5 easy and practical DIY roof repair tips

July 22, 2014

If you don’t want raindrops falling on your head inside the house, it may be time for DIY roof repairs. Check out these five tips for do-it-yourselfers.
When you are in your home, the only place you want water falling on your head is in the shower.

Water seeping through the roof causing damage is a major headache. Some types of roof damage can be solved by dedicated DIYers. Others require the expertise of a professional roofer. For example, if there is extensive roof damage with multiple leaks, your own repair isn’t holding, or the repair generally is beyond your abilities, then it’s time to call in the cavalry.

In most cases, simple damage can be addressed by weekend roof warriors. Here are five easy repair tips:

5 easy and practical DIY roof repair tips

1. Locate the source of the leak

This can be easier said than done. The first sign of a leaking roof is usually water stains on the ceiling. Use a ladder or work from the ground with binoculars to see if there are any curled, cracked, or missing shingles. Also know that leaks can be found at points where shingles butt, where caulking and flashing have been damaged, or through end caps and tent-shaped shingles. Check around the chimney for any loose materials, as well as for wear around chimney pipes and vents.

2. Flatten curled shingles

You can flatten and secure curled shingles by applying a coat of asphalt roofing cement with a brush, or using other adhesive compounds in a caulk gun. Hold down the shingles’ corners and edges as you do this to ensure they don’t lift up again.

3. Replace damaged, rotten, and missing shingles

To remove a damaged shingle, raise up the edges of the surrounding shingles and remove its nails with a hammer or pry bar. The shingle should then slide out. Slide in and align the new shingle with those on either side and fasten it with galvanized roofing nails (make sure you hammer one in each corner of the shingle).

4. Reseal chimneys and dormers

Using a caulking gun and roofing cement, you can stop the leaks that sometimes occur around chimneys and dormers, resealing the joints of the metal flashing.

5. Remove the old roof

If you decide that you need professional roofers to replace your entire roof, then you can facilitate the process by removing the old roof shingles yourself. Some contractors might be inclined to leave the old roof in place and build a new one on top of it. But with the roof cleared, you and the contractor can really inspect the decking and other areas for structural damage, which can cause you grief and cost you money down the road.

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