1. Assessing a roof leak:Some overhead leaks are due to minor problems — such as a single torn shingle or a small hole in flashing — that you can usually handle with a little DIY experience and some basic tools. But other situations call for a roofer’s expertise. If you can’t fix the problem quickly and completely, call a professional as soon as possible. Water damage spreads quickly, even from a small leak. A licensed roofer is best when:
- There are multiple leaks.
- The leak is wicking across framing members or along walls, making it difficult for you to trace the source.
- A repair you made is not holding.
- The leak entails significant damage to roofing surface or flashed areas.
- The roof surface, such as ceramic tile roof, is beyond your abilities.
2. Shingle Repair:Here’s your quick fix: Get a tube of roofing cement and a piece of aluminum flashing (available at home centers). Cut the flashing about 1 inch narrower than the ripped shingle and about 4 inches longer so that it extends under the tabs on either side. Use a flat pry bar to carefully loosen the damaged tab and the tabs to the left and right. Next, apply two or three thick beads of roofing cement to the surface beneath the shingle. Slip the flashing underneath and apply more roofing cement to the top of the flashing. Press the tab down firmly to adhere the flashing to the roof.
3. A shingle switch:Here’s your quick fix: A typical wood-shingle house is covered with thousands of individual shingles and, over time, it’s inevitable that a few will split or become damaged. To replace a single shingle, first use a chisel and hammer to split it into several narrow pieces, then yank them out with pliers. Slip a hacksaw blade under the shingle above and cut through the nails that held the old shingle in place. Next, use a utility knife to trim a new shingle to match the width of the space. Slide the shingle in place and tap it to within 1 inch of its final position. Drive in two galvanized cedar shingle nails at an upward angle, directly below the butt edge of the shingle above. Then use a wood block and hammer to tap the new shingle up into place. As the shingle slides in place, it’ll pull the nailheads up and behind the shingle above.
4. Chimney seep:Here’s your quick fix: how to correct this:Install a galvanized (good), stainless (better) or copper (best) rain cap. These start at about $30 and are available at most home-repair and building-supply outlets. “Peeling chimney paint is almost always caused by water working its way from the inside out,” explains John Stauffer, technical director at the Paint Quality Institute. “A rain cap will keep the bulk of the water out of the flue.”
5. Staying Safe When on Your Roof:Working on a roof is obviously dangerous. Here are some simple safety measures you should employ:
- To minimize the possibility of a slip and to prevent damage to the roof, step on the roof as little as possible.
- If you are going to do extensive work on the roof, buy or rent a roofer’s ladder with a bracket that bridges the ridge of the roof.
- When on the roof, use a strong safety harness or belt secured by a lifeline attached to a stable fixture such as the base of a chimney.
- Access the roof by way of a high-quality extension ladder secured to the house in at least two places.
- Never work on a roof in icy conditions. Dark-colored shingles can hide ice patches.
If all of this seems like a little more than you want to handle on your own, please consider joining the Terrell’s Overhead Safety Club. Our professional inspectors will “walk your roof” annually, following our 17 point safety inspection checklist. We’ll give you a copy of the report, and of course schedule any necessary repair work.Not only will you get peace of mind, but your feet will stay firmly planted on the ground. Call me at 405-799-7700 to learn more.