By Amy DeYoung
Updated Nov 18, 2022
By Amy DeYoung
Updated Nov 18, 2022
Understandably, roof repairs are incredibly challenging and intimidating tasks for homeowners to consider DIYing. However, many roofing repairs are simple and can save you money.
Before you start, assess your roof, and identify what roofing problems you’re dealing with. For example, you may be struggling with water damage and roof leaks. If this is your situation, you’ll need to identify where the leaks are coming from and then consider DIY options for repairing the leaks.
To help, we’re sharing a list of DIY roof repairs you can do on your own to save money and keep your roof well-maintained.
Roofing shingles protect it from inclement weather, such as rain, snow, and natural disasters, like hurricanes. Damaged shingles often occur after heavy winds hit and carry the shingles off the roof, ultimately damaging them and exposing it.
Fortunately, many roof shingle projects can be tackled by homeowners as long as the damage isn’t too severe. For this DIY project, you’ll need a sturdy ladder, slip-resistant, rubber-soled shoes, and someone who can spot you.
If the shingles are severely damaged or missing, you’ll need to purchase new shingles before replacing them. If the shingles are intact, simply replace them with a bit of roofing cement to secure them in place.
If you frequently experience storm damage, consider replacing your shingles with asphalt shingles which are often used in areas that experience severe weather conditions.
Roof flashing is a thin metal on your roof that diverts water away from sensitive parts of your roof. As time passes, the flashing can rust or experience storm damage, leading to leaks. Fortunately, many homeowners can make minor repairs to the flashing.
If parts of the flashing are rusty or damaged, you can patch these areas with roofing cement. Start by sanding away rusty areas, then cover the area with a small amount of roofing cement. If the hole is too large to fill in with roofing cement, consider hiring a professional to replace the flashing entirely or cover it with the same material as the flashing. Remember that the latter will look unattractive and is a temporary fix.
Examine your roof for cracked housings on plastic roof vents and broken seams on metal roof vents. If you find cracks, replace the damaged vent. Do not attempt to repair these cracks with caulk because this will be a short-term solution.
Check for missing or pulled nails at the bottom of the roof vents and remove the roofing nails so you can pull the roof vents off the roof. Loosen the nails on the top of the vents too. Be careful not to remove the shingles during this process.
Next, replace the roof vent with a new one and screw it to your roof tightly with rubber-washer screws. Use a bead of caulk beneath the shingles on the sides of the vent to keep the shingles from shifting and to add a water barrier to your roof.
Water damage from leaks can break down parts of your home over time, damage insulation and the interior of your home, and much more. If you have minor roofing leaks, you may be able to tackle them on your own.
For starters, it’s always ideal to repair your leaky roof from the inside of your home rather than putting your safety at risk by climbing on top of your roof. You can often temporarily repair minor leaks by sealing the leak’s source from the inside.
Start by locating the source of the leak and where water is spilling into your attic. This process can be challenging, and you may need to hose your roof with water first to help you see where the water is dripping through. Look for common signs of leaks, like nearby water damage and black mold spots on the wood.
Once you’ve found the leak, place a tarp on it. You can also smear tar on your roof to stop the water from coming in. However, this is not usually compatible with slow-slope membranes and may ruin your roofing shingles. Using tar can void any homeowners warranty that you have.
If the leak continues to return, contact a professional roofer to handle the problem.
Adding insulation to your attic is an easy DIY roofing job that can improve your energy bills and help your home stay at a more comfortable temperature without straining your HVAC system. In addition, it can prevent ice dams from forming, which can damage your roof and gutters over time.
The side effects of poor insulation can cost you a lot of money, so it may be a surprise to learn that spray foam insulation is typically inexpensive and can result in considerable savings. Visit your local hardware store and buy spray foam insulation, then use this to fill in small holes and cracks in your attic to keep your home from experiencing heat loss. Do not fill in any intake vents, as this can cause mold and condensation problems.
Brick chimneys are susceptible to leaks, and the flashing around the chimney can quickly rust, particularly if it’s galvanized steel. A long-term, reasonably simple fix is to slide new flashing under the rusted flashing. If water seeps under the rusted flashing, the new flashing will divert it, preventing water damage.
If you’re feeling especially handy, you can cut a saw kerf into the chimney’s mortar and install new flashing.
Water can sneak into your home by leaking through the cracks and knotholes in your roof’s siding.
Roof dormers have many spots where water can enter and drip into your roof. Often, the caulk is old, missing, or cracked, allowing water to penetrate through the cracks and enter the home. The caulk may even look intact but be missing parts.
To fix this, dig around the caulking on your roof dormers and walls with a putty knife to check if the entire area is sealed. Dig out any aged or cracked caulk and replace it with fresh, high-quality caulk. While you’re at it, check the siding above the roof’s step flashing and replace any pieces of siding. Check that the siding overlaps by at least two inches to protect your roof from leaks.
The ultimate answer as to whether you should repair your roof depends on several factors, including your personal abilities and comfort level, your budget, and the severity of your roofing problems. If your roof inspection indicates that you need a new roof or a lot of roof work, it’s best left to professional roofing contractors. Otherwise, consider what DIY repair options you feel comfortable doing. Check your home warranty to see if any type of roof maintenance is covered before making your final decision.
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