Roof Repair: How to Repair Any Roof

roof repairs

A leaking roof can cause serious and costly damage to your house. Infiltrating water can destroy drywall or plaster, cause mold, and even rot framing. You should repair a roof as soon as possible after the damage occurs. Dealing with a damaged roof is sometimes a simple matter of applying roofing cement to an obvious hole; at other times you will need to spend time diagnosing the problem and calculating the benefits of repairs versus installing a new roof. This section will guide you through repairs for all types of roofs.

Projects in Roof Repair

Roofing diagnostics and triage
If a roof starts to leak, determine whether it is worthwhile to make permanent repairs or whether you need to apply new roofing. Here are your choices:

--If the roof is basically sound with only one or two weak spots, the damage may have come from a falling branch or a particularly severe windstorm. In that case make permanent repairs.
--If the roof shows signs of general wear, making repairs will solve the problem only temporarily; other leaks will soon appear. Start planning a reroof.
--If you can reroof soon but need a few weeks to plan and prepare, cover leaks with plywood or plastic sheets until you can start.
--If you need to wait a year or so, make permanent repairs now, such as replacing shingles. Inspect the attic after every rainfall and make further repairs or take steps to protect your interior spaces from water damage.

The importance of flashing
Often the culprit is not the roofing itself but the flashing that protects the joints between roofing and chimneys or walls. Valleys, which may or may not have flashing, are often a trouble spot.

If you have a longstanding problem, repairs can be tricky; it's not unusual for a roofer to make three or four attempts before finally fixing a chronic leak. In other cases the solution is obvious: A piece of flashing may be rusted through, may be missing, or may have come loose. Often you can simply apply roofing cement or a new piece of metal flashing to solve the problem.

This section will help you identify flashing problems, make some of the most common repairs, and determine when it is time to call in a pro.

Attic ventilation
A roof must breathe or moisture from the air will be trapped in the attic, ruining insulation and leading to mold and rot. This section will help you understand the principles of attic ventilation and show you how to install the most common venting products.

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