Re-roofing a house is a major undertaking and should be handled by a roofing professional in most cases, but minor maintenance and repairs are doable by skilled DIYers. The most common roofing problems homeowners can solve themselves are minor leaks and broken shingles. We’ve shared some DIY tips as well as safety information below.
Minor roofing leaks are most often caused by a torn shingle or shingles or a small hole in the flashing. The most obvious sign of a leak in your home are water signs running across your ceiling. The hardest part of a roof leak is finding the source, the rest is pretty simple. Small leaks can lead to greater problems such as mold, rotten wood, or insulation issues so its key to find and fix it quickly.
The first step to finding the source of the leak in your roof is to look at your roof uphill from the stains for any penetrations. Penetrations can be anything that projects through the roof itself such as plumbing or roof vents and chimneys. The leak is typically right above the penetration or to the left or right of it. If your house has an attic, the best way to look for the leak is to search for evidence such as water stains, mold, or black marks in the attic itself with a flashlight. If you are having difficulty finding the source of the leak, get on your roof with a garden hose while someone else is inside the home looking at the ceiling where the water marks are noticeable. Keeping track of the roof section by section, run the water over the roof for an extended period of time while the person inside looks for the water vapors on the ceiling. This option takes time and patience, but it will give you at least an area to inspect even closer for the leak.
Once you’ve found the source of the leak, look in the area for any damaged, curled, or missing shingles. With curled shingles, simply straighten them back out. During the cold months, a blow dryer is the best tool to assist you in heating up the shingle in order to be able to straighten it correctly. The blow dryer won’t damage the shingle or cause a fire hazard. Once the curled shingle is straightened, apply asphalt roof cement or compound around the exposed edges. If the shingle lifts easily out or breaks or crumbles, then it needs to be removed, to remove the shingle follow these steps:
- Scrape any leftover cement from where the old shingle was
- With a utility knife, round the back corners of the new shingle
- Place the new shingle in place and hammer in 1 1⁄4 inch (3.2 cm) galvanized roofing nails into the upper corners. Finally cover the nail heads with roof cement.
If none of your shingles appear to be damaged, inspect connecting surfaces on your roof like your chimney or vent pipes. If there is any damage to the caulking around the connecting surfaces, reapply where necessary.
- Using a putty knife, remove the old caulking so your new caulking can attach cleanly to the roof or flashing.
- Clean and dry the area.
- Place the new caulking around the same line where the old caulk was previously. Let it dry.
If larger repairs exist, the flashing around your chimney, etc. may need to be replaced entirely.
If your leak is only present during the winter months on warmer or sunnier days, then this is most likely due to an ice dam and is in need of professional assistance. To learn more about ice dams and how to prevent, click here.
With over 20 years of experience, EMA Construction’s qualified roofers are able to advise you on any roofing issues, big or small. If you are ever unsure of your roofing skills or unable to find the source of a leak in your home, do not hesitate to reach out to a professional for assistance. Feel free to call us at (513) 278-8362 or email us with any of your roofing concerns.