Are you suffering from roof leaks? Or have you noticed missing or damaged roof tiles? Fixing your roof yourself might seem like an impossible challenge. However, with the right know-how, fixing a roof yourself will seem as easy as any other household DIY job. Read on to learn the ins and outs of roof repairs.
What Are the Signs That a Roof Needs Repairing?
It’s usually pretty noticeable when you need to repair your roof. Visible signs on the exterior of your home, such as broken or cracked shingles or damaged flashing, are obvious signs. When these protective membranes break, you know there is an issue.
Similarly, internal signs are easy to spot. A leaking roof is hard to miss. If there are water stains in your roof space or attic, you know there is a problem. Mould, mildew, dampness, and internal condensation are all signals you need to perform a roof health check.
However, not all roof problems are so obvious. If you haven’t noticed a leaking roof, dampness, or damaged shingles, your roof might not have an issue. You should pay attention to your energy bills, air quality, and internal temperatures. Sudden increases in energy costs and fluctuating temperatures might signify that your roof needs repairing.
The Most Common Types of Roof Repairs
Every homeowner will likely need to complete roof repairs at some point. The most common roof repairs are:
- Roof leaks
- Damaged shingles
- Damaged flashing
- Punctures and roof penetrations
- Clogged gutters
The sooner you repair a leaky roof or damaged shingles, the better. If left, minor issues can cause significant damage. For instance, you might think a clogged gutter is relatively harmless.
However, when your gutters fill with leaves, twigs, and other debris, it blocks draining water. It might seep through weak roof sealant and cause water damage if left on your roof.
Repair or Replace?
While most leaky roofs are quick and easy to fix, you might find roof leaks that cause significant damage. Sometimes, you may need to decide whether replacing the roof entirely is better. Such cases are extreme – typically, you won’t need to replace the roof deck for one roof leak.
Generally speaking, if the repair area is in just one place, you only need to repair that element. For example, if the vent pipes are broken, you can just fix these. On the other hand, if there is further damage to surrounding shingles across the roof, you may need to consider a new roof entirely.
Whether you need to replace or repair your roof is not always clear-cut. If in doubt, consult a professional roofer for an expert opinion.
Materials to Fix a Roof
Fixing a small leak or replacing missing shingles is relatively simple. If you think you’re up to the job yourself, you’ll need suitable roofing material and tools. You should find most things you need at the hardware store.
- Flat bar
- Utility knife
- Putty knife
- Caulk gun
- Roof sealant
- Hammer and roofing nails
- New shingles
- Roofing cement
- Aluminium flashing
Roof Repair Safety Considerations
The most essential element of any DIY job is your own safety. If you’re unsure about climbing up to fix a leaking roof, enlist a professional roofing contractor.
- Wear rubber-soled shoes – a good rubber boot will ensure you don’t slip when up high
- Use a stable, sturdy ladder
- Only climb onto your roof in mild, dry weather conditions
- If you can complete the repair from within your attic, do so
How to Repair a Leaking Roof
So, you want to repair your roof leak yourself. DIY leaky roof repairs are relatively quick and straightforward, especially if you catch the problem early.
1. How to Find Roof Leaks
You may have a leaky roof if you have noticed water stains or dampness in your attic space. Firstly, you need to find the roof leak. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious where the leak comes from. If you don’t see drips, watermarks may just cause frustration.
To find roof leaks, start by looking up from the water. Roof penetrations are the most common causes of leaky roofs. Penetrations include plumbing, roof vents, chimneys, or anything else that projects through the roof sealant.
2. Small Leak Solutions
Small leaks are the easiest to repair. Once you find the source of the damage, assess what materials you will need to repair or replace the roof surface. For instance, if your roof flashing around the chimney has torn, all you need to do is replace that stretch of flashing.
Firstly, remove shingles around the flashing where the leak appears. You only need to remove neighbouring shingles – not the whole roof. Take out the roof nails holding the materials in place. Remove the old flashing and replace it. Then, put back the shingles and other roofing materials.
3. Examine Roof Vents
As mentioned, penetrations are the most common causes of roof damage and leaks. Therefore, you should perform regular health checks on your roof vents and other penetrations to ensure they are in good shape. Vents might crack or get dislodged. Or, you might find missing or loose nails. It’s best to tackle these issues early rather than wait for further damage.
4. Fixing Asphalt Shingles
Heavy rain, wind, cold weather, and other factors can break shingles. They might loosen and fall from the roof. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to fix or replace shingles. Firstly, climb up to the roof space and extract the broken shingle and surrounding mortar. Remove nails and mechanical fastenings and the surrounding shingles.
Then, install a new roof shingle with mechanical fastenings – dry fix roofs last longer and require fewer repairs than traditional mortar.
It’s important to repair small roof problems before they cause extensive damage. Minor roof leaks might not seem urgent but can quickly grow and cause costly repairs down the line. If you doubt your ability to maintain your roof, consult a professional roofer to do the job.