How to Repair a Leaking Roof:

Fixing Shingles

1. Check for damage in the roofing material directly above where the leak is coming in. This will likely be easier to find on a flat roof, but leaks can also come into the house a good distance from where the actual roof damage is located. 

• If your roof is slanted, inspect areas on the roof that are higher than where the leak enters the home.

• If you have an attic, inspect it with a flashlight for water stains, black marks or mould.

• Run a hose along different sections of the roof and have a person inside alert you when leaking occurs.

2. Look for damaged, curled or missing shingles near where the leak is coming in. Look closely for exposed roofing tacks, too. 

3. Straighten out shingles that are curled back. In colder weather, this might require that you soften the shingle edge with heat, such as an electric hair dryer. Using a torch or other open flame heat source isn’t recommended since asphalt shingles may be flammable, and regardless of whether they are flame retardant or not, excess heat will ruin the shingle. 

4. Reattach curled-back shingles after straightening with a generous amount of asphalt roof cement or compound around the exposed edges.

5. Replace damaged shingles. If the shingle lifts off the roof with little effort, breaks, or simply crumbles, it needs to be replaced. 

• Remove the old shingle by lifting its edges and prying out the nail.

• Scrape the area underneath it to remove any leftover roofing cement.

• Use a sharp utility knife to round the back corners of the new shingle slightly.

• Slide the new shingle into place and drive 1 1⁄4 inch (3.2 cm) galvanized roofing nails into each upper corner, then cover the nail heads with roof cement.



Rolled Roofing

1. Inspect for cracks or blisters in the roofing material. 

2. Mend the blisters. Cut a line through the middle of the blister with a utility knife, but do not cut the sound roofing felt {substrate) underneath. 

• Squeeze out or soak up any water inside the blister. The area needs to be completely dry.

3. Spread a generous amount of roofing cement under the loose roofing material and press down.

4. Drive galvanized roofing nails along each side of the repaired blister. 

5. Cover the entire top with roofing cement, including the nail heads. 

Damaged Shakes

1. Split damaged shakes with a hammer and chisel.

2. Slide the chisel under the damaged shake and remove the pieces. 

3. Use a hacksaw to cut off the ends of any nails that can’t be pried out. Work around the nails if you can’t saw without damaging the good shakes.

4. Cut a new shake about 3/8 inches (9.5 mm) smaller than the old one using a fine-toothed saw.

5. Slide the new shake into place and hammer it in with 2 galvanized roofing nails. 

• If old nails that you could not saw off are in the way, use a coping saw to cut notches into the shake so it can fit around the nails.

6. Set the heads with a nail set, then seal them with caulking compound. 



1. Inspect areas where surfaces connect, such as a chimney or vent pipe. 

• Look for damage to the caulking, and reapply caulk where necessary.

• Remove damaged or deteriorated caulking so the new application can bond to the roof or flashing surface.

• Use a putty knife to remove the loosened old caulk.

• Clean and dry the area.

• Cut the tip off the caulk tube and spread a bead along the same line, working it into the crack with an applicator. Let it dry.

2. Larger-scale repairs will be necessary if there is damage to the flashing around the chimney or the boots around vents, as these features may need to be replaced. 


Tile Roof Restoration:

1. Removal of your Old Roof – tile roof replacement specialists will strip the existing roofing materials in preparation for the new tiles. At this point, any underlying water damage or corrosion can also be assessed.

2. Sarking Fitted onto the Frame (if required) – As a protective skin under your roof, roof sarking acts as an additional layer of protection and insultation for your home.

3. Installation of battens – fix the roof battens in preparation for the new tiles.

4. New tiles are laid – Brand new terracotta or cement roof tiles are laid down and secured to protect against water and debris.

5. Ridge capping re-bedded and re-pointed – re-bed and point the ridges of your roof, sealing the edges with flexible pointing compounds. 

Metal Roof Replacement:

1. Removal of your Old Roof – Out with the chippec concrete, corroded iron or tired tin – metal roof replacement specialists will strip the existing roofing materials in preparation for the new sheets.

2. Installation of battens – The battens act as fixing points. Secure the metal sheets and cover with a batten roll joint. 

Roof Replacement:

So when do you stop patching and start planning to replace the roof? Obviously one good hint is when, no matter how many times you call the roofer out, the roof still leaks. An aging roof can only be repaired for so long before it has to be replaced. Once the roof becomes brittle and starts to split, there is no patch that will permanently cure it. In that case, a better strategy is to perform emergency repairs as they are needed instead of wasting whatever roofing money is available trying to save a failed roof.

Waiting too long can result in an unsafe condition in the building and an extremely high cost to fix the roof. One warehouse had repairs done to the roof for about five years because the building was unoccupied and the owner did not want to spend the money to replace the roof. Unfortunately, the leaks were so pervasive that the steel deck rusted through underneath the roof. So, while at one time a relatively inexpensive re-cover would have been an option, now the owner needed a complete tear off and, worse, a total replacement of the steel deck to make the building safe again. Correcting this mistake will cost about four times what the re-cover would have been five years ago. To make matters worse, the building is now occupied and replacing the deck may lead to terrible complications with the tenant.

Long-term repairs can stretch the life of the roof if they are done promptly and according to good roofing practice. Ignoring the roof will not make your problems go away — they will just get bigger and more expensive to fix. Repairs should be done in conjunction with a well-managed plan for roof inspection and maintenance to be sure the repairs catch little problems that if left alone will cause the roof to fail sooner. Remember, all roofs will need replacement eventually. Knowing when that will be is the last step in the repair sequence. If you do not feel comfortable predicting the demise yourself, a qualified consulting architect or engineer can help steer you in the proper direction by providing regular inspections, moisture surveys, and plans and specifications for repairs, re-covers, maintenance coatings and replacements.