Roof Repair – Common Problems and Fixes

When roof damage occurs, a quick repair may save you the cost and hassle of replacement. Often, this is simply due to weather-related damage like hail or falling branches damaging shingles or a storm leaving dents in metal roofs.

Roof Repair

It takes a fair amount of planning to make sure you’re ready for roof repair. After all, nobody wants to be up on the roof during a howling gale or torrential rainstorm! Click Here for more information.

While leaks can create serious damage to a house, most are relatively easy to track down and fix. Look for water marks and stains on the ceiling or walls, especially in attics and upper floors. Also check the rafters and roof sheathing in these areas for evidence of moisture. Often, the cause of the leak is obvious – a broken or missing shingle, for example – and you can easily replace it. Other common sources of leaks are poorly sealed or corroded flashing around chimneys, skylights and vents, or at the intersection of different planes (e.g., the transition from the sloping of the roof to the flat bottom of a vent pipe).

A leaking roof can create brown stains on ceilings and messes up paint and plaster in attics and upper floors. It can also degrade insulation, and it can reduce the comfort level of rooms below it. It is important to stop the leak as quickly as possible to limit the damage.

Before heading up on the roof, it’s a good idea to minimize water damage by covering a large area with a tarp. Enlist a helper who can stay inside the house and watch for drips and signs of water damage. Then have that person hold the hose up on the roof, starting at the area closest to where the leaks appear in the house and moving the hose up the roof in small increments, soaking each spot for several minutes before continuing uphill. Have the person inside the house yell when a drip appears, so the source of the leak can be located quickly.

If you can’t find the leak source, or if you are not comfortable with clambering around on the roof or in your attic, call roofing contractors. They can provide a thorough inspection and make any necessary repairs.

Some leaks can be fixed by replacing damaged or rotten shingles, and some can be addressed by reapplying caulk. Other problems may require more extensive work, such as the replacement of a deteriorated or missing shingle or the repair of a rotted or otherwise damaged shingle.

Damaged Shingles

Rain, wind and hail can cause serious damage to shingles. A roof inspection after a severe storm might reveal heat blisters, creased or torn shingles, and even missing shingles. If left unrepaired, these problems can lead to a costly replacement project. Luckily, most shingle damage can be repaired in relatively simple ways.

A detailed roof inspection might also uncover shingles that are cracked or brittle from excessive sunlight and UV exposure. Fortunately, these kinds of shingles are easy to fix, and can often be camouflaged by adding additional shingles over the damaged area.

Shingle damage can also occur when hail impacts a shingle and cracks the asphalt coating, which exposes the fiberglass mat underneath to the elements. These shingles are typically referred to as “flaky” or “bald”. A roof repair expert can help identify the source of these issues, and recommend a solution.

To fix a bald or cracked shingle, first locate the damaged area of the shingle by checking the gutters to see if there are any granules scattered around the edges of the shingle. These granules protect the shingle’s asphalt surfacing, and when they are lost the shingles become exposed to the weather and accelerate their aging.

Using a pry bar, loosen the tabs under the damaged shingle and the next two courses above it, by sliding the flat end of the bar under each one (Photo 1). Remove the old shingle, and any nails that remain. Replace the nails with new roofing nails, being careful not to nail over the old nail heads, which can puncture the new shingle.

To add a new shingle, carefully slide the flat end of the pry bar under the shingle above it, and pull up. If needed, a small amount of roof cement can be added to help hold the shingle in place. When all of the shingle is in place, it should be nailed down with the new nails, and the shingles above it should be pushed back down and secured with more sealant. Finally, a light coating of colored granules from the gutter can be sprinkled over the sealant to camouflage the repair.

Damaged Flashings

Roof flashing is usually made of metal, and it’s the part of the roof that connects the shingles to the roof deck. When the flashing is damaged, water may leak into the attic or other rooms of the home. Moisture damage to the flashing may lead to a variety of problems including mold, corrosion, and structural damage.

While roof flashing is more durable than many other parts of a roof, it’s still vulnerable to damage. Signs that roof flashing is leaking or in need of repair include:

Holes in the Flashing

Even the smallest hole in the flashing can allow water to seep beneath the shingles. This can cause major problems if not repaired quickly. Corroded Flashing
When flashing is exposed to moisture and extreme temperatures, it can start to corrode. Rust and corrosion can lead to holes in the flashing, which can be difficult to notice without a close inspection.

Missing Pieces

High winds and severe weather can cause flashing pieces to break away from the roof. Whether the flashing is missing from a vent pipe or an area along the eaves, a quick assessment and replacement will prevent any leaks in the future.

In addition to replacing missing flashing, a professional roofer will inspect the entire roof for any other damage that needs to be addressed. This is especially important after severe weather or if you’re worried that your roof has been affected by storms and snowfall.

One easy and cheap way to prevent a leak in the near future is to install ice and water barriers under the shingle. This is particularly important around areas of the roof that are most likely to leak, such as soffit and main roof joints.

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, Danny Lipford recommends installing a strip of lead sheeting along the eaves. This is a good option if you don’t have the time or skills to replace the flashing yourself.

Damaged Gutters

Gutters are an important part of your roof, safely channeling water away from your house to prevent leaks and damage. But just like any other part of your home, gutters can become damaged over time.

One of the most common gutter problems is clogs. This can happen when leaves, seeds, twigs and other debris settle on the gutters. Over time, this can lead to a clog that stops water from flowing properly. If left unchecked, a clogged gutter can cause water to pool on your roof and eventually seep into your walls and ceilings. This is a serious problem that can cause significant and costly water damage.

Another sign of a clogged gutter is the appearance of stains on your roof and walls. Water that pools on your roof and in your gutters can leave behind unsightly brown spots and rot that need to be repaired. It can also damage shingles, fascia boards and more. It’s best to fix this problem before it becomes a major issue.

Clogged gutters can also damage your home’s foundation by exposing it to excessive moisture. This can lead to cracks and even water in the basement. Thankfully, this problem is easy to catch and fix with regular gutter cleaning and maintenance.

Overflowing water from your gutters is also a good indication of a blockage. When overflowing water occurs, it can lead to damage to the side of your house and even cause leaks in your basement.

In addition to clogs and overflowing water, dents in your gutters are also a sign of damage. Over time, these dents can cause your gutters to pull away from the house or bend outward. This can also damage the gutters’ hangers and fascia boards.

While these problems may seem minor, it’s important to fix them right away. These repairs will keep your gutters in good condition for years to come, and it’ll help protect the rest of your home from damage. So if you notice any of these signs of gutter damage, contact your local roofing company to schedule a repair.

Marcell Kelley