Even minor roof leaks can cause huge problems. In addition to undermining the integrity of the roof itself, these issues can wreak havoc at the interior of the home. If you’ve recently identified a roof leak, you’ll want to have this patched as quickly as you can. Homeowners who are handy and comfortable mounting their roofs are often able to perform minor patch jobs on their own. To do so with acceptable results, however, there are several important things to consider first.
To start, you want to make sure that your roof leak isn’t a symptom of a larger problem. For instance, you may discover that your roof is subject to developing ice dams due to insufficient attic insulation. With ice dams, snow melt and rain water cannot effectively reach the gutters and exit the topmost portion of the building. Over time, these accumulations can wear through a roof and enter the home interior. While patching the affected area will prevent new water from coming in, to ensure that the benefits of your efforts are long-lasting, you’ll need to add more insulation to your attic or install insulation that has a higher R-value. This is just one of many examples of how roof leaks can be the result of other issues. Keep in mind that a simple patch job might not be all that your shingle roof needs.
How to Patch Your Shingle Roof Safely
Professional roofers have the equipment and training for working on all roof types safely and securely. If you have a simple, single-story home, patching your own roof won’t be a major challenge. However, if your home is a multi-story building or if the roof has steep slopes and deep valleys, you may want to consider passing this project on to a licensed roofing contractor.
To start this project off right, make sure that you have everything you need on hand. You can recruit a neighbor, family member, or close friend to act as your spotter. This is someone who can stabilize your ladder as you climb pack down. Your spotter can also pass you tools as you need them, and get help if you happen to fall or suffer any other injury. You should also have a:
- A tape measure
- A hammer and roof nails
- Replacement shingles
- Roof adhesive
- A flat pry bar
If you’ll be applying a patch that requires you to remove wood boards, you’ll need replacement boards as well. You can carry all of these things up onto the roof with you, or you can have your spotter pass them along as needed. One thing to note, however, that damages at the roof decking and the framing beneath it generally require professional attention. A DIY patch for a shingle roof is only an acceptable option when only the shingles themselves have sustained significant damage.
In addition to your roofing materials and tools, make sure that you’re properly geared up for the job. Put on a pair of safety goggles to protect your eyes, a durable pair of work gloves to protect your hands, and slip-proof shoes to help you maintain your balance. If the ground beneath your ladder or the actual roof surface is icy or slick, put the work off for a warmer day.
Once you’re up on the roof, start by identifying the exact location of the leak. You can test shingles with your hands, look for discoloration, or lift a few shingles up in the targeted area. This is also something that you can accomplish from the inside of the home by taking a measurement and then transferring this measurement outside. Use your flat pry bar to break the seal on the damaged shingle and then gently lift it up. Once its seal is broken, you should be able to remove any remaining nails by hand. With your pry bar, lift the shingle above it as well. Then, after you’ve cut your replacement shingle to fit the open space, slide this new piece just beneath the one above it so that the area is completely covered.
Place a small amount of adhesive at the corners of the new shingle and then press it flat. You can additionally coat each nail head with roofing adhesive before fastening everything back in place. Put a weight on top of your work so that the replacement piece remains flat while drying. Leave this weight in place for at least 24 hours. If your home needs its shingle roof patched and you want professional-quality results, we can help. Call us today at 913-850-6556.