How to Do Simple Roofing Repairs

Reroofing is a major project that should usually be carried out by a professional contractor, but skilled DIYers can often handle small-scale repairs.

From:

The most common problems with a tiled roof are broken tiles (slates, or shingles), missing tiles and damage to a valley. These may be due to natural wear and tear, or as a result of storm damage, for example. This article shows steps to replacing a few types of tile, and three common valley structures.

The method needed for replacing a roof covering will depend on the type of tile or shingle in use. For instance, the steps below show a simple way of replacing a tile, but you may need to alter them slightly, as described alongside the steps. To remove a slate, you may prefer to use a slate ripper rather than a hacksaw blade (as shown). Slate rippers are specially designed to remove fasteners that are under a row of slates, but they are specialty tools and probably not worth buying unless you are likely to replace a lot of slates. With wooden shingles, the problem may have to do with waterproofing rather than breakages: damp shingles may buckle or rot. Replace split or damaged shingles so that they do not allow moisture to penetrate into or through the roof. Replacing asphalt shingles is easier because they are flexible, so they can simply be lifted up to give access to the fasteners beneath them.

Cutting a Tile or Shingle

Slide New Shingle into Position and Nail Secure

Slide New Shingle into Position and Nail Secure

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Wedge Tiles Up Above Broken Ones to Repair

Wedge Tiles Up Above Broken Ones to Repair

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Position New Tile Flush with Neighboring Tiles

Position New Tile Flush with Neighboring Tiles

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Wooden shingles and shakes can be cut with a saw, and asphalt shingles can be cut with a utility knife. Clay and concrete tiles are best cut using an angle grinder. Slates can be scored by running a sharp nail along a guide line, and then snapped along that line, or they can be split apart by tapping the scored line with the edge of a trowel.

Tiles with nibs may be nailed in place, so those nails may need to be cut free. Otherwise, lift the old tile free of the furring strip, and lip the end of a new one over the furring strip. With inter-locking or single-lap tiles, wedge up the tiles next to the damaged one, as well as those above it, as shown here, to undo the interlocking joints.

Wedge up the tiles above the broken one, so that you can access it (Image 1). Unhook the tile from the furring strip and lift out the broken tile.

Remove Loose Pieces of Slate from Roof

Remove Loose Pieces of Slate from Roof

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Nail Strip of Lead Over Exposed Vertical Joint

Nail Strip of Lead Over Exposed Vertical Joint

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Position New Slate to Replace Old One on Roof

Position New Slate to Replace Old One on Roof

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Bend Lead to Secure Into Position on Roof

Bend Lead to Secure Into Position on Roof

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Position the new tile, hooking its nibs over the furring strip and ensuring that it is securely attached (Image 2). Remove the wedges from the adjoining tiles, and check that the new tile is sitting flush with the neighboring tiles.

Remove any loose pieces of slate, then cut away the nails with a hacksaw blade wound in tape at the "handle" end (Image 1).

Nail a strip of lead over the exposed vertical joint between slates, securing into the furring strip below (Image 2). You can use clips instead.

Position a new slate to replace the old one, ensuring that it fits well (Image 3).

Use Hammer and Chisel to Remove Broken Shingle

Use Hammer and Chisel to Remove Broken Shingle

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Use Hacksaw to Cut Through Shingle Nails

Use Hacksaw to Cut Through Shingle Nails

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Slide New Shingle into Position and Nail Secure

Slide New Shingle into Position and Nail Secure

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Bend the lead or clip up over the new slate to secure it in position (Image 4).

Use a hammer and chisel to split and remove the broken shingle (Image 1).

Wind tape around one end of a hacksaw blade to form a "handle" by which to hold it. Use the blade to cut through the shingle's nails (Image 2).

Use Pry Bar to Lever Up Nails in Damaged Shingle

Use Pry Bar to Lever Up Nails in Damaged Shingle

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Loosen Nails at Top and Bottom of Shingles Above

Loosen Nails at Top and Bottom of Shingles Above

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Slide New Strip of Shingles Into Position

Slide New Strip of Shingles Into Position

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Hide Nails by Knocking in With Hammer and Pry Bar

Hide Nails by Knocking in With Hammer and Pry Bar

Photo by: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Slide the new shingle into position and secure it in place with nails as close as possible to the row above (Image 3). Seal along the edges of the shingle, and across the nail heads, with a sealant.

Use a pry bar to lever up the nails in the damaged strip of shingles (Image 1). Then remove it.

Loosen the nails at the top and bottom of the strip of shingles above, so that you can slide the new strip of shingles in underneath it (Image 2).

Slide the new strip of shingles up and into position (Image 3).

RX-DK-DIY206038_asphalt-open-va-With-Text_s4x3

RX-DK-DIY206038_asphalt-open-va-With-Text_s4x3

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

RX-DK-DIY206039_lead-valley-With-Text_s4x3

RX-DK-DIY206039_lead-valley-With-Text_s4x3

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

RX-DK-DIY206040_shingle-wove-va-With-Text_s4x3

RX-DK-DIY206040_shingle-wove-va-With-Text_s4x3

©2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

2007 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Hide nails by placing the end of the pry bar over them, and hitting it farther down the shank of the bar with a hammer to knock them in (Image 4).

A valley can be constructed from lead or other metals such as tin, from plastic, or from special valley tiles or shingles. Repairing a leaking valley will normally involve stripping back the tiles, slates, or shingles from along the valley edge to expose the structure, and then replacing the damaged part. Tiles or similar coverings may well have been cut to the right size to follow the valley course. Chalk numbers on them as you remove them, so that you can put them back in the right order. Not all valleys have flashing on them; some are made with shaped tiles or even with shingles cut to fit across the valley. Assess your repair requirements according to the type of valley you have. Three types of valleys are shown here.

Image 1: Asphalt Open Valley
Image 2: Lead Valley
Image 3: Single Woven Valley

Next Up

How to Fix Common Problems on Entry Doors

Learn how to repair dents, replace a threshold, stop squeaky hinges, fix air leaks and more.

How to Repair Faucets

Learn how to fix common problems with kitchen and bathroom faucets.

Simple Home Repairs

Nagging little problems are the bane of every homeowner's existence, and the professionals charge big bucks for repairs. Here are some fast fixes you can do yourself.

Maintaining Roof Shingles

These tips and general information on cleaning and preserving roof shingles will help keep a home looking maintained in the long term.

Roofing Buyer's Guide

Learn how to tell if it's time to replace your roof, and get information on the latest roofing materials and approximate costs.

Frame by Frame: The Roof

Check out this helpful information concerning roofing options and installation.

Roofing and Flashing Tips

A bad roof can be a mold generator. Check out these tips for keeping a roof maintained and preventing mold in a home.

All About Roofs: Pitches, Trusses and Framing

Learn about the basic types of pitched roofs and roof frame designs.

A Roof Over Your Head: Choosing Materials

Check out this information regarding the various types of materials that can be used to cover a roof, as well as which ones might be best for you.

Tips on How to Weatherproof a Roof

Use these expert tips to protect your home. Learn how to keep the elements out and comfort in.

Stories We're Following

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Discover Made + Remade

See the latest DIY projects, catch up on trends and meet more cool people who love to create.

Make It. Fix It. Learn It. Find It.