How to Repair a Leaky Roof

How to Repair a Leaky Roof

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If you have water stains spanning your ceiling, or running down your walls the cause of that is probably due to a leaky roof but you already know that. The issue is how to fix it. Fixing a roof is a really intimidating task for some, especially if it is your first home or you have never taken on such a large home improvement project. Here are some easy ways to fix your roof yourself.

Find the Damaged Area

In order to fix the leak you have to know where it’s coming from. The first place you should check is the area directly above where the water damage is inside, especially if you have a flat roof. For those who have a slanted roof the damage could actually be higher on the roof, so also check higher than the area immediately above the inside damage in that case.

If you have an attic you should also inspect there with a flashlight to look for additional water stains, black marks or even mold. If the weather is mild run a hose along different sections of the roof and have someone inside let you know if or when any areas leak. Take a look to see if there are any shingles curled back, damaged or completely missing. This will help determine the extent of the repair needed.

Reattach the Problem Shingles

If there are shingles curled under this is a pretty easy fix, usually. If it’s cold weather the shingles will not be as pliable, so you will need to heat them up in order to uncurl them. This can be accomplished with a heat source like an electric blow dryer. It is suggested you do not use any heat source with an open flame as asphalt shingles may be flammable and excess heat may ruin the shingle. After the shingle is straightened out you can reattach it with a generous amount of asphalt roof cement or compound around the edges.

Replace the Damaged Shingles

If the shingle is crumbling, lifts right off the roof or breaks then it does need to be replaced and cannot be adhered to the roof. You can replace a shingle in a few easy steps

  • Lift up the old shingle and pry out the nails that attached it to the roof
  • Remove any debris or left over roofing cement by scraping the area under the shingle
  • Round the back corners of the new shingle with a utility knife, or similar tool
  • Slide the new shingle into place, and use appropriate roofing nails in each upper corner. Then cover the nail heads with roofing cement.

If there is only a couple damaged shingles then it may be an easy fix for someone who has completed home repairs or improvement projects regularly, but what if you have never taken on a task like this before? Or what you aren’t really sure how much damage has been done and you can see mold in your attic? Professionals are professionals for a reason. How can you know when it’s time to bring in one of these professionals? Like many home owners knowing you have to fix your roof can provide a lot of stress thinking about how much it’s going to cost, but if you address the problem early on you can prevent a small problem from turning into a large one, and the bill might not be as high as you think.

Here are some signs it is time to call a professional roofing company


  • Your roof has a lot of visibly cracked shingles – this could mean the water is leaking into your home from multiple places, and the repair might be too large for you as a homeowner to take on.
  • Your roof has dark stains on it – unless they are from algae or moss, as these tend to not be large issues but if there are unexplained dark areas you should consider talking to a roofing company.
  • Any part, or your entire roof is sagging – this can be a sign of structural damage and it’s definitely important to call a professional as soon as possible in this case.
  • You can see mold – this means that your drainage system is not working properly. You should clean out your eaves troughs at least once a year to keep water moving away from the house, but in some cases the damage may be done so you should call a professional if there is visible mold.
  • You just don’t feel comfortable taking on this task – and this is completely fine, you don’t need to do everything yourself. If you are experiencing water damage in your home at any time you can call a professional. They know how to handle these situations, and can tackle the issue for you.

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