If you’re like most people, you save your finances to pay for unexpected car problems, medical emergencies, and funding your kids’ extracurriculars—so you don’t want to spend a ton of money on roof repair. That’s why many homeowners choose to repair their own roof. However, before you start climbing around on your roof, there are some things you need to know.
This guide will discuss the steps necessary to safely repair your leaking roof and other roofing elements yourself. We’ll also provide some tips to help make the process go more smoothly. So, if you’re feeling handy, let’s get started!
Why Might You Need to Repair Your Roof?
There are two main reasons you may need to repair your roof: you have immediate roof leaks from storm damage, or it’s an old roof that has worn down to the point of needing repairs. Both require safety procedures, specific tools, and diligence to repair it correctly. Roof repairs might include:
- Replacing missing or damaged shingles
- Replacing flashing around chimneys or dormers
- Replacing your roofing vents or boots
- Patching a hole that’s leaking water
- Repairing water damage
- Re-insulating your roof/attic
- Replacing shingles damaged from hail
- Replacing your gutters or gutter guards
While it’s important to note that your best bet for roof repairs is hiring a professional, all of the above can be done yourself with the proper steps.
Critical Roofing Safety Measures
Roofing is one of the most hazardous jobs and requires immense safety planning and protocols to ensure safety and prevent injury. Just getting up on a ladder is risky enough, let alone walking on your roof to work on repairs. So you must have these safety items and take the proper precautions to keep you and your family or friends safe.
Roofing Safety Equipment:
- A sturdy extension ladder. Ensure the ladder is tall enough to reach your roof (extends past by at least 3 feet) and that it’s in good condition. You can also utilize scaffolding for a more secure solution and a more accessible place to stand.
- Work gloves will help protect your hands from cuts, scratches, and debris.
- Safety goggles will keep your eyes safe from flying debris and nails that can cause serious injury.
- A safety harness will ensure that you will not land on the ground even if you slip and fall. Any of these harnesses will work great and are used by the pros.
- Toe board or roof bracket. These are incredibly useful for gaining solid footing when up on a steep-sloped roof. You can make your own out of some scrap wood or purchase one here.
Additional Safety Precautions:
- Wet conditions are incredibly dangerous when roofing. If you can avoid working in the rain, do so.
- If you must work in wet conditions, wear shoes with good tread and be extra careful not to slip.
- Be aware of your surroundings at all times and be cautious of power lines.
- Make sure to always have someone else with you in case of an accident. Plus, it makes it easier to haul things up and down and safely mount or dismount the ladder.
Tools and Materials Needed
Roof repairs can come at a moment’s notice, so having a few essential roof repair tools and materials on hand can be beneficial when you are scrambling to fix a leak.
Some Tools and Materials Required for Roof Repair
- Roofing nailer
- Roofing nails
- Caulk gun and sealant
- Pry bar
- Utility knife or hook blade
- Chalk line
- Shovel or broom
- Roofing cement or tar
- Roofing shovel
- Roofing patch
- Putty knife
Come repair-time, you’ll also need:
- Flashing materials
- Roof decking
- Spare shingles
- Spare pipe boots or roofing vents
When and How to Repair Your Roof
Knowing how to make minor repairs to your roof can be a sense of pride and help you save time and money when you’re in a pinch. But doing it right is vital to ensuring you don’t make the situation worse. So if you follow these steps, you should be good.
⛈ Repairing Storm Damaged Shingles
If you had just one or two shingles get damaged from a storm, replacing that section is super easy, even for an unskilled homeowner.
Step 1: Document your damaged shingles, remove them, and don’t damage the surrounding roof decking or shingles.
Step 2: Make any necessary repairs to holes or cracks in the roof underlayment before replacing the shingles.
Step 3: Measure or cut the new row of shingles to the same size as the ones you removed.
Step 4: Apply new roofing underlayment if necessary on the existing roof decking, then place your new shingles in place. Nail along the shingle strip to secure it in place.
Repairing a Small Roof Leak
Sometimes there can be small punctures in your roof from debris or hail, and it causes water to leak under your shingles or into your home. It’s imperative to fix these right away, and something so small can use just a tiny patch.
Step 1: Locate the source of your leak and clean it up as best you can. Ensure to replace any water-damaged wood or drywall after repairing the leak.
Step 2: Cut a piece of roof patch or use roof tar to place evenly over the hole, and use a trowel to smooth it out. For added security, caulk the patch’s edges or inside the hole first to create a watertight seal.
Step 3: Trim off any excess caulk or sealant, and replace the shingles required to patch the hole.
⚡ Replacing Flashing
Flashing is vital to keeping all edges of your roof around chimneys, dormers, skylights, vents, etc., watertight. Unfortunately, flashing is also one of the first things to go on your roof.
While it’s possible to reuse existing step flashing, your best option for a watertight seal is to tear off the old stuff and install new flashing. But replacing it is relatively simple and requires just a few simple steps and tools.
Step 1: Locate the leak, and mitigate any damage if necessary.
Step 2: Carefully remove or lift up the shingles overlapping your flashing.
Step 3: Pry back the flashing gently to remove it.
Step 4: Check for any leaks or other damage underneath the flashing. Repair if necessary.
Step 5: Scrape away any excess roofing sealant or caulk to have a clean working surface.
Step 6: Run a long bead of sealant along the edge/seam of where your roof meets the edge for added protection.
Step 7: Piece by piece, install step flashing flush against the side of the wall, chimney, vent, or other components, and layer by layer, overlap each piece, securing with roofing nails.
Replacing a Damaged Roofing Vent
Your roofing components like pipe boots and roofing vents are highly susceptible to hail or wind damage. And when those get cracked or dented, they are a prime spot for rainwater to seep in and damage your home.
Step 1: Remove your damaged vent or boot, careful not to tear any shingles with it.
Step 2: Before replacing and installing the flashing, install a new layer of underlayment around vent pipes and caulk them with roof sealant.
Step 3: Lay your vent flashing down and secure with 3-4 roofing nails at the top and one in each corner below.
Step 4: Use sealant on the nail heads to make them watertight below laying your shingles.
Step 5: Lay your shingles back over the newly placed vent and flashing, carefully cutting to size with your utility knife or hook blade.
When DIY Roof Repair Doesn’t Cut It
A DIY roof repair job can buy you time, but it won’t protect your home like a professional roof repair will. At the end of the day, you need to uphold the integrity of your roof over time and professional installation is the best way to do it. While unexpected roof repairs can be an inconvenience, investing in your roof ensures security for the future.
The team at Dreamworx Exteriors would love to help you with our expertise and timely repairs. When you’re worried about how you’re going to quickly and safely repair your roof, call Dreamworx.