This Article is About
home improvement center
asphalt shingles
rubber soles
proper footwear
roofing contractor
massive damage
repair bills
step foot
serious money
Leaky Roof? Fix It Yourself!
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Leaky Roof? Fix it Yourself!

A leaking roof can be one of the most detrimental things to happen to your home. Left unchecked water from even a small leak can cause massive damage. Mold,rot and even collapsing ceilings can result in huge repair bills and even worse personal injury. There is hope though,in most cases you can repair these pesky leaks and save yourself some serious money.

First things first. Before you get on your roof to start your investigation make sure you:

  1. Read and understand your ladders safety instructions.
  2. You are completely comfortable working on your roof.
  3. Use all available safety measures possible,including safety ropes.
  4. Never ever step foot on a wet roof !
  5. Where the proper footwear.(Rubber soles)

This article only pertains to roofs with asphalt shingles. If your roof has torch down,glue down,or pitch call a licensed roofing contractor. These repairs can be extremely dangerous and require special techniques to repair properly.

So now that thats out of the way lets find that leak. Start with the obvious,are there any torn,broken,or missing shingles?If so this will be a quick repair. In all of these cases you will need to replace the shingle or shingles.If you have spares you're in business. If not no problem you need to go to your local home improvement center and pick up as close of a match as you can. While your there pick up a couple tubes off roof repairing caulk (tar),and a pound of 1 1/4" galvanized roofing nails. Step 1 with a flat bar remove what's remaining of the shingle. Step 2 cut shingle to size with a utility knife if necessary. Now slide the replacement shingle under the existing shingle that is above. If this effort is met with resistance you may need to pound the old nails down from the old shingle. To do this slide your flat bar under the shingle above, and on top of the old nails and tap the flat bar threw the shingle above. I realize that this may seem complicated but its not. You'll see what i mean. Step 3 Nail the new shingle in place. Do this by lifting the shingle above and nail as far up the shingle as possible. Step 4 tar the under side of the shingle above and the new shingle at there lowest edge (just a nice 1/8" bead of roofing caulk will do.)Step 5 press the shingle down to set the roofing caulk. Step 6. rejoice and take a vacation with the money you just saved by not replacing your roof.

The second place to look if there is no obvious shingle damage, are the penetrations. Penetrations are anything that sticks out of the roof. Stink pipes,chimneys,skylights,or vent caps can all be guilty of letting water into your abode. Inspect any penetration closely for cracking or splitting sealant. Focus on the tops and sides of the penetrations. Also push and prod below them to see if there is any give or sponginess. To repair simply cut out the old sealant and recaulk. Also caulk any exposed nail heads you can see. If the sealant around any of these penetrations is hard as a rock,chances are its bad too.

Still can't find the leak? Grab a hose and call a buddy. It's time to water test. Have your buddy stay inside where the leak is showing. You are going to start wetting the area at the eave slowly working your way up the roof.When I say slowly I mean s l o w l y. giving the water time to work its way through. when your pal notices anything have him notify you and turn the water off. Take note of this area and return to repair when the roof is dry. You will inevitably find a small hole or cut in the area you tested. Simply use the same roof caulk and fill the damaged area. Special note when water testing plan your ladder placement so you don't have to walk on the wet roof to get down.

So it really is easier than you think. The hardest part about repairing your leaky roof is finding the leak. keep in mind that leaks usually come in pairs. Be thorough,take your time and you could save thousands.


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