How to Patch a Roof

Patch a RoofRoofing problems are never fun. In fact, they can be one of the worst parts of owning a home. Still, they have to be addressed. Left alone, damaged roofs will lead to even more damage throughout the home. The good news is that many leaks and minor problems can be solved with a basic patch. Let’s learn about the methods to perform a basic patch and keep your roof in great shape.

1. Identify the Problem

There are several problems that can lead you to patch a roof. Leaks are the most common, but they aren’t the only issue that can arise. Aside from leaks, you might notice wind damage, other weather-related damage, or wear and tear on roof attachments (vents, boots, AC units, etc.). No matter the initial problem, you can’t take steps to repair the roof until you understand the underlying issue.

Step one is to track your problem to its root source. Ultimately, this should lead to a spot (or spots) on the roof that has physical damage that needs repair.

2. Remove the Bad Roofing

In step two, you prepare your repair by removing the part of the roof that is no longer functioning correctly. In most cases, this will involve pulling worn or damaged shingles. To do this, simply pull up on the shingle and use a hammer to pull the nail that holds it.

If your damage is more extensive or complicated, you may have to remove roof substrate (usually plywood), vents, boots, or other components that are no longer functioning correctly. When removing substrate, only remove the area that has been compromised. When removing vents, boots, and other components, take out the entire component.

In the worst cases, you may find structural damage to a roof. Under no circumstances should you remove structural components of the roofing. This is extremely dangerous. Additionally, structural components have to be handled by a certified roofer. Otherwise, your building will no longer be up to code, and that’s a can of worms that isn’t worth opening.

3. Cut the Replacement Parts

Once the area is cleared of bad parts and debris, you’re ready to measure and cut your new roofing materials. For substrate, leave yourself enough room to place the new material. You’ll ultimately have to use additional sealant on the joints.

For shingles, measuring and cutting is easy, but you need to be sure that there are no gaps in the shingles. Even a fraction of an inch of exposed roof will cause leaks, and seals like rubber cement will never truly fix the problem.

Once your materials are cut, go ahead and secure them. Substrate will typically be screwed into place. Shingles can be nailed. As an extra note, once the nails are driven home, coat each with roofing adhesive, and press on the shingle to make sure it is secure.

4. Seal the Joints

In more complicated cases, you may have to seal some joints. When this is the case, you’ll still do the first two steps above. Be sure to completely remove old sealant when you clean the area. Once everything is dry, you can apply a new coat of sealant to the joint. Contrary to popular belief, your repairs shouldn’t stop here.

If you want a lasting fix, you need to cover the new sealant with a mechanical barrier. In most cases, you’ll be using aluminum flashing. Here’s the secret: If there was a leak in the joint, there was probably an issue with the previous flashing. Go ahead and replace that section and ensure that it is properly secured this time.

5. Fix Vents and Boots

It’s plenty common for a leak to trace back to a vent or a boot. In either case, you still have to perform the first two steps. Depending on the design, you may have to remove shingles to get rid of the vent or boot. If that is the case, those shingles should be replaced.

As for the vents and boots themselves, if they have sustained damage, then they should be replaced. You may be tempted to try to repair them, but they tend to fail after taking sun or weather damage. A full replacement of the item is more reliable.

Before you affix the new vent or boot, check the surrounding area for signs of water damage. It’s possible for water to run down the side of the vent or boot and then collect under the shingles. You may need to replace substrate first if water damage is bad enough. If not, replace the shingles and vent/ boot, and you’ll be good to go. You may also need additional seals or flashing to ensure that the vent or boot is completely protected from leaks. It depends on the design.

Never Be Afraid to Get Expert Help

Those are the steps for a basic roof patch. If the job is more complicated, or if you don’t feel confident in your ability to do the repairs, it’s always better to have the work done correctly the first time. If you need help for your roofing project in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, contact us at Paradigm Roofs. We’ll find the damage and get it fixed for you.