• Repair a Leaking Roof


    Fixing a leaking roof is one of the bigger house repair challenges a homeowner can face on their own. First, you have to determine where the water is entering the roof.
    Water can run a long distance over the roof deck from the crack in a shingle, gaps in the flashings at the bottom of chimneys and pipes extending through the roof or caulking to where it shows up on your ceiling.
    Secondly, roofs are very dangerous to work on.
    Third, roofing repair takes specialized skills that many homeowners, even those who complete many other DIY projects, don’t have.
    However, in this home repair guide, we’ll discuss the problem here and help you decide whether to tackle it yourself or call a roofing contractor.

    Tips and Resources for Leaking Roof Repairs

    The first thing to determine is where the water is coming from, so we’ll let you know how to do that. In addition, this house repair guide gives tips for repairing various types of roof leaks. Roof repair leak costs are included, though this can be difficult to determine because the cause of roof leaks can be so varied. Finally, you’ll find resources below including videos that can help you find and fix leaks in your roof.

    These tips provide an overview of the project, so you’ll know what to expect if you attempt it yourself. If you decide to hire a roofing contractor, the information here will allow you to understand your options for repair or potential replacement of the roof.

    • Here’s an important tip up front: If you’re not comfortable getting on a roof, then call a contractor
    • If you decide to look for the leak, make sure you have a sturdy ladder that extends well above the edge of the roof, someone to help secure it and footwear that will give you solid footing
    • If the roof is very hot from the sun, wait until it cools because asphalt shingles soften in high heat, and this can lead to extreme damage to the roof as well as the potential for slipping off the roof if shingles come loose
    • The first task is to find the source of the leak, so look for obvious ones like missing or damaged shingles, gaps around chimneys or vent stacks, tears in the boot of a vent stack or gaps where a second story and the roof meet
    • If you can’t find the source of the leak, running a hose on the roof starting at the point the leak is visible inside and waiting for water to appear will help
    • If you have an attic, station someone there to look for incoming water while the hose runs
    • Our guide entitled “Emergency Roofing Repairs for a Shingle Roof” gives tips for responding to shingle damage
    • Missing or damaged flashing is difficult to replace properly, so consider calling a roofing contractor
    • When the source of the leak is a shingle that is cupped or cracked due to age, then it’s probably time to re-shingle the entire house because where there’s one, there will be many more failed shingles to follow shortly
    • Replace the damaged rubber boots around vent stacks
    • Use roofing caulk to repair small gaps around chimneys
    • Follow instructions carefully for any products such as caulk or roofing cement that you use on the roof
    • A brick chimney that is losing mortar should be repaired immediately to prevent additional leaking of water and damage to the brickwork that might necessitate replacing the chimney

    Roof Leak Repair Costs

    As noted, the causes of roof leaks is so varied that it’s impossible to give exact repair figures. Here some ballpark ideas of what some repairs cost.

    DIY Roof Repair Costs: A tube of roofing caulk and a caulk gun will cost as little as $20. A bundle of 25-30 shingles, nails and a roofing hammer will cost less than $100. Flashing costs $10 to $20 for a package of 10 pieces. Vent boots and flashing cost $8 to $20 depending on size.

    Professional Roof Repair: Most roofing contractors have a minimum service fee of $75 to $150. That price should cover minor repairs. Factors that will increase your cost include difficulty finding the leak source, chimney work, replacing more than a few shingles or having to install heavy-duty tar paper to protect against ice dams.

    How to Save Money on Roof Repairs

    If you’re doing the work yourself, borrowing the tools such as a ladder, hammer or caulk gun will cut down on your costs. When hiring a professional, the best way to find the lowest price is to get multiple estimates from roofing contractors. When they know that they’re competing for the job, they’ll give you their lowest estimates for roofing repair.

    Do It Yourself Roof Repair Resources

    These pages offer helpful information for the most common types of roofing repairs.

    From YouTube, the video below covers how to replace a boot around a vent stack protruding through your roof.

    Dr Roof – Dr. Roof covers the various causes of roof leaks and what can be done about them. For laughs, he suggests selling your home and moving! That might not sound like a bad idea right now.

    Kuhls Contracting – This site covers a wide range of roof damage including leaks, skylight repair, flashing repair, ice dam damage repair and chimney repair.


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