Fixing leaking roofs

If you notice that your roof is leaking, you need to immediately find a solution to resolve the leakage because in a very short time it will cause big problems to your house. Roof leaking normally are caused by localized damage such as cracked or missing shingles or shakes, and a blistered (normally happen on a flat roof). Always take extra precaution whenever you are working on a roof such as try to do the task on a sunny day when it is completely dry, use safety ropes for your safety, use a ladder framework for secure anchoring especially on steep roofs, wear rubber-soled shoes because it provides the best traction on a roof and last but not least always know the location of your house power lines when you start to work on a roof. Below are some of the steps to enable you to repair leaking roofs.

What you need:

Repairing Shingle roofs

  1. Pry bar
  2. Scraper
  3. Replacement shingle
  4. Utility knife
  5. Propane torch with flame-spreader nozzle
  6. 6d galvanized roofing nails
  7. Hammer
  8. Asphalt roof cement
  9. Trowel

Repairing Flat roofs

  1. Utility knife
  2. Clean rags
  3. Propane torch with flame-spreader nozzle
  4. Safety goggles
  5. Asphalt roof cement or compound
  6. Trowel
  7. 6d galvanized roofing nails
  8. Hammer

Repairing Wooden Shake roofs

  1. Hammer
  2. Chisel
  3. Hacksaw
  4. Electrical tape
  5. Tape measure
  6. Replacement shingles or shakes
  7. Galvanized roofing nails
  8. Coping saw
  9. Vise
  10. Nail set
  11. Caulking compound


  1. First of all, you have to determine the location and look for signs of a roof leak from inside of your house such as water entry, stains or mold and starts to take action on how to control the damage before you start to do the inspection and repair work from outside or roof top.
  2. If your shingles are curled-back, you can reattached it either by using asphalt roof cement or compound it in tubes so that it can be use with a caulking gun. The curled shingle can easily be straighten if the weather is warm, but in cold weather the shingles become very brittle and must be softened before you can flattened it out. You can also use a propane torch with a flame-spreader nozzle to soften a brittle shingle, but always be extra careful when using this method and after the shingle has soften, you can start to flatted the edges of the shingle. Attach the shingle back to its position using roof cement at its corner and press it firmly into place.
  3. In order to remove one or two damaged shingles, you have to lift the edges of the surrounding shingles and carefully remove the nails with a pry bar. Slowly slide out the old shingle and clean up all the loose or brittle roof cement under it. For easier installation and sliding of a new shingle, you can slightly round the back corners of the new shingle using a sharp utility knife.
  4. After that, you can slide in the new shingle into gap with its front edge aligning with shingles on each of the side, while its back edge should be under the shingles in the row above it. Then, you need to lift corners of overlapping shingles and fasten the top of the new shingle using 6d galvanized roofing nails that you can drive it through each of its corner. Next, you have to cover the nail heads with roof cement and smooth down the overlapping shingle edges.
  5. To attend flat-roof leaking problem where it is normally built around layers of roofing felt and tar, while leaks usually happens at low spots or at the damaged roofing felt. If there is still water pooled in that particular area, you have to mop or soak it up using rags until it is dry. Clear off any gravel in the area and also look out for more cracks (if any) in the felt or for large blisters.
  6. In order to mend blister, you can use sharp utility knife for slicing up the blister to enable it to open down the middle but you must ensure that the cut does not reach the sound roofing felt beneath the blister.
  7. Then, lift the cut edges of the blister so that you can squeeze out any water from between the roofing layers and soak up all the water using rags. Next, prop the edges up so that the layers can dry completely.
  8. In order to mend blister during cold weather, you can use propane torch with flame-spreader nozzle so that the felt can be dry completely. Be extra careful when moving the flame back and forth over the inside of the blister. The roofing felt and tar are also highly flammable, do no let the flame hit them when you are using this method.
  9. The next step is to spread a thick coating of roof cement to the bottom edges of the loose felt and press down the blister\’s sides firmly. Then, permanently close the blister using a row of 6d galvanized roofing nails along each side of slit and ensure that the nail heads and the entire blister are well covered with roof cement.
  10. As for repairing wooden shake roof, it is similar to repair shingle roof but with a little difficulty. For splitting a damaged shake, you can use hammer and sharp chisel by slanting the chisel up into stake at the same angle as your pitch roof. Be careful as not to gouge the surrounding shakes and then pull out the pieces of damaged shake.
  11. The shakes are flexible unlike the shingles and you cannot just pry out the nails, but you can use a hacksaw in order to cut off nail heads as far as you can. The next step is to measure the gap of the damaged shake, cut a replacement shake by using a fine-tooth hacksaw of at least 3/8-inch smaller than the measured gap.
  12. After that, it is time to install new shake and if you managed to cut off nails of the damaged shake, just simply slide the replacement shake into place with its top edge beneath the overlapping shingles. Then nail down the shake with two galvanized roofing nails where one of it at each side of the exposed top edge. If you are unable to cut off nails, then you need to notch the new shake so that it can fit around them.
  13. Finally, you need to push shake up into gap so that the edge is marked by the previous nails. Using coping saw carefully cut slots at the marked points and clamped the shake so that it will not split. Then slide notched the shake into the area before nailing it using two roofing nails. You also have to set heads of the nails with a nail set and seal it with a caulking compound.

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