How to Repair a Leak in a Shingle Roof

Has your shingle roof developed a leak? The good thing about shingled roofs is that damage is localized in most of the cases, and there are set areas where damage is prone to manifest.

Leaks and other problems on shingled roofs normally occur where the two shingles meet, or areas around chimneys and vents where the pieces cannot fit exactly. There might also be some defect in the flashing around slopes and curves. So whenever there is a leak, in most of the cases you will be able to locate the problem areas fairly quickly.

In case the leakage is happening and you are unable to figure out where the problem is, you may have to call in a professional roofer to fix your roof.

If it’s the curling shingles that is causing leakage, and if the problem is concentrated on a particular area, you can straighten your shingles with little effort. Curling happens over a period of time and the corners of the shingles bend upwards or downwards causing gaps. This can happen due to faulty nailing, lack of ventilation and contraction and expansion due to varying temperatures. If the weather is warm you can simply straighten the curls but if it is very cold you will first need to warm them up otherwise the brittleness caused by the chilly weather will break them. To warm warm the shingles you can use a heat gun. Once you have warmed them, you can apply force to straighten them.

If the shingle has come off you can apply cement under it and then press it firmly against the roof.

Some shingles might be gone, rotten or missing due to various reasons. You may have to mend them or completely replace them.

Through the following steps you can replace damaged shingles:

  • Use the pry bar to remove the nails of the damaged shingle. There might be different materials stuck between the gaps so you may have to put some pressure to clear the way for the pry bar. After you have removed the nails you can take out the damaged shingle either with your pry bar or your hands by sliding it out. You can also use a chisel to loosen the damaged shingle.
  • Insert the new or repaired shingle into the gap. You can make the front and side edges smooth with the help of a utility knife if the new shingle gets stuck in the adjacent shingles. After smoothing the edges, insert the shingle again.
  • In case you want a smaller shingle piece use a fine-toothed hacksaw to cut out the needed piece.
  • You can lift the corners of the adjacent shingles so that you can easily drive the nails through each corner of the new shingle. After that you can straighten the edges of the overlapping shingles. To firm up the repair you can also put some cement on the nails.

In case you have to repair multiple shingles in a row it makes sense to replace all the shingles even if a couple of them are undamaged. This way you just need to round the back corners where the top row meets the row below the damaged row and then insert the replacements one by one.

To further plug the leaky roof, as already mentioned above, thoroughly inspect the flashing area around the chimney and skylights to make sure individual parts haven’t come off or developed cracks. In case the metal flashing is not caulked at various places you can inject cement in the gaps with a caulking gun. You can also use a putty knife to apply roof cement on areas that seem to have developed irregular edges and gaps. If you find blisters on the shingles you can use a regular knife to clear away grime and dust particles (otherwise they will give rise to fungi very soon) and then apply roof cement on the spot.

Small scale repairing can be carried out by yourself or your family member but if large scale leaking needs to be taken care of it’s always advisable to call professional help.

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