5 tips for maintaining a roof

July 28, 2015

To prevent roof leaks and to stop roof leaks from becoming bigger problems, follow these five tips.

5 tips for maintaining a roof

1. Examining a roof

  • You don't have to climb up on your roof to check it out. Every spring and fall, go outdoors on a sunny day and examine your roof from ground level, using binoculars. Shingles with bare areas indicate that the granules on the surface are wearing away; look for loose granules in gutters or below downspouts. Watch these shingles closely for signs of future damage.
  • Fix any curled or cracked shingles.
  • Also, check for other roof problems such as crumbling chimney mortar and deteriorating flashing.

2. Look for leaks

  • Once or twice a year or anytime you see evidence of a leak (such as a stain on a ceiling or peeling paint), inspect the underside of your roof inside the attic.
  • Using a flashlight, check for watermarks left by a leak on rafters and insulation. A leak rarely travels in a straight line.
  • Even better, trace the leak when it's active during a downpour. When you pinpoint the source, mark the spot and measure the distances from there to the roof's peak and to an outside wall or chimney. Use your measurements to locate the problem's rooftop source.

3. Double up?

  • Even with the best care, you'll eventually have to re-shingle your entire roof. Should you add the new shingles over the existing ones? This can usually be done once, if your local building code permits, and you'll get a good-as-new roof and not have to pay for someone to tear off and dispose of the old shingles.
  • If you live in a heavy-snow area, however, you may not want to do this; the weight of snow over two sets of shingles may prove too much for the framing. Get expert advice from a local roofing professional.
  • To fix a small gouge in a shingle, clean the area thoroughly and apply a bead of silicone caulk. Then use this trick to disguise the repair: Rub together the top surfaces of two scraps of shingle above the blemished area. Granules will come loose and embed themselves in the fresh caulk, disguising the fix.

4. Repair a damaged shingle as soon as you can

  • If a shingle is partially lifted or curling, just glue it down with a dab of roofing cement under the corner.
  • If a shingle is torn, apply roofing cement under both sides of the tear and then press down firmly. Drive roofing nails around the edges of the tear and cover the nail heads with roofing cement.
  • Seal a hole smaller than a nickel or a crack less than one centimetre (half-inch) long with roofing cement. Fill an enlarged nail hole the same way, but first, drive the nail down below the shingle, using a nail set.

5. If the damage is more severe, replace it

  • Gently lift the shingles overlapping the damaged one and remove the nails from the damaged shingle with a pry bar. Being careful not to crack the good shingles, pull out the bad shingle. Slip a new shingle underneath the raised edges of the shingles above.
  • Use a hammer and the pry bar to nail down the new shingle. Angle the pry bar under the overlapping shingle, with the far end of the pry bar over the nail; with the hammer, drive the nail by striking the near end of the pry bar. This keeps you from bending the overlapping shingles too far up and cracking them.
  • Dab roofing cement under all the affected shingles. Press them down firmly.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu