When you’ve got a water leak inside your home that’s coming from your roof, there’s only one reason for it: the flow of water from your roof to the ground through normal channels is being impeded. In other words, the water would normally run off your roof – roofs are designed to do that. However, when there is a leak the water isn’t getting to leave the roof the way it normally should, so it tries to find another way out. Your job when it comes to home roof repair is to stop the water from causing a leak, and that’s done by finding where the leak is coming from, fixing the hole or gap that the water is getting through, and ensuring that the water is flowing properly so it won’t keep returning to the area where you fixed the leak or areas nearby. Getting into the attic is the first step. You can look to see if the underside of your roof decking has any water damage on it.
Finding this water damage can help you determine where the leak is coming from, and it’s often easier than carefully searching the entire roof looking for the culprit. If the leak is a small one, there isn’t any structural damage, and none of the decking has to be replaced, some roofing tar or sealant can occasionally be enough to fix the problem.
Other times, the repair will be a bit larger, and flashing roofing tar, and nails will be needed. If there are damaged shingles causing the leak they should be replaced as quickly as possible. If you can’t replace the shingle and you need to repair the roof right away (i.e. there’s a big rain storm coming), you should take the shingle loose, apply a generous coating of tar, and put the shingle back.
Try to use the same nails holes. If you cannot, then tar over the old ones, heavily. Put a little bit of tar on the shingles that overlap the one you repaired, too, just to help things seal together again. If the leak is coming from the area around a pipe, chimney, or vent, a coat of tar or sealant around these can usually stop any problems. If the flashing has been damaged, though, it should be replaced. Flashing can be purchased at home improvement stores, and it’s not difficult to replace, so it’s another one of those roof repairs that you can do yourself.
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