Leaky Roof? Best Ways to Address the Mess

Leaky Roof? Best Ways to Address the Mess
  • Opening Intro -

    A leaky roof is a serious problem not only because of the mess it can cause, but also because of the potential structural damage it poses.

    Here are some of the best ways you can deal with a leak in your roof.

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Locating the Leak

The leak on your roof may not be above the mold, discolored spots, or water stains on your ceiling. Very often, the actual leak is further up, so you may need to examine the spot uphill from the roof. Take a close look at joints around vents and chimneys a few feet above the spot or drip you see.

If you cannot find the leak through a simple visual inspection, you may need to hose down the area where the leak appears on your ceiling. You will need someone inside the house to tell you when a leak appears while you soak specific parts of the roof. Start a few feet above the stain or drip on your ceiling, allowing that area to soak. If nothing happens, move on a few more feet above and do the same thing. Keep going until you get to a chimney or a joint. This will help isolate the area of the leak. Remember not to move on to a different area too quickly.

Vents, Flashes, and Chimneys

Quite often the leak on your roof comes from damaged vents, flashes, and chimneys.

  • If the leak comes from a plumbing vent, examine the vent’s boot and change this if it has cracked. Change the gasket holding it if this has rotted, and replace loose or missing nails supporting it.
  • If the leak stems from the step flashing along the walls intersecting your roof, change the rusted or missing sections. Make sure all sections are securely fastened.
  • If the leak cones from your chimney, chances are the flashing around it has cracked. Your chimney will need new flashing, and replacing this is a difficult chore that you should probably ask a professional from United Roofing or a similar company to do.

Fixing Shingles

If your roof is made of shingles, repairing a leak can be a fairly easy task. Curled-back shingles may be the cause of the leak; in this case you remove the shingles and straighten them out by softening their edges with heat from a hair dryer. Use a generous amount of asphalt roof cement to reattach these.

Replace damaged shingles by lifting their edges and prying their nails out. Next, remove any remaining cement from the underlying area. Take each replacement piece and round off the back corners. Slide them into place and fasten upper corners with 3.2 cm galvanized roofing nails. Don’t forget to spread roof cement over the nail heads.

Fixing Roll Roofing

A crack or a blister in your roll roofing may be the cause of the leak. To fix a crack, apply a generous amount of tar into the crack and put fiberglass netting over it. Then, cover the fiberglass netting with more tar. Spread the tar evenly.

To fix a blister, use a utility knife to cut through its center without damaging the felt under it. Make sure the area is totally dry. Apply roofing cement in area underneath and press the roofing material down. Along the sides of the blister you repaired, drive in galvanized roofing nails. Cover the entire repaired area with roof cement.

Other types of roofing materials will require a different approach. Roof leaks can be simple or complex, so it is important to remember that some roof jobs warrant professional help. Also, roof leaks and the trouble they bring can be minimized with regular inspection from a reliable roofing company—an investment definitely worth the price.

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