15 DIY Tips for Roof Repair

15 DIY Tips for Roof Repair

A damaged roof will show you that it needs repairs in any way, and even subtle stains on the walls could indicate that your roof is leaking.

Even if severe problems require professional roofing help, some small issues can be solved by any homeowner. Keeping an eye on your roof, cleaning the gutters, and cutting the large tree branches will help, but you shouldn’t hesitate to make little repairs on your roof any now and then. Scroll down to find out the most useful tips for DIY roof repairs that any householder should remember.

1. Avoid using a pressure washer

Avoid using a pressure washer

We know that roof shingles and tiles get dirty, but you shouldn’t use a pressure washer for cleaning. Should you use a pressure washer, you will most likely damage all the little repairs you’ve made. Additionally, you will also reduce the durability of the tiles and even void the warranty. The pressure washer may damage the tiles and shingles, causing leaking and severe damage in time.

You should utilize zinc strips on top of the roof when you try to remove moss. A sanitizing solution made with one-part water, one part distilled vinegar, will also clean the roof very efficiently.

2. It’s possible to layer just once

If you have to replace some of the tiles, it’s possible to have two layers of tiles. However, you won’t be able to remove the top layer and install a new one over it. Moisture, aid, and even more significant problems will occur by applying a second layer over it. We’re talking about reroofing some areas of the roof, and not about replacing the whole roof.

Reroofing some areas of the roof

You may use two layers of tiles if you’re using the same tiles for replacing, without skipping accuracy for the cuts. You may cause a ridge gap, so you will need to be very careful when sealing. Otherwise, your roof isn’t going to look very pretty.

Most of the time, you will add just one layer of shingles or tiles for repairing an area. The chances are that you will not have the identical tiles that you used initially.

3. Find leaks by spraying the roof

Find leaks by spraying the roof

Leaks in the living rooms aren’t always caused by an affected area of the roof over the living room. It’s rarely that obvious.

You should pick up the garden hose and send some water up unto the roof, making sure you don’t reach any power lines. It’s good to try various directions until you discover where water is going through the tiles.

You should also be securely harnessed in order to watch closely over the roof. A garden hose is an excellent tool for identifying a leak.

4. Put away the satellite mounts

Put away the satellite mounts

It’s a tip to consider when re-roofing, as otherwise, you will void the warranty. Some shingles may allow DIY installation without voiding the warranty, which you want to keep available for as long as possible.

Keep in mind the mounts for satellite dishes and HD antennas will typically void the warranty. Suppose you have a cable provider for the satellite service. In that case, they own the satellite, so they will have to come and move/remove the satellite to a different location on the property, where you will still be able to have proper reception.

5. Always look for the cracks

Looking for the cracks on the roof

If you have to nail some shingles, you may observe some cracks. Faulty tiles are typically the primary cause, and it’s only a matter of time until you will deal with more severe damage. Make sure to remove the shingle and replace, while checking it very carefully.

One or two duds may always be found in a pack of shingles, or you may simply hit the wrong angle with the nailer. The risk is still present, even if you have long-time experience.

6. Clean the gutters regularly

Clean the gutters regularly

Gutters make a primary culprit for damaged roofs. Even if it’s not about replacing the tiles or roofing per se, you should still take care of the gutters as they can damage the roof deeply.

If the gutters are filthy, they cause cracks and even break in the side of the roof seams. Ensure that you clean them now and then so that you don’t make useless repairs for your roof.

7. Take a look at the seam

If you’re almost done repairing the area of the roof and adding cement putty to specific areas, you should take a look at the seams of roof tiles. They should be lined up precisely.

You could use some extra putty, and be generous about the quantity you’re using. It’s not about the appearance anymore, as you want everything to be sealed up tightly, as the risk for seam splits is present while performing some DIY repairs on your roof.

8. Don’t skip the roof boots

roof boots repairShould you notice a leak around a pipe or the chimney, you should always check the rubber roof boots. Remove the rubber roof boots, take a perfect look at them, and look for moisture and dry root. Sometimes, removing the roof boots and addressing any matters will be enough.

Some spraying could be very useful, as a skylight leak doesn’t always cause dripping close to the skylight indoors.


9. Observe and repair damaged roof vents

repair damaged roof vents

Keep in mind to take a look at the cracked housings on plastic roof vents and broken seams. Throwing some caulk won’t be a durable solution, and replacing the affected vents is the only solution.

Check to see if there are any missing or pulled nails at the base’s bottom edge, using rubber-washers screws for replacement. You will have to remove the nails under the shingles on all sides, pulling the vent free. Some pins are also on the top of the vent; you may work around them without removing the shingles.

10. Inspect the rubber on metal flashes

The flash around the pipe or chimney isn’t always made of rubber; sometimes, it’s made of metal. You may see close rubber skylights, but metal flashes can also cause leaks when not screwed down accordingly.

Inspect the rubber on metal flashes

It’s possible to utilize rubber washers on the screws you use in the corner of the metal flashes, or rubber right under the metal flash, for better security. A common problem with metal flashes that many DIY roofers dislike is their ability to maintain the shape, despite the weather. As time goes by, the roof shingles will warp, causes gaps between the metal. It doesn’t look pretty, so checking the metal flashes is a regular job to do.

11. Fix the step flashing

Step flashing is installed along walls intersecting the roof. All small areas of flashing direct water over the shingle away from it. In case of rusted flushing, or loose component, the water will easily go behind and into your house.

You will have to replace rusted flashing, which means removing the shingles. You also have to pry siding loose, remove and replace the step flashing. Make sure you don’t forget a nail in place, which will slip down, exposing the wall.

12. Pay attention when prying

Using the pry barYou shouldn’t use the pry bar in a random area without any preparation. If you’re planning to reroof a specific zone, you will have to use a utility knife for cutting out the particular spot.

A chalk line and some tape measure should be within reach as well. As you’re prying, you shouldn’t put too much force in it, even if it’s challenging to handle the shingles. Remember that they were installed to take the long-time use, and you don’t want to cause any more damage. Take your time, as you’re trying to repair the roof, and not create any more problems.

13. Properly manage the curling shingle

Curling roof shingles don’t make the most straightforward DIY repair job. You have to flatten them out for more effortless positioning under the shingles, so use a heating gun to heat and soften them. If the shingles are brittle and thin, it’s a great tip to use, since it’s not going to split/crack them.

Curling roof shingles

Once again, you shouldn’t rush into flattening the curling shingles. Take your time to learn how to use the heating guns to get the proper results and not overdo them.

14. Never ignore small holes

Tiny holes are tricky because they can also cause rot, damage, and leaky roof if not addressed quickly. A satellite dish or some antenna mounting brackets or anything else could create tiny holes in your roof. You will have to pull misplaced roofing nails and never skip patching the holes. Tiny holes have an easy fix, but putting some caulk isn’t the solution.

15.  Check the durability of the repairing materials

Anytime you’re replacing some shingles or tiles, make sure that you get the information about the replacing parts. Ideally, you want to have the same durability and quality as the primary elements. If not possible, make sure at least that the replaced items will take a fair amount of time for use.

FAQs on DIY Roof Repair

Q: What type of soles should your shoes have when fixing the roof?

A: Rubber gives excellent traction, and you can find it in running shoes, work boots, and various footwear that people use when climbing up the roof.

Rubber soles will give you stability, no matter if you’re installing new tiles or shingles or moving on the roof to identify any problems.

Q: Do you need any permits for roof repair?

A: Permits are necessary for any roof jobs, even for those who last for a couple of hours. Some people are very concerned, and they may ask for your permit as you’re prying your roof. It’s wise to stay on the safe side and get a license for every small repair job you’re doing on your roof.

Q: Will it be necessary to use/rent a dumpster?

A: Should you plan to repair and replace the entire roof, you will have to deal with a lot of debris, gutter garbage from cleaning the tiles or shingles.

It’s going to be a lot of garbage, so you should rent a dumpster for keeping it all clean throughout repairs.

Q: Why take a 15-hour OSHA course?

A: You’re not going to need all the information, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. You have to know what to do when dealing with some problems. If you have a friend helping you with the roof repairs, you must ensure safety. Your roof site should be OSHA approved, in case of some misfortune accidents occur.

Q: What’s the best way to secure yourself while fixing the roof?

A: As you are roofing, using a three-point harness is mandatory for your safety. It’s the most effective method as it secures a lot of your body with a small quantity of material, giving you enough freedom of movement.

You should decide on the anchor point, and place the rope on it, while the anchor hook is within reach. Place two leg straps of the harness, tightening the buckle across your chest, without sacrificing your comfort. Someone should give you a hand for securing the anchor point to the harness ring, which is typically found close to the top of the harness, right in the middle of the upper back.

Q: Should you try to replace the roof on your own?

A: Replacing the roof isn’t an easy job, and it takes two to six professional roofers for completing the task. Additionally, you work around the clock, as you have to finish the job before the weather gets too bad; the last thing you want is to have a rain ruining all your progress with the reroofing.

Q: Do you need special tools for fixing the roof?

A: Some essential tools are fundamental for any roof-related job, and you should have them within reach while fixing the roof. Scoop shovel, shingle tear-roof tool, crowbar, utility knife, hatched, and roofing nail guns are some of the many tools you need for roof repairs.

The list also includes an air compressor, caulking gun, chalk line, hammer tacker stapler, tape measure, and even a cordless electric drill. The type of job you have to do will decide the tools you need for performing the task. Do due diligence and find out what tools you need for various roof repairs and head to the store before climbing the roof.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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