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How to Patch a Roof Leak

The appearance of a water stain on your ceiling or wall is incredibly alarming. In the absence of a plumbing problem, the water typically means that you have a roof leak. Roofs throughout the Delaware Valley take a beating from the seasonal fluctuations all year long. In the event of storm damage, you may need to know how to patch a roof leak to halt water penetration quickly. Prolonged water penetration from a roof leak will cause damage throughout your entire home. Resealing your roof is essential to protect your property. If you need help with a roof repair or if it’s time to replace your roof completely, contact the the expert roofers at PJ Fitzpatrick. Over the past 40 years we’ve replaced over 20,000 roofs throughout Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

How to Patch a Roof Leak Directions

  1. Determine the source of the leak.
    1. Curled, broken, or missing shingles are likely culprits.
    2. Flashing pulling away from chimneys and vents presents another obvious source of water penetration.
  2. Scan your roof with binoculars to find the damaged area.
  3. Check roof areas above where you see the leak on the inside because water flows downward.
  4. Once you spot the suspected source of the leak, gather your tools.
  5. Mount the ladder in a stable place and climb onto the roof very carefully.
  6. Follow the steps for how to patch a roof leak outlined below depending on what you encounter.

Deteriorated flashing

  1. With a putty knife, scrape away cracked caulk and roofing cement as much as possible.
  2. Load a caulk gun with roofing cement and reseal all joints.
  3. Smooth cement with a putty knife, ensuring that no gaps remain.

Curling asphalt shingles

  1. You may be able to flatten curled shingles that have exposed your roof decking.
  2. Asphalt shingles are most pliable in warm weather.
  3. Try to choose a sunny day for fixing curled shingles.
  4. Unbend the shingles and apply roofing cement to their undersides.
  5. Press the shingles flat against the roof until the cement holds.

Broken or missing shingles

  1. Shingles can crack, rot, or get blown off in strong winds.
  2. To replace them, obtain matching asphalt shingles.
    1. You may have some leftover shingles stored in your garage or shed from the original roofing job.
  3. Identify all damaged shingles or bare areas.
  4. Take a pry bar and gently lift up undamaged shingles surrounding the damaged area.
  5. Pull out nails securing broken shingles.
  6. Grab damaged shingles and slide them out.
  7. Remove any residues on the roof with a putty knife.
  8. Pound any remaining nails flat against the roof.
  9. Carve off a portion of the back corners of the new shingle with a utility knife, leaving the corners rounded.
    1. The rounded corners aid the process of sliding the replacement shingle beneath existing shingles.
  10. Align the new shingle with the row of shingles.
  11. Carefully lift existing shingles and drive 6d galvanized roofing nails through the new shingle.
  12. Dab roofing cement over nail heads.
  13. Push the new shingles down so they’re flat against the roof.
  14. Let flaps of existing shingles fall back into place over new the shingle.

Tools & Materials

  • Ladder
  • Binoculars
  • Pry bar
  • Caulk gun
  • Utility knife
  • Hammer
  • Putty knife

Talk to Professional Roofers

Damaged asphalt shingles and aging seals around flashing are both signs that you may need roof repair or replacement. Unfortunately before you noticed the leak, it’s possible that water may have caused your roof decking to rot. The professional roofers at PJ Fitzpatrick can inspect your home to determine if there are any underlying issues. We can perform durable repairs or install a new roof when shingles have exceeded their life span. Talk to us today about a roofing estimate.

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