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Roof Leak Repair

Suketu Mehta
Troubled by a leaking roof? Let's learn how to repair that lousy leak by yourself and solve the problem!
Roof leaks are highly irritating. Water dripping without respite inside your house is a sore sight. There are various causes for a leak. It could be due to cracks or gaps formed on the shingles, on a flat roof, or even blisters or gaps formed along the chimney, vent, or flashing. It is not always necessary to replace the whole roofing in case of a leak.

Materials Required

  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Pieces of dry cloth
  • Metal bristled brush
  • Trowel
  • Roofing cement
  • Roof patching fabric
  • Knife

Locating the leak

Step 1

Before you start your repair job, which is an integral part of home improvement, it is important to locate exactly where the roof is leaking from. For this, move around your house and keenly observe it to find any hint of cracks or tears. More often than not, these are the places where it leaks from. Once you have located the source, mark these spots.

Step 2

After checking your roof from the inside of your house, you need to inspect it from the outside. Go up on it and stroll around (wear flat shoes) to have a closer look at any weak spots up there. In case you find any, mark those spots. Also, carefully look over chimneys, vents, and flashing for any cracks or worn out cement pieces.

Step 3

Go to your attic and use a flashlight to locate any water stains. You can easily get the leak source if you go after the water trail on the roof. If you find the source, just hammer a nail in there to make it easier to locate.

Fixing the Leak

Step 1

Start with the various roofing attributes like vent, chimney, or flashings. Remove whichever of these that have any cracks or gaps. Take out any cement or tar applied there previously.
Scrape off all dirt and dust with a brush, and use a dry piece of cloth to soak up any water collected there. Now replace the old attribute with a new one. Fill any gaps or cracks with roofing cement using a trowel. To prevent any further water leakage and facilitate draining of water, fill extra cement in cracks and gaps.

Step 2

Clean roofing shingles from the roof which are causing the leak, by gently peeling them off their edges. At the source of leakage, apply roofing cement and fill the gap. If you find any extra nails, take them out and replace with new ones. Apply some roofing cement over these nails as well.

Step 3

You will then need to fill any rubber sheathing cracks with roofing cement. Ensure you apply a couple of extra patches of cement on the cracks, to reduce chances of leakage in future. Implant a roof patching fabric with the cement and give one last coat on the cracks.

Step 4

You will then need to fix any bubbles, wrappings, or blisters formed in the roof sheathing. Carefully remove the flaps along the troubled area. Under these flaps, apply roofing cement. Put back the flaps you removed.
Cover these flaps with another layer of cement, and in the process try and flatten them out as much as possible. Now, alternately apply two layers each of cement and patching fabric over the troubled spot, and you are done.
In case you want to get the job done from outside, the cost would come to anywhere between USD 300 to USD 1100, depending on the type of roof, the amount of work required and also whom you approach for this work.
While performing the task, you should be careful whenever you are working on top of the roof. Use safety ropes, wear flat rubber sole shoes, and do the job on a sunny day when the roof surface is dry.