How to Patch a Roof

Patching your roof or performing a partial roof repair may be an effective way to address a leak, storm damage, or a hole that’s been left behind by an unused furnace vent. If done correctly, this work can restore a compromised section of the roofing back to its former integrity. Although it might seem as easy as mounting your ladder and tacking a few additional shingles on, there are a number of important considerations to make before getting started. While some issues can certainly be fixed with a quick DIY repair, others may be connected to underlying problems that must be addressed as well. To ensure optimum results with any roof patch job, you’ll have to use the right patching method and materials for your roof’s needs. You’ll also have to thoroughly inspect your roofing to understand exactly what these needs are.

The most straightforward DIY patch projects are those that are purely aesthetic in nature. For instance, if discolored or superficially damaged shingles are detracting from the curbside appeal of your home, swapping a few of these out for new and unblemished ones will make for a short day’s work. However, if you’ve already got signs of a leak at the building interior or if the targeted area is bloated or bulging, you may want to consider calling professional roofers in. Patching your roof is only something that you should do if you can access the rooftop easily, and if the underlying substrate or wood boards are verifiably in good condition.

What You’ll Need for Your Patch Project For a Roof

It’s important to have a neighbor, family member, or friend acting as your spotter. This is someone who can help stabilize your ladder, hand you tools when you need them, and get help if anything goes awry. You should also be sure to don a pair of slip-proof work boots, durable gloves, and protective eyewear. Professional roofers use fall-arrest and fall prevention equipment to avoid work-related injuries. If you don’t have these things, avoid working on roofing at the second story of your home. Single-story homes that have accessible roofs tend to be the safest for DIY work.

Start by determining whether or not the comprised area is already the source of a serious and long-running leak. Roof leaks lead to discolored ceilings, discolored siding, and even warped siding just at the roofline. Test the roof surface in the affected area by pressing down on it. If it feels spongy and soft, this is an indication that you need professional roof repair or replacement services. Attempting to apply new shingles over rotted roof boards will only compound your problem. This can lead to mold both inside and outside of the home. Wood rot can also begin to undermine the integrity of the roofing substrate in other areas.

If you find a leaky area in time and start your patch work right away, you may be able to prevent further damages and return the roofing system back to good order. Section the suspected area off in small spaces so that you can test its integrity in manageable increments. Use your water hose to narrow down your target and pinpoint the exact location of the leak. Although it can be a bit more labor-intensive, you can alternatively use a pry bar to pull individual shingles off. Simply slide the pry bar under a shingle’s tabs and use a small amount of force to break the seal. With a bit more pressure, you can force the nails that hold a shingle in place to pop out. Once they’re at a grabbing length, these nails can be pulled the rest of the way out by hand. Stained paper and damp wood will highlight your target.

If the underlying tar paper isn’t damaged, you won’t need to remove it. Moreover, if there isn’t any wood rot in the area, let the affected section dry and then apply new shingles using roof adhesive and roof nails once the area is primed and ready. You can weight these shingles down for 24 hours using bricks so that they have ample opportunity to cure. However, if the tar paper and wood have been damaged, you’ll need to remove and replace these features as well. While it might seem easy to simply remove the wood section between the two nearest trusses and replace it with a nine-inch board, this won’t provide the sturdiest foundation. If someone ever walks on the patched section or if it’s ever forced to bear a heavy snow load, the entire area could collapse.

Always use at least a two-foot wide piece for roof board replacements. For optimum stability, you should choose a 4′ x 4′ piece for your work instead. When reapplying tarpaper over the finished wood replacement, always make sure that it comfortably overlaps the existing pieces by at least 12 inches. This will create a seamless, protective barrier. Finally, finish your work off by applying new shingles in the same pattern as the former ones, and with absolutely no gaps or spaces. Everything should be weighted down and allowed to cure for a full day before bricks or other weights are taken off.

If you’ve got a leaky roof and want professional-quality repairs performed, we can help. Call us today at 913-850-6556.