How to Repair a Hole in the Roof and Other Common Roofing Issues

Holes and leaks in your roof can become significant problems if not addressed quickly. Water stains on the walls and ceilings are an indicator of a leak. While repairing the leak is often easy, the finding is not always so simple. Check out these tips on fixing roof problems before they become more significant and lead to mold, structural damage, or ceiling damage.

Needed Materials

There could be many reasons why you need to repair your own roof. Trees may fall on your roof, wood can rot over time, or small animals have made a larger hole from a small crack. Some roof repairs are minor, and you can fix them yourself without needing a roofing contractor. If you want to address your own roof problems, you may need some tools and materials. If you plan to handle the repairs yourself, you should have a basic understanding of these tools and materials. These items include but are not limited to a ladder, pry bar, measuring tape, hammer, and roofing nails. Those items you are most likely to have. There are some other items you might need that you do not have. These include a plywood sheet, 2×4 plank, reciprocating saw, heavy-duty electric drill, roofing tar, tar paper, and deck screws.

Small Holes

When there are small holes in the shingles, that may not seem like a significant problem because of their size. Unfortunately, they are more dangerous than they appear. These tiny holes can cause rotting, leaks, and other damages long before you see any signs. These tiny holes can occur from just about anything, such as mounting brackets for an antenna. When a roofing nail is exposed or misplaced, it can cause a hole. Typically, you fix all holes with flashing. In extremely rare cases of incredibly small gaps, you can fill the hole with caulk when flashing is not an option. Typically, caulk or roof cement are not ideal options for leaks. They will not last long term. The best option is always a mechanical roof fix, repairing, or replacing the flashing.

Flashing Problems

Flashing is what is used along all the walls that intersect the roof. There are short sections of flashing that channel water over the shingle below it. However, the flashing can rust or come loose. Water runs behind the flashing and goes right into your house when this happens. If the flashing is rusted, it needs a replacement. Replacing the flashing is relatively simple. You removed the shingles, pried loose the siding, and removed the step flashing. However, sometimes you find that a piece of flashing was missed and not nailed in place. The result is the flashing slips, and the wall is exposed. This flashing needs to be fixed.

Walls And Dormers

The shingles on your roof are not the only place for water to come into the house. Rain driven by the wind comes in above the roof, typically around the window, the area between the siding and the corner board, and any cracks or holes in the siding. The dormer walls provide ample space where water can drip down and get in through the roof. You do not need a roofing service to check them. If there are areas where caulk is old, cracked, or missing between the corner boards, window edges, and siding, this is a space for water. Water can get into those cracks, move behind the flashing, and go right into the house. Even when the caulk appears as though it is in good shape, it may not create a seal for the two surfaces. You should use a putty knife to dig into the space and determine if it is sealed. Dig it out if you think the caulk is old, cracked, or not sealing. You want to replace it with high-quality caulk. While you are here, you want to check the siding above the step flashing. If there is any that is rotted, cracked, or missing, you should replace it. You also want to ensure that the piece you install overlaps the flashing by a minimum of two inches. If that does not fix the leak problem, you should pull the corner boards away and check the overlapping flashing in the corners. You often find old and hardened caulk where the two pieces overlap at the corner.

Roof Vents

Roof vents are another area where you can find problems. You should check the plastic roof vents for cracked housing and metal roof vent for broken seams. While you could consider caulking it, that is not the best long-term fix. The best thing you should do is replace the damaged vents. It would be best if you also looked for nails that are missing or have been pilled at the bottom edge. You should replace the nails with rubber wash screws. You can remove the nails from under the shingles on either side of the vent to pull it loose. You will find nails across the top of the vent. You should be able to work the screws loose without having to remove the shingles. You can screw the bottom of it in place with screws and rubber washers. It would be best if you put a bead of caulk underneath the shingles on either side of the vent to hold down the shingles while adding them to the water barrier. This is much easier than renailing shingles.

Plumbing Vent Boots

There could be problems with your plumbing vent boots, and you will not need a residential roofer to address them. Plumbing vent boots may be plastic, plastic, metal, or two pieces of metal. If the base is plastic, you should look for cracks. If the base is metal, you should check for broken seams. It would be best if you then examined the rubber boot that is around the pipe. This ribber boot can tear or rot, which lets water seep into the house along the edge of the pipe. When you see these problems, you must buy a new vent boot to replace the old boot. However, if the rubber boot is in great shape but the nails at the base are pulled free or missing, you want to replace them. You should consider using rubber washer screws instead. Next, you want to remove the shingles on both sides of the boot. You can replace those shingles with extra shingles you have. If you do not have excess shingles, use caution when you remove the shingle so you can reuse them. Next, you can separate the sealant between the layers with a flat bar. You can use the flat bar to drive under the nail heads to pop out the nails.

Roof Leaks

One of the significant problems with roof leaks is that they can be challenging to find. Water can show up on spots on the ceiling that are nowhere near the leak. If there is a plastic vapor barrier in the ceiling between the drywall and insulation, you can move the insulation and look for stains on the plastic. Water can quickly move into the openings that appear in the vapor barrier, like light fixtures in the ceiling. If you do not see any marks, you want to look for something called a shiner under the roof. You should know a shiner is a nail that missed the framing. An example may be when a carpenter nail misses the framing member and goes into the sheathing or rafters instead. When there is moisture moving from the rooms to a cold attic, you will see it on the cold nails. If you climb into your attic on a cold night, you may be able to see the condensation. The nails will be white because they have frost on them. As the attic heats during the day, the frost melts and drips. This process happens every night. You do not need to hire roofing businesses to fix this. You can cut the nail with cutting pliers.

Finding Leaks

When you know there is a roof leak, you must find it. It is possible for you to find the leak without hiring roofing companies. The first place you want to look is to look at the roof uphill from the stains. You want to look for roof penetrations which are items that penetrate the roof and cause leaks. Penetrations can be anything that pushes through the roof, including roof vents, plumbing beans, chimneys, or dormers. The penetration can be several feet away from the leak in any direction. The best way to find the leak is to go into the attic with a flashlight and look for signs of leaks. These signs include water stains, mold, or black marks. If you cannot access the attic, you may have to go to the roof. If the leak is challenging to find, you can contact a roof installer or find a friend. Go on the roof with a hose and soak them just above where the leak is in the house. You want to work each side a portion at a time. Soak below the chimney first, then each side of the chimney, and lastly, the top. You want your friend to stay inside your house and wait for the leak to appear. It would help if you let the hose run for a few minutes in each area before moving it up a little more. You may have to be patient because this could take longer than an hour. The water may not show you exactly where the leak is, and you may have to remove some shingles in the area. Once you remove the shingles, you can find the source of the leak. There will be felt paper that is discolored and stained with water. You may even see rotten wood around the leak.

Complex Roof Problems

You may find that you have a more complex roof problem that requires professional roofers. You may also determine that you need roof inspections to determine what is actually happening with your roof. If a leak occurs during snow in the winter or storms in the summer, it can be a result of poor flashing. The hardest part of the roof to waterproof is where the soffit meets the roof. When there are ice dams, they are caused by snow melting and the water refreezing when it gets to the colder part of the roof. Water pools behind the dam and moves under the shingles and soffit until it makes its way through openings in the roof. It would be best to have adequate flashing to stop these leaks when it rains. It may also stop leaks from the ice dams. You may need to hire roofers for these steps. Next, you can remove the shingles down to the wood sheathing. Next, you can slip adhesive ice and water barrier under the soffit or main joint of the roof. Depending on how the roofs join, you may be required to cut a slot to work the barrier. This helps to cover most areas that are prone to leaks. Next, you must re-shingle the roof and slide the metal step flashing behind the fascia board. If this does not work, you should consider installing roof edge heating cables. Finally, you can improve the insulation and ventilation to help prevent ice damns.

Fortunately, there are many leak problems that you can find and resolve on your own. With these tips, you can look for your own leaks and resolve the issues without paying a repair bill. However, if any of these roof problems seem too complicated for you, you can always hire a professional to resolve your leaks. You can contact a professional roofer today.

Author: Automaton

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