Raindrops Falling On Your Head? How To Fix A Leaky Shingle Roof

Posted on: 4 January 2016

Discovering a leak in your ceiling or walls is enough to ruin anyone's day. But the good news is that finding and fixing that leak in a shingle roof may be easier than you think. It's basically a two-step process that can take as little as one sunny afternoon. Here are a few steps to help you successfully repair your leaky shingles.

Think Safety

Before attempting any roof repairs, be sure to plan for safety first. This means waiting until the weather is good and avoiding climbing on the roof during freezing temperatures. Wear rubber sole shoes and a harness (if possible), and make sure you work with a buddy for safety's sake.

Inspect the Likely Suspects

If you're unsure where the leak is coming from, you can start with a few of the most likely places to find leaks in a shingle roof. These spots include:

  • Cracked, damaged or debris-laden gutters
  • Flashing and rubber boots
  • Edges or roof membranes where ice may build up
  • Valleys or ridges, which are places where two roofs intersect
  • Old, curled or cracked shingles

If you still can't find the leak, you can try spraying the roof with water from a garden hose. Have your buddy inspect the exterior walls and interior of the roof in the attic to look for signs of water leaking in.

Fix Damaged Shingles

Once you find the leak in a shingle roof, repairing it is often simply a matter of replacing the offending shingles and any damaged plywood underneath. Here's how to do this:

  • Lift the edges of surrounding, undamaged shingles and pry the nails out of the damaged ones. With the nails gone, the damaged shingles should slide out. Scrape out residue and remove extra nails.
  • Inspect the wood underneath to look for signs of dry rot or other damage. If there appears to be extensive damage or the shingles pull away from the roof easily, consult with a professional roofing company. This level of deterioration is likely to mean a larger repair or replacement job is needed.
  • Slide the new shingle in to the gap and under the edge of the shingles above it. Align it with the surrounding shingles.
  • Use 6d galvanized roofing nails to secure each corner of the shingle, then cover the nail heads with roof cement. Smooth the shingles for a secure finish.

It's a good idea to inspect your shingle roof regularly and to eliminate leaks as soon as it's safe to do so. This will help you extend the life of your roof as long as possible.  If you don't feel comfortable fixing your roof on your own, contact a business such as HomeTowne Roofing.   

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