Shingle Roof Repairs – How To Fix The Most Common Problems With Shingle Roofs

The old joke about how to cure a sick race horse (“shoot it”) would probably be similar to asking a roofing contractor how to fix most of the common shingle roof problems; he would probably reply “new roof”.  Asphalt-based roofing will eventually wear out, but fortunately for roofs (and horses!) some problems can be fixed.

Should you attempt your own shingle roof repairs?  Contacting a professional roofing contractor will be essential if any of the following factors apply:

  • The roof is steep-sloped, pitch more than 25 degrees
  • Your roof is over 24 foot above the ground
  • You have a health condition, for example heart problems
  • You have a fear of heights
  • You have limited experience in DIY (do-it-yourself)
  • You do not have up-to-date building insurance (check your coverage) or you do not have building insurance

Shingle roof repairs – common problems that usually cannot be repaired:

  • Shingle granules excessively worn – roof needs replacing
  • Shingle tabs fraying or curling – are an aging or deep-rooted problem
  • Rafters or trusses with sagging between them – this is structural and re-shingling won’t fix it.
  • Damage caused by adverse weather conditions – call your building insurance company.

Roofing safety precautions must be followed if you decide to do your own shingle roof  repairs. Some shingle roof repairs you CAN consider doing are:

A few missing tabs or shingles caused by wind damage
Minor tears by tree-branches that have not punctured the plywood

Shingle roof repairs – How to repair wind damaged roof shingles:

First, measure three tabs on your roof.  36 inches is the US (imperial) standard, and 39 1/3 inches (one meter) is the metric standard for shingles.  To aid purchase, take a sample tab to your supplier to get the best match.  It will be best to work out the quantity of shingles needed as you will be required to buy at least one bundle (equivalent to three tabs).

To remove the adhesive under each tab use a basic pry bar (such as Stanley’s Wonder Bar, which is ideal).  Start above the problem area and raise the tabs to expose the damaged shingle.  Insert the pry bar under the damaged shingle’s tab – under each nail and pry nail out.  Do the same in the shingles above it so you can release the whole shingle.  Replacement shingles should be nailed down and tab cement used to seal new tabs from colder weather.

Shingle roof repairs – How to repair leaks caused by worn out flanges:

In preparation take measurements and/or a photograph to your supplier and purchase a new flange in advance.  Follow the procedure as above to remove the worn out flange and nearby shingles.  The lowest ones should be replaced first, and the replacement set in tab cement. Then the next rows using more cement as you go, under the shingles and next to the cut out (using a hook-blade knife to repeat the old cut-out).

Shingle roof repairs – How to repair leaking where the roof meets a wall:

Although this involves step-flashing, you can re-use the existing flashing.  Replacement can involve removing siding or masonry work and if the shingles are overlaid by flashing, a professional may be required to do the work.  If not, each piece that abuts the wall should be removed as described above.  Proceed from the top down, and where the old flashing is being re-used, install new shingle cuts from the bottom, up, adding tab cement under each piece of step flashing as you go.


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