fasten the new shingle in place.  Nail heads should be covered with roof cement, then the overlapping shingle edges smoothed down.

If the shingles are not damaged, or after replacing damaged shingles, the chimney, vents or vent pipe flashing should be inspected, as well as any line of roof cement where two surfaces meet.


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