How to Repair Leaky Roof


Even a small leak in the roof can cause considerable damage, and it should be repaired at once.

The first step in patching a leak in the roof is to locate its position. This can be done from the attic, provided the ceiling is unfinished. The best time to find a small leak, of course, is during a rain. If the work must be done in fair weather, have someone pour water on the roof in the general vicinity of the assumed leak. Once the opening has been located from the inside, push a thin piece of wire through it to locate the position from the outside.

Don’t take for granted, however, that the leak is where the water drips from the attic ceiling. It may be that the water is penetrating at a higher point on the roof and flowing along rafters before dripping. Trace along the wet portions of the rafters until you find the point of entry. If the leak is a large one, you may be able to locate it by closely inspecting the underside of the roof, noting where light appears. If the attic ceiling has been covered with wallboard or other finish, you will have to remove it before locating the leak.

How to Repair Leaky Roof  Leaky Roof

WOOD SHINGLES

If the roof is covered with wood shingles, probably the leak is there because a shingle has split or warped out of shape, or because a shingle nail has rusted and the shingle has slipped out of place.

Do as little tinkering with the shingles as possible, for you may do more harm than good. If the shingle has split but is still held securely, slip a piece of copper or tar paper under it. This will seal off the shingle from the under portion of the roof and stop the leak. If the shingle is loose, push it back into position and nail it with a shingle nail driven into the exposed portion of the shingle; then coat the top of the nail with roofing compound.

If the shingle is badly split, or is rotting, you will have to replace it. Remove the old shingle by splitting it lengthwise and removing the pieces. Slip a new shingle, the same width as the old, into place and nail. If possible, use a shingle that has been weathered, for it won’t be as sharply apparent as a new one.

COMPOSITION

You should repair leaks in composition shingles in the same manner described for wood shingles. Composition shingles usually come in sections consisting of three or four shingles, called tabs, linked together at the end.

Tar paper slipped under the shingle where the leak occurs will give satisfactory service for a long time. A compound can also be used on these shingles. Some composition shingles are so light in weight that a strong wind can force them up enough to drive water underneath. If such shingles are causing the roof to leak, lift them enough to apply a coat of roofing cement to the under portion.

How to Repair Leaky Roof  Repair Leaky Roof

SLATE

Slate shingles are found in some regions of the country, especially on older homes. They are very brittle and will break unless handled with care. Most leaks in roofs covered with this material will occur when one or more of the shingles become loose.

To make repairs you must first remove the defective shingle. This is rather difficult, as the nail holding the shingle to the roof is covered by the shingle above. Cut the nail by inserting a hacksaw blade under the shingle and working it back and forth until the nail is severed. When you have removed the old shingle, attach a strip of noncorrosive metal to the wood portion of the roof. This strip should be several inches wide and long enough to extend at least an inch below the end of the shingle. Insert the new shingle into position and bend the end of the metal strip to form a hook which will hold the shingle in place.

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Related posts:

  1. How to Replace Roofing Shingles
  2. How to Repair a Lean-to Roof
  3. How to Repair Roof Leaks
  4. How to Stop a Roof Leak
  5. How to Control Roof Leaks

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance

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About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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