Learn How To Fix A Leaking Roof On Your Own In Simple Steps

Roof leaks are no fun. Nobody would like to witness water dripping from the ceiling. Your home should provide you with a sense of security and protection from the outside. Unfortunately, whether you like it or not, outdoor elements like rain and snow can find their way into your home.

Water dripping from ceiling into plastic bucket on floor in living room

Accidents happen, and when they do, it’s best to act as quickly as possible – especially if your property is at risk of water damage. If you notice that your roof is leaking, there are a few things you can do to stop the leak and prevent further damage. Below, you will find all the necessary information to fix your leaking roof.

4 common signs that you may have a roof leak

Let’s take it from the top! Do you really have an issue with your roof? Here’s what you need to check:

1. Missing shingles

If you have a shingled roof, it could be damaged by strong winds and heavy rain or snow. If it is lifted or missing some parts, that damaged area of your roof will be vulnerable to water absorption.

2. Blocked gutters

The gutters on your roof are essential for preventing water from gathering and soaking through your roofing materials. They direct rain and melted snow down the roof in the proper direction.

Water won’t be able to escape if your gutters are obstructed by leaves or other debris, which could lead to a leak.

3. Ceiling stains

If you spot some water stains on walls and ceilings, chances are you have a leaky roof. The difficult part is just to locate where the leak is. If you’re wondering how to clean them you can check our article. But the thing is, that you need to solve this!

water-damaged ceiling, close-up of a stain on the ceiling

Even minor leaks can have significant consequences such as mould, lost insulation, rotten frame and sheathing, and damaged ceilings.

4. Light coming through the roof

Light coming in through your roof could indicate that there are cracks or holes that need to be repaired as soon as possible. Examine your roof to see whether repairs may be made or if a complete roof replacement is required.

How to find roof leaks

Finding the source of a leak can be difficult since water frequently travels from the point of entrance. This means that the indicators of a leak and the actual leak are two different things.

Grab a flashlight and go into your attic during the day to discover the cause of a leak. Just step on the large support beams and avoid the insulation or the top side of the ceiling.

Begin your search at the point where the ceiling leak occurred and look for evidence of water damage, discolouration, mould, and dampness.

Switch off the lights and look for daylight shining spots through major fractures or holes. Examine the rest of the roof for any other signs of damage once you’ve located the source of the leak.

Safety tips you should follow

Working on a roof is risky, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t do it yourself or that only a professional roofer can do it. Before attempting a roof repair, just keep the following safety measures in mind:

  • Repairing a roof should be done on a sunny day when it is entirely dry because a slick, damp roof will be quite dangerous.
  • For any roofing repairs, adequate safety precautions must be followed. Use safety ropes at all times
  • Use a ladder framework to offer solid anchoring on steep rooftops.

Man Cleaning Gutters on Ladder

  • When working on a roof, use rubber-soled shoes as they provide the finest traction.
  • Keep in mind the location of power lines before you start fixing!

How to fix a leaky roof step-by-step

Now that you know all you need for this project, it’s time to start with the steps.

1. Examine the roof vents

Roof vents include turbines, attic fans, plumbing soil stack pipes, and any feature with metal flashing that normally extends over the roofline.

Damaged plywood roof decking could also be the source of the roof leak. Go to the top of the roof and inspect the condition of the roof vents. It’s possible that the vents themselves have become dislodged. Check for missing or displaced nail heads that secure them to the roof.

2. Remove all damaged roof vents

Remove the roof vent that has been damaged from the top of the roof. To begin, remove the nails and use the pry bar to pull the shingles that cover the vent’s base apart. 

The asphalt shingles should not be removed. Remove the roof deck nails and then remove the vent.

3. Replace the roof vent

Apply a thick bead of roofing cement or outside sealer on the bottom of the vent’s flashing. Nail the vent in place at all four corners and every 10 centimetres. Apply a coat of cement or sealant to the nails as well.

4. Remove the old shingles off the roof

To get to the damaged section of the roof deck, you’ll need to remove the old damaged shingles. Slide the pry bar beneath them and begin shingling roughly two rows above the intended repair spot. Then, work your way down the rows, while prying nails loose.

5. Remove the old roofing paper from the roof

The shingles will be separated from the roofing deck by roofing paper or synthetic underlayment. So, you will need to cut the paper or underlayment with a utility knife or a putty knife and keep as much of the original structure as possible.

6. Make a mark on the deck cut area

Draw a chalk line along the roof rafters on both the left and right sides. To get to the rafter centre, use existing nails as a guide. Then, both above and below the damaged part, snap a chalk line across or 90 degrees to the rafters.

7. Cut any damaged roof deck

Set the circular saw blade depth to 0.15 cm more than the thickness of the roofing deck. Cut the damaged part of the roof deck by following the chalk lines. When cutting, make sure to kneel outside of the marked-off area.

A man removing rotten wood from leaky roof and repairing it

8. Now remove the roof deck

Pull the nails from the cut-out area of the roof deck with the pry bar. Then, pry the damaged plywood away from the rest of the board, but don’t throw it away just yet.

9. Remove the old roof deck patch and replace it with a new one

Mark the dimensions of the new roof deck repair using the damaged portion of the roof deck as a template. You can cut this on the ground for your own safety.

10. Attach the roof deck patch 

Set the roof deck patch in place and secure it to the rafters with 8D common nails on the roof.

11. Place a paper or underlayment 

Nail the roofing paper or underlayment down using roofing nails, starting at the bottom and working your way up. Each row should be at least 10 cm apart.

12. Complete the first row 

Lay the first row of new shingles from the bottom up and put them from left to right to maintain the established rows. Apply a bead of roof cement using a caulking gun and nail the shingles down with a nail gun.

Worker in uniform work installing asphalt on top of the roof of a house

13. Finish up

Work your way upwards until you reach the top row. By sliding the new shingles under the top row, they will mesh with the current ones.

How to prevent leaks in the roof

If you want to avoid getting in trouble with your roof, it’s better to take some precautions. Here are some good tips:

1. Make routine roof inspections a high priority

With a comprehensive roof inspection done on a regular basis, all of that hassle and potential damage can be avoided. To function correctly, your roof, like any other part of your home, requires some upkeep and care.

2. Examine the attic regularly 

Before you begin evaluating various components of your flat roof from the outside, make sure that nothing within your home is creating leaks.

Because the attic is perhaps the least obvious source of a roof leak, it’s no surprise that it’s frequently disregarded. Homeowners aren’t often aware of all the features of their attic and how they affect other parts of the house.

3. Consider installing waterproof barriers

Install waterproof barriers for roofs at eaves, vents, chimneys, dormers, skylights, and other prone-to-leak spots to prevent leaks. Waterproof barriers, as the name implies, keep water from seeping through your roof and causing damages from water, mould, and mildew.

Roofing contractors are installing waterproof protection barrier on the roof

4. Install pre-manufactured flashings 

Roof leaks are frequently caused by your roof flashing. Roof flashing is a type of flashing that is used to deflect water away from your roof’s weak spots.

To prevent water from seeping in between the different elements of the roof and into your home, these spots must be properly fitting, sturdy, and resistant. Install pre-fabricated new flashing along all roof openings, such as chimneys, dormers, and skylights, to prevent leaks and further damage. You can find it at any home improvement centre or hardware store.

What happens if you ignore a roof leak?

Here is what will happen if you choose to ignore a roof leak:

1. Mould growth

A little leak may not seem like a major concern at times, but if you ignore a couple of water stains more frequently, it will do a lot more than just soaking things. Mould will develop everywhere there is a source of water.

When water gets into drywalls, insulation, or ceiling, it creates the ideal environment for mould to grow, which can lead to a more serious problem.

2. Full roof replacement

Nobody likes to replace a roof unless you absolutely have to. So, when you have the opportunity to extend its life, why not take advantage? Fixing tiny leaks as soon as they appear is one of the best ways to ensure your roof lasts longer.

Close-up of a shocked woman looking at mould on wall

Repairing your roof will prevent additional damage and it also lowers future costs if yours has only been on your property for a short period of time. A leaking roof, after all, does not give the comfort and security that keeps you and your family safe, so once this happens, remember to act quickly! Next project: Learn how to fix ceiling cracks and how to paint your ceiling like a pro!

Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend