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How to Repair a Leaky Roof

Learn how to fix different types of roofs including flat roofs, asphalt shingles and flashing.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

More in Home Improvement

Coat Nails with Adhesive and Press in Place

Learn How To:

Patch a Flat Roof

Small holes in a flat roof can be patched with a specially made primer and patching system. The technique will vary slightly according to manufacturer; that shown here is typical. This repair requires dry conditions.

Materials and Tools:
primer and patching system
brush
scissors
flat-roof roller

Dust off any loose material from the damaged area. Apply primer to the area, overlapping it onto the undamaged part of the roof (Image 1).

Allow primer to dry if instructed to. Cut some self-adhesive patching material to cover the hole and overlap onto the sound roof (Image 2).

Apply the patch to the primed area, and smooth it by hand. Then smooth it with a flat-roof roller, ensuring a good seal (Image 3).

Repair Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles typically last between 15 and 20 years if they are properly maintained. If you have a torn or broken shingle, rain can penetrate around the nails and cause damage to your home.

Materials and Tools:
asphalt shingle
prybar
hammer
roofing nails
roofing adhesive

Lift the damaged shingle from the roof (Image 1), then pull the nails out and completely remove the damaged shingle (Image 2).

Use a pry bar to lift the tab above the damaged area (Image 3).

Cut a shingle to length and slide it into position (Image 4).

Using roofing nails to fasten the shingle (Image 5).

Coat the head of each nail with adhesive and press the shingle in place (Image 6).

Fix Other Systems

  • Laminated roofing shingles are thicker than standard asphalt and may require longer nails or staples to fasten them securely.
  • Wood shake roofing can last about 30 years before it needs to be replaced, but it can become damaged through warping or shrinking and require a similar repair to asphalt.

Repair a Leak in Flashing

Leaks are most likely where flashing has been installed badly or has failed. The repair shown here can be used if lead flashing is channeled into a wall. Lead wedges can be used instead of clips.

Materials and Tools:
dusting brush
screwdriver
flashing clips
lead sealant
sealant dispenser

Dust any debris from the joint, removing any old mortar or sealant as required (Image 1).

Use the end of a screwdriver to push flashing clips into the joint to hold lead firmly in place (Image 2).

Run a continuous bead of lead sealant along the joint (Image 3).

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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