4 important steps to patching a roof

Have a leak in your roof? Here are four steps to take to fix the problem.
Wait — didn’t you just have this roof redone five years ago? And now there’s a leak? Have a look first to see what's up. Chances are it may just be a small patch job that you can take on yourself. If you’re game to do it, here are four steps to take to patching your own roof.

  1. Pinpoint the problem. From the inside first, approximate where you think the problem on your roof is —then climb up on top of your roof to have a look. If the problem corresponds, then you may be in luck. What you’re looking for are shingles that look “off”— they’re curled, cracked, ripped, or even missing. But don’t just look at the asphalt shingles. Check your roof’s flashing (the metal that protects your roof from leaking, which you can find at corners and angles), to see its state.
  2. Get your supplies. Look for roofing cement to glue down curled corners. If shingles are missing, you’ll want new ones along with roofing nails. Talk to your local hardware store about the problem and see what they recommend in terms of products to fix the job. If shingles need to be removed to be replaced, you’ll need something to help pry them loose and scrape off the cement that kept them in place.
  3. Prepare your shingle. If you need to trim it to fix the area, do so. Slide it into place making sure it’s aligned with the other shingles. Then using your nail gun, nail the shingles in place — one nail in each corner.
  4. Seal it up. Cover each newly installed nail head with roof cement and check the edges to see if they’re smoothed down.

Note: This process applies to sloped roofs only. If your roof is flat, you have a few different steps, starting with:

  1. Brush off the area. Get rid of any particles or other debris that’s in the way of your patch job.
  2. Use primer. Apply a good layer of primer to the part that needs fixing, ensuring that you also brush it onto areas around it.
  3. Trim a patch. Pick up a self-adhesive patch and cut it to size. Apply it to the damaged area, making sure it overlaps slightly onto the healthy areas of the roof.
  4. Smooth it out. Use a roller to ensure the patch will stay in place.
4 important steps to patching a roof
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