How do you repair a damaged roof?
Is your roof damaged? You may not think so, but how can you be sure?
Have you checked your roof for signs of damage? Do you even know how to check or what signs you’re looking for? Roof damage is serious and we don’t want anyone to get hurt because of it. Besides, if you don’t know how to check your roof, you’ve probably not previously known what you need to look for.
follow this guide to check for signs of roof damage.
1. Sunlight Coming Through
Holes in your roof that are big enough to let the sunshine in are a dead giveaway that the roof is damaged. This sign is typically the most obvious. But it’s sometimes overlooked, especially in attics and other rooms that don’t get used often.
Check for holes that let in sunlight room by room. Turn off all the lights, close the blinds and the door. Basically, make the room as dark inside as you can.
Then, look to the sky. If you can see the sky or even small sparkles of light, you’ve got holes in your roof.
2. Leaks When It Rains
Another obvious sign is that your roof leaks when it rains. Only, it’s not always that obvious.
If you are aware of leaks in your roof, don’t hesitate to get it repaired. Even a small leak lets moisture in between the cracks, which spreads as far as it can into your roofing material. Then, this moisture expands and contracts with temperature changes, widening the opening in your roof.
This deterioration spreads quickly, weakening the integrity of your roof. The longer you wait, the more dangerous it becomes and the more expensive it is to fix.
If you aren’t aware of any leaks, check for dripping next time it rains. Don’t overlook the attic, as many homeowners do.
3. Moisture Where It Shouldn’t Be
As we said before, leaks aren’t always obvious. Sometimes they’re just a teeny, tiny dribble that gets trapped in your insulation or absorbs into the boxes stored in your attic. This doesn’t make them any less of a problem.
Such leaks will obviously be devastating to the stored items you have soaking in them. And wherever this moisture ends up, it becomes ideal breeding grounds for mold and mildew. This can rot the very wood your house is made of.
So, during and after a rainstorm, check for puddles or other wet spots where moisture has collected. And regularly check your house for mold or mildew.
Also, paint that is blistering/peeling is another sign of excess moisture. If you see any of these signs, call a professional roofer to come to check them out.
4. Stains and Discoloring
When leaks have been going on for a really long time, you can see it on the ceiling and walls. As moisture drips further and further down into your house, it brings dirt and dust with it. When this dirty water soaks all the way through to the surface or your ceiling and walls, it discolors the paint.
These discolorations are grey, brown, or yellowish in color. On the ceiling, it appears as a circular ring. On the walls, it may look like streaks dripping down.
As we said, these stains indicate that the leaks have reached all the way into your home. They’re signs of very advanced water damage and need to be fixed right away.
Another sign of long-time water damage is a sagging ceiling. This means that water has pooled in that same spot above your head so many times that the ceiling is warping under the weight of it.
It’s exceedingly important that you have a professional roofer look at it right away. Again, when you’re checking for sagging, don’t forget the attic.
6. Energy Bills Increasing
Water and light aren’t the only things that leak through the holes in your roof. Air and heat can leak through as well. When there’s a temperature leak, your heating and cooling system has to run more frequently to make up for the breach.
If you notice your energy bill keeps costing you more each month, air leaking through your roof may be to blame. Of course, there are many other factors that can cause this. But it’s best to check your roof just in case.
Check for sunlight streaming through, as instructed above. And check the exterior, as we describe in the next point.
How to Repair a Damaged Roof
- Repair Sheathing
After cleaning the debris and reframing the roof, lay down a base (sheathing). Eight-foot, 1/2-inch-thick plywood is standard sheathing material. Measure the opening of the section of roof to be shingled, cut the plywood to size and nail to roof rafters. Stagger the sheathing in a brick pattern for extra strength. Do not place an entire 8-foot section of plywood onto roof. Such a long piece is structurally unstable in the middle. Continue to install in brick pattern, staggering the plywood seams until the open area is covered.
- Lay Felt Paper
Start by stapling the 6-inch starter strip at the bottom section of roof leaving a 1-inch overhang on the eave to ensure drainage into the gutters. Going from bottom up, lay and nail the remaining felt layers with a 2-inch overlap. Be sure to nail the tar strip on each felt layer to ensure maximum hold.
- Install Shingles
Lay the first row of shingles starting at a bottom corner of the roof. Place a base row of shingles following the chalk lines on the felt and move upward in a pyramid shape. Use six nails per shingle to ensure maximum hold, and be sure to always nail on the tar strip. Continue working your way across and up the roof, following your initial pyramid base. If repairing a section of damaged roof, be sure you layer the existing shingles on top of the new. This will ensure a uniform and seamless look.
If part of a shingle is missing, you’ll have to replace the whole thing. First see if you have any leftover shingles from the last time the roof was worked on (with any luck, the builder or the roofer who handled the job left some behind). If not, you’ll have to buy a bundle at a home center or lumberyard ($15 to $20 per square—100 sq. ft.—of standard three-tab shingles). If you can’t find a perfect match, choose the closest one.
Replacing a damaged shingle requires a hammer, a flat pry bar, a utility knife and a handful of 11/4-in. roofing nails. Each shingle is initially secured with four nails; when the next shingle course above is installed, however, its nails also pass through the top edge of the shingles in the course below.
Begin removing the first row of nails by sliding the pry bar under the shingle immediately above the damaged one and gently lifting it to free it from the sealer strip. You’ll see the first row of nails beneath.
Slip the pry bar under the damaged shingle and pry upward. Once the nail pops up about 1/4 in., remove the pry bar, press the shingle down and pull out the nail. Repeat this procedure for the remaining three nails. Then push the pry bar under the shingle directly above the damaged one and remove the second row of nails the same way. After yanking all eight nails, pull out the damaged shingle.
If the existing shingles are brittle, you may not be able to pry out the second row of nails without cracking a shingle. In that case, tear out the damaged shingle and cut V-notches in the replacement to fit around the four nails. Slide the new shingle up into place and secure it with four nails.
Sealing Leaky Joints
Inspect areas where surfaces join, such as at a chimney or valley.
- Look for gaps in caulk, sealant, or aluminum flashing where any objects intersect with or emerge from the roof. These are some of the most common sources of roof leaks, and smaller gaps are easy to repair.
- Small gaps can be treated with caulk or roof sealant, but larger cracks or tears require patching or new flashing.
Apply roof sealant or cement to gaps less than 1⁄4 in (0.64 cm) wide.
- Scrape away old sealant, wipe away debris, and dry the area thoroughly before applying a new compound. Use a thin, flexible putty knife to apply roof cement to small cracks in the sealant around chimneys, pipes, or other joined surfaces. For small gaps at the metal or rubber collar of an exposed pipe or vent, apply a bead of waterproof silicone-based caulk with a caulking gun.
- Gaps larger than 1⁄4 in (0.64 cm) will require a more substantial fix instead of a simple sealant.
Repair rusted or loose flashing at a joint.
- Flashing is typically made of steel or aluminum, and it seals joints around chimneys, valleys, siding, and walls that intersect the roof. If you find loose flashing, apply a bead of roof cement beneath it, then press it back into place.
- If a small area of flashing is rusted, slide a new piece of galvanized steel flashing beneath the failing area, then seal it with roofing cement.
- If you’re any shingles adjacent to flashing are loose, avoid nailing the shingles on the side that makes contact with the flashing. Instead, bond the shingles to the flashing using roof cement to avoid puncturing the flashing.
Replace large areas of failing flashing, if necessary.
- Pry off stretches of unsound flashing and old roof cement with a chisel or pry bar. Measure your chimney, vent, or other joined area, and use a pair of straight cutting tin snips to cut a section of pre-bent base flashing to fit the joint. Your flashing should overlap the joint by about 4 in (10 cm) on each side.
- Apply strips of ice-and-water barrier to the joint before installing the flashing. For a chimney or other object protruding from the roof, apply strips 4 in (10 cm) up the object’s height.
- Wrap the flashing around the joint and seal it with roofing cement or caulk. If there are nail holes on the flashing’s edge, drive galvanized roofing nails into them.
- If you have a shingled roof, you might have needed to remove shingles in order to access the old flashing. Replace them, if necessary, and secure them to the flashing with roofing cement.
- Properly replacing all of the flashing around a chimney is complex and may require custom-made materials. If necessary, consult a professional
Repair Cracked Shingles
If a shingle is simply cracked or torn, you don’t have to replace it—just repair it. Start by applying a thick bead of roofing sealant under the crack. Press the shingle down and apply a second bead of sealant on top of the crack. Then spread the sealant with a putty knife.
The best part of this fix is that no one has to know you made it. It’s easy to camouflage: Check the gutter for an accumulation of colored granules that have washed down the roof from the shingles. Then gather some into a small cup and sprinkle them over the sealant to mask the repair.