How To Repair a Roof Leak

Leaks in the roof are a nuissance, dangerous to the structure and sometimes very difficult to locate.  If you are adept at repairs and unafraid of heights, you can make the repairs on your own. 

Find the Source

To find the roof leak, you may have noticed a water stain on the ceiling, around air vents, or fireplaces.  If you see damp places after a winter thaw, unusual smells, or paint changes, you should be on the lookout.  Explore the roof on a sunny day with a camera or cell phone to look for holes, stains, or dark marks by pinpricks of light that come into a darkened attic.  Never stand on insulation or the topside of a ceiling.

From the exterior, if you see any shingles around the yard or driveway, exposed nails, strange appearance including sagging, excessive granules, or moss or mold on the outside of your home or building, you should consider a seriously closer look.

Look at the roof points that are higher than the interior stains; liquid does move downhill.  Give special attention to areas around plumbing, vents, chimneys, or additions that may have been made to the structure over the years.  If you have a flat roof, this is a special case.  

No matter where the leak is, you should not work on the roof while it is raining or other weather like snow, sleet, or high winds.  Place a bucket under any interior leaks and wait for better weather.

Leak Repair Tips

If the weather is clear, you can proceed to make any repairs you feel comfortable about.  Use two-by-fours and heavy-duty plastic sheeting that will more than cover the area where the leak has occurred, at least a couple of extra feet.  Wrap one end of the plastic around a two-by-four and staple it in place.  Add a second two by four, like a sandwich and nail or staple the boards together.  Do the same thing with another set of two-by-fours on the other end of the plastic.  Place one set of boards with the plastic securely along the eaves of the roof and stretch it over the peak of the roof and down the other side.  With the weight of the lumber the sheeting should be taut enough to act as a temporary fix until a permanent repair can be completed.

From the inside, you can make a temporary fix with plywood, extra shingles and roofing tar.  With a putty knife, spread the tar around the leak and place the shingle or piece of plywood over the tar.  Finish with more tar around the edges to hold everything in place.  There are also some sprays on the market that will retard moisture.

Keep a close watch on these temporary fixes until a professional can make the necessary repairs. Your best option is to hire a professional roofing company to make regular inspections of your property to avoid big problems later.  Most people are not agile or skilled enough to go climbing around on roofs. Contact our team today for a free quote.

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