4 repair tips to make your roof last

Your roof has an important job and deserves to be treated well. The good news is it really demands very little to do the work it does. Here's how to tackle common roof-related problems to make your roof (and in turn, what's under it) last longer.

4 repair tips to make your roof last

1. Kill moss

  • If moss has accumulated on your roof, treat it with zinc sulfate, which is relatively safe around plants and comes in granules for dry application.
  • Follow the directions on the package.
  • You'll find it at hardware stores and home centres. Note that zinc corrodes copper, so don't use it if you have copper gutters and roof flashing.

2. Using roofing cement

  • If roof shingles are beginning to buckle, start saving up for a new roof. If only a few are buckled, you can stave off the need to replace the roof by sealing them down with roofing cement.
  • The cement comes in caulking tubes. Just squirt some cement under the buckled area, and press the shingle down.
  • You might need to keep the shingle pressed down with a brick or similar weight until the cement cures.
  • Work on a warm day so the shingles will be flexible and the cement will flow easily. Otherwise the shingles might crack when you press them down.

3. Try sheet metal

  • If part of an asphalt shingle has fallen off or is badly damaged, you can fix it quickly with a piece of sheet-metal flashing.
  • Use tin snips to cut the metal to size so that it will slide under the damaged shingle and also be overlapped by the adjoining shingles.
  • Put roofing cement on top of the flashing, and slip it under the damaged shingle.

4. Repairs for flat roofs

  • Because water can collect on them, flat roofs are more prone to leaks than sloped roofs.
  • The leaks are usually caused by water seeping under the edge flashing.
  • If the cracks are thin, a generous coating of roof cement will usually solve the problem.
  • Very often, leaky flat roofs can be patched, adding several years to the life of the roof.
  • Patching a flat roof is a messy job that you might not want to take on yourself.
  • Before you let a contractor sell you a new roof, make sure he has explained to your satisfaction why patching is not an option.
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