Homeowner Roof Repair Tips
Keep your roof in tip-top shape with these smart maintenance and repair ideas.
A leaking roof can cause serious and costly damage to your house. Infiltrating water can destroy drywall or plaster, cause mold, and even rot framing. You should repair a roof as soon as possible after the damage occurs. Dealing with a damaged roof is sometimes a simple matter of applying roofing cement to an obvious hole; at other times you will need to spend time diagnosing the problem and calculating the benefits of repairs versus installing a new roof. This section will guide you through repairs for all types of roofs.
Fix a Leaky Roof
- If a roof starts to leak, determine whether it is worthwhile to make permanent repairs or whether you need to apply new roofing. Here are your choices:
- If the roof is basically sound with only one or two weak spots, the damage may have come from a falling branch or a particularly severe windstorm. In this case make permanent repairs.
- If the roof shows signs of general wear, making repairs will solve the problem only temporarily; other leaks will soon appear. Start planning a reroof.
- If you can re-roof soon but need a few weeks to plan and prepare, cover leaks with plywood or plastic sheets until you can start.
- If you need to wait a year or so, make permanent repairs now, such as replacing shingles. Inspect the attic after every rainfall and make further repairs or take steps to protect your interior spaces from water damage.
Identify Roof Problem: Even if you haven’t noticed a leak, it’s still important to inspect your roof every year for problems such as cupping, splitting, water damage, and more.
Replace Shingles & Shakes: If during your annual roof inspection you notice a few shingles or shakes that need to be replaced, fear not. This is a job most homeowners can manage without calling a professional. The first step is to locate replacement shingles or shakes—and hopefully you have some left over from your original roof installation. Then you’ll need to remove the damaged pieces, install new underlayment, and add the new shingles or shakes.
Vent an Attic: A roof must breathe or moisture from the air will be trapped in the attic, ruining insulation and leading to mold and rot. Ventilation is a key roof feature that is often overlooked. Vents help stabilize the air temperature between the attic and the roof. Without vents your roof would be much more prone to ice buildup in the winter, as no warm air from the attic would reach it.