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How to Do Your Own Minor Roof Repairs

Regardless of your roof type, there's a good chance that at some point you'll need some small repairs. Because roofing products such as tile or slate can be damaged simply by walking on them incorrectly, their repairs almost always require an expert. If you have a shingle roof, however, there's no reason why you can't fix its small problems.

Instructions for Common Roof Repairs

Some major roof repairs require a professional, but if you're comfortable with heights and have a ladder, you generally can handle minor problems yourself. Always properly secure your ladder and follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety guidelines when working on your roof, as a fall from even one story can cause serious injuries. If you're at all concerned about being able to work safely, hire a roofing contractor instead. And for a roof repair quote, you may fill out the form to the right.

Age and the elements can combine to create issues with your roof that, if not tended to, can lead to possible roof leaks. Afternoon sun can cause caulking and rubber boots to dry out and crack, potentially allowing water intrusion. Strong wind and rain can loosen and tear off shingles, leading to future leaking. Even winter snow can bend back shingles and break tabs. Repairing roof problems when they're small can help prevent future larger issues that could involve restoration work on your home's interior.

Here are some roof problems you probably could repair:


  • Loose or Missing Shingles: To replace a missing shingle, with a pry bar, gently raise the shingles above the missing shingle's spot and remove any nails that might prevent sliding the shingle back into place. Install and nail the problem shingle. Insert nails wherever else they're missing.
  • Cracked Caulking: Depending on your home's type of siding, you may have areas on your roof where flashing is caulked, like around your chimney and against a brick veneer. As caulking cracks from age and sunshine, these locations become ripe for roof leaks from melting snow. Scrape away the old caulk, and apply a new bead in its place.
  • Worn Plumbing Boots: Nearly all homes have plumbing vent stacks of various sizes penetrating their roofs. They're covered with plastic or rubber plumbing boots for waterproofing. However, as boots age, they can crack and pieces can fall away, creating a gap that's susceptible to leakage. To repair, simply place a new boot and cap seal over the existing boot. Most home improvement stores and plumbing supply distributors sell these boots.

Taking care of your own small roof repairs can help prevent roof leaks and the accompanying high repair costs.

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Roofing vs. Reroofing

Roofing vs. Reroofing

If you come to find out that your roof has been damaged and needs to be fixed then there are two main approaches you can take. You can either decide to make a roof repair or replace the entire roof. Roof repairs will generally save you time and money, but in most cases a new roof is the best option. As a general rule of thumb, if the existing roof on is only one layer and there are no problems with the roof deck, a new roof is not necessary.

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