Afternoon thunderstorms and leaky ceilings may have you thinking about patching a roof yourself. You may think it’s as easy as climbing up there and tacking on some new shingles, but there are some important factors you will need to know before fixing your leak. Here we will cover the pros (detection and patching) and the cons (finding the leak, adequacy and aesthetics) of patching a roof.
Detecting leaks is the first and easiest step. If you’ve noticed any stained ceiling areas or water dripping or running down the wall, you know you have a leak. Finding the leak is the most difficult step, however, small leaks can lead to devastating damage. Because of this, many people seek professional help when it comes to patching a roof. Remember, no matter how small or insignificant the leak seems, immediate repair is very necessary. Leaks can lead to mold and rot and will escalate the price of repair the longer you let it go untreated.
The Bad News
Look at upwards at your roof. Begin from the approximate location of the stained or dripping ceiling moving upwards towards the peak of your roof. The entry point can be located anywhere in the top 180 degrees, meaning anywhere to the left or right and all the way up. The most common areas are penetrations – areas of your roof where you have pipes, ventilation, chimneys, skylights, etc. Finding the damaged area is easier where you can spot water stains or mold. If you do not have attic access, you will need to get up on top of your roof with a hose.
Find or force a buddy to help you. You will need someone on the inside while you or your buddy uses the hose. Section off your suspect area into 3’x3’ to 4’x4’ spaces above and to the sides. You will have to limit the water to only cover certain sections in order to narrow down where the leak is. A quicker way to locate it, although more labor intensive, is by peeling off the shingles. This way you can find the stained paper or rotted wood.
If the leak was caught quickly enough, a patch can prevent damage. However, if there is significant damage, further repair is necessary and professional help may be required. The last bit of bad news is, aesthetically, the patch may stand out from the rest of your roof.
The Good News
Once you have found your leak, patching it is simple and fast. There are, however, many types of leaks which require different types of patches. It is best to ask your roofing professional for which type of match is best for your leak.