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How to Do Three Easy DIY Roof Repairs

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Many homeowners leave all roof repairs to a professional, but this isn't always necessary. There are a few common problems that almost anyone can fix if they are DIY-minded and able to follow basic roof-repair safety tips. Here is an explanation of three simple roof-repair projects.

Replacing Shingles

Natural factors such as falling branches and high winds pose a risk of shingles breaking or being pulled off of your roof. It is important to replace damaged or missing shingles as soon as possible, as a gap in the shingles on your roof will allow water to seep into the roof and rot the wooden sheathing.

The first step to repair a missing or broken shingle is to lift the bottom edge of the shingle above the gap with a pry bar until the roofing nails are freed. If any part of the damaged shingle remains next to the gap, the next step is to pry it off completely. Once any broken pieces are removed, you can simply slide a new shingle into the gap, lay the upper shingle over the top edge of the new shingle, and replace the nails. Make sure the roofing nails go through the top edge of the new shingle so that it is installed securely with no gaps around the edges.

Removing Stains

Most stains on asphalt shingles are caused by algae growth. This is especially common in warm, humid climates where algae can easily flourish. Removing dark stains on an asphalt roof involves two steps: using a chemical to kill the algae that caused the stain and then spraying the roof to remove the stain.

Chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach are two common household chemicals that can be used to kill algae, but you may also choose to use a commercial shingle stain remover. Whichever cleaner you choose, use a pump sprayer to spray down the stained area and allow it to soak for around 20 minutes. After the stain has soaked, spray it down with a garden hose to return your roof to its natural color. This process is most effective on a cool day so that the chemical cleaner does not evaporate before it can kill all of the stain-causing algae.

Finding and Patching Leaks

Even small, insignificant-looking roof leaks can lead to serious damage if they are left unrepaired. Water stains on ceilings and walls, mold and mildew infestation, and the risk of an electrical fire are just a few of the dangers of leaving a leaky roof unrepaired. If the source of a roof leak is not visible from within your home, you will have to inspect your roof in the areas where leaks most commonly occur.

In general, the best places to look for roof leaks are areas where the shingle layer is penetrated by vents, chimneys, and dormers. Metal strips known as flashing are usually installed around these structures that penetrate the roof, and you should inspect the flashing for sections that are broken, warped, or dislodged. If you have a long enough garden hose, you can spray the spots on your roof where you suspect leaks and have a helper watch for water dripping inside the attic.

If your roof leak is caused by a dislodged section of flashing, simply use a roofing nail to resecure the loose section. Installing new flashing is almost always the easiest fix for leaks caused by warped or cracked flashing. In some cases, roof leaks may be caused by damage to penetrating structures themselves, such as cracks in plastic roof vents. Usually, you can unscrew plastic vents at their base to remove them and install a new vent without disturbing the shingles around the vent. Be sure to create a watertight seal by going around the edges of the base with caulk after installing the new vent.

While it is always best to leave major roof renovations and repairs to a professional such as Palmer Roofing, you can use these tips to easily and inexpensively repair some of the most common roof problems.