Your roof protects everything you value in your home from the elements. While it’s highly durable and designed to withstand heavy wear and tear, it isn’t invincible.
It’s important to regularly examine your roof and make repairs when needed – to minimize long-term costs. Let’s explore the basics of roofing repair: the most common problems and their solutions.
Flashing is made from a sheet of rust-resistant metal (usually galvanized steel, aluminum, or copper) and is used to prevent water penetration around specific installations on your roof such as chimneys, skylights, vent pipes, and dormers. The flashing is typically placed over the joints between shingles, ensuring that any water that may leak through these seams does not penetrate deeper into your home.
Flashing can withstand most types of weather, but it can still suffer damage. For instance, it is not uncommon for areas of flashing to develop rust spots or corrosion as a result of constant exposure to rain and other elements. In some cases, these corroded areas can develop actual holes in the flashing. Flashing can also be damaged by sudden changes in temperature, which causes the material to expand and contract, causing it to warp. This wrinkled appearance can allow water to seep into the roof and cause leaks in your home.
If you suspect you have a problem with your roof’s flashing, it is important to contact an experienced roofing contractor to conduct a thorough inspection of the entire roof. They can identify any issues and fix them before they become worse.
Some types of flashing repair can be done by a homeowner, but this should only be done if you have the proper knowledge and equipment to do so. A professional roofer will be able to perform any needed repairs quickly and efficiently. If you do decide to repair the flashing on your own, it is recommended that you wear gloves, closed-toe shoes, and a safety harness. You should also have a spotter to help you ensure your safety as you work on the roof.
Leaks are a homeowner’s worst nightmare. They ruin wall and floor coverings, ceiling tiles, and wood framing, and cause mold, mildew, and other health issues. They also reduce the energy efficiency of a home and increase utility bills. The best way to deal with a leaky roof is to catch it quickly before the water damages everything in your attic or throughout your home.
A roof repair company will fix a leaking roof by sealing the area. They will use roofing tar, plywood, or spare shingles to create a temporary patch that should stop the leak in the meantime. They will then cover this patch with more tar, using a brush to spread it evenly. Alternatively, a roll of plastic sheeting can be used to cover the entire area where the leak is occurring.
Many roof leaks occur around pipes, vents, and chimneys. This happens when flashing is poorly sealed or has become corroded. It also occurs when the metal collars that hold up plumbing vent pipes are loose or missing. These areas are difficult to inspect from the ground, so if there is a leak, a professional roofer should examine them to find out what caused the problem.
Often, these areas can be identified by water stains or black marks on the ceiling. A professional will take a long ladder and carefully go up to the suspected spot, but if you have attic access or have a vaulted ceiling, you can also check for yourself. Just be careful not to walk on the roof when it is wet – you could slip and fall off!
In addition to causing damage to insulation, a roof leak can also cause electrical problems. The moisture can short circuit wiring, creating a fire hazard and possibly electrocuting people who touch the wires. It can also ruin walls and ceilings, cause mold and mildew, and decrease the value of a home.
The most common causes of roof leaks are poor maintenance, neglect, and age. The most effective way to prevent these issues is with regular monitoring and resealing of areas such as caulking, flashing, and pitch pans. If these areas are not taken care of, minor problems can turn into major ones that require a re-roof or structural work.
Missing Or Broken Shingles
Aside from a cosmetic issue, missing or broken shingles can allow water to leak into your house, where it can cause damage to walls, insulation, attics, crawl spaces, and ceilings. This type of damage is often expensive to fix, and it can also lead to mold issues. Therefore, it is important to replace missing shingles as soon as possible.
The first step in replacing a damaged shingle is to access the roof. This can be done by using a ladder, but it is best to have someone help you with this task. It is also important to wear proper clothing, a hard hat, and rubber gloves when climbing on the roof.
Once on the roof, locate the area of damage. The damaged shingle will likely have loose or missing corners, so look carefully to find it. Once located, loosen the adhesive and nails with a pry bar. Start with the shingle immediately above the damaged one. Then, work progressively closer to the damage. Loosen the tabs in two rows above the damaged shingle, then remove those nails with the flat end of the pry bar.
This is not an easy job, and it is best to do it on a sunny day when the sun is warming the adhesive strips of the shingles. If the weather is too cool, the adhesive will not activate and the shingles may fail to hold up in windy conditions.
Once the old shingles are removed, slide a new shingle into place. It is helpful to slightly round the back corners of the new shingle with a utility knife to help it adhere to the surrounding shingles. Once the new shingle is in place, nail it to the roof with its four nails. Be sure to not nail over any existing nails; doing so can puncture the new shingle and allow water to penetrate your home. As an alternative to nailing the shingles, you can also use roof cement to secure the shingle. This is often preferred by professional roofers, and it can save you time and effort in the long run.
Often overlooked, roof vent pipe boots are vital to the overall structure and function of your roof. These rubber boots encase the vent pipes that stick out of your roof to ensure water doesn’t seep into your house through these holes in your roof. A faulty or missing roof vent pipe boot can cause your home to leak, so it is important to inspect and replace them as needed.
The plumbing systems in your home are designed to manage wastewater by moving it into the sewer system, requiring air to enter the waste line through the vents installed on your roof. These vents run from the drains in your kitchen and bathroom to the rooftop, where they extend out through your roof. The roof vent pipe boots cover these pipes to protect them from weather elements and other debris that could affect the functionality of your home’s plumbing system.
Roof pipe boots can be made from plastic, rubber, or metal flashing, with the material being a factor in their durability and cost. Plastic vent boots can be purchased at your local home improvement store and are typically priced between $4 to $10 per boot, whereas rubber or silicone versions are more durable but will likely require replacement more frequently. Metal options like galvanized or coated steel are heavier-duty and rated to last longer, but they can also be more expensive than other types of vent boot materials.
Replacing a vent pipe boot is a fairly simple project that most homeowners can tackle themselves. However, if you are not comfortable working on your roof or would prefer to have it repaired by a professional, a roofing leak specialist is the best option. For most roofs, $250 to $400 will be a fair estimate of labor costs for replacing two to four pipe boots and the associated shingle work. The final price tag of a project can be impacted by the type and quality of material chosen for the replacement boots, but this is usually the largest component of a roofing repair bill.