Roof Leak Repair 101: What Every Homeowner Should Know

Posted on January 21, 2024

Estimated Reading Time : 6 Min.

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roof leak repair

Roof leaks can cause major trouble in your home. They often start small but can quickly turn into big issues. Constant dripping, water stains, and mold growth are all signs your roof is leaking. And it’s not just a minor problem, leaks can turn your home into a chaotic mess. A leaking roof is also one of the main reasons why homeowners call us for help! After seeing so many concerns due to leaks, we decided to make this guide. 

Today, we are here to help you better understand roof leaks. We’re simplifying everything you need to know, from how to spot leaks to how to fix them. 

Signs of a Roof Leak

Detecting a roof leak early is important to prevent major damage later on. Here are some easy to spot signs that your roof might be leaking:

Water Stains on Ceilings:

If you notice brown or discolored patches on your ceiling, that could be a sign of water sneaking in. 

Water Stains on Ceilings
Water Stains on Ceilings

Damp Walls:

If your walls start feeling damp or wet to the touch, it’s a clue that water might be finding its way through your roof. This can also indicate structural damage, so it’s important to take action immediately if your walls are wet.

Damp Walls
Damp Walls


Mold Growth:

Mold loves moisture, and a leaking roof can create the perfect environment for it to grow. If you see any mold spots or strange discoloration on your walls or ceiling, it’s time to investigate. Mold not only damages your home but can also affect your health, so dealing with it early is crucial.

Spotting the Source: Nipping Roof Leaks in the Bud

When it comes to battling roof leaks, spotting the source early on is your best defense. 

If you neglect the signs, chances are you will be left with more extensive damage. Let’s dive into some proactive measures you can take to pinpoint and tackle those pesky leaks:

Inspect Your Attic: The First Line of Defense

Regular attic checks can save you from potential disasters, as it is often the first part of your home to be damaged by leaks. Here’s what to look for when you are in the attic: 

  • Dampness Check: Feel the walls and corners for any dampness. Wet spots may indicate that you have a leak.
  • Mold: Keep an eye out for mold growth. Leaks often create a breeding ground for mold.
  • Water Stains: Follow the trail of water stains. The source might be right above any discolored patches.

Inspect Your Roofing System: The Source of Roof Leaks 

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements. With the Western New York weather, it is likely that your roof will take hits from time to time, so make sure to give it some attention. 

Since you have checked the attic, it’s time to move outside. Here’s what to do:

  • Inspect Roof Shingles: The first thing you need to do is to check if any shingles are damaged or missing. They’re the main waterproofing layer, and any gaps can let leaks in.
  • Check Flashing: Look at the flashing around chimneys and vents. Cracks or loose pieces can let water sneak in.
  • Clean Those Gutters: Clogged gutters are a problem. Make sure they’re clear of debris to prevent water backups and potential leaks. 

How To Go About Roof Leak Repair 

We know the signs, we know where to look, but now, let’s cover the main topic of our blog post. Previously we have covered flat roof leak repairs, and today, we will cover roof repair for asphalt shingles. 

In the following section, we will talk about the steps you can take to repair a roof leak. 

Gather The Tools 

Before you start repairing the leak, it is important to have all the tools you will need throughout the process. These include: 

  • Roofing Hammer
  • Utility Knife
  • Roofing Nails and Screws
  • Roofing Adhesive/Sealant
  • Pry Bar
  • Caulking Gun
  • Tape Measure

Before you start, always double-check your materials against the specific requirements of your roof type and the nature of the repair. Safety is key, so ensure you’re comfortable with the tools you’re using.

Take Necessary Safety Precautions

Safety is the top priority when it comes to roof leak repairs. Before you start fixing any issues, ensure you have the proper safety measures in place. Begin by wearing essential safety gear, including sturdy work gloves to protect your hands, safety goggles to shield your eyes, and non-slip shoes or boots for secure footing. When working at heights, always use a properly sized ladder to prevent accidents. Be cautious about your surroundings and avoid working on a wet or slippery roof. If you’re not comfortable or lack experience with heights, it’s wise to seek professional help. 

Start The Repairs 

Here are some tips to repair a few different types of roof damage:

Patch Small Leaks:

Minor leaks can be caused by impacts from debris, severe weather, or improper installation. Follow these steps to patch the affected area. 

Step 1: Prepare the Area

Begin by cleaning the area around the leak using a brush. Make sure that you remove any dirt or debris before you start the small roof leak repairs. Ensure the surface is dry and free of any loose material. Cleaning the area helps create a smooth and even surface for the patching material.

Step 2: Apply Roofing Cement

Using a putty knife, apply roofing cement generously over the affected area. This should be available at your nearest hardware store, or you can order it online from popular sites like Home Depot. Spread the cement beyond the leak to create a secure bond.

Step 3: Reinforce with Roof Patching Fabric (Optional)

If there are small holes or gaps, consider using roof patching fabric for added reinforcement.

Press the fabric into the wet cement and apply another layer over it.

Step 4: Seal with Roof Sealant Tape

Now it’s time for the final touches. Enhance the seal by using roof sealant tape around the edges of the patched area. Ensure proper adhesion by following the instructions on the sealant tape that you choose for the project. 

Replacing Damaged Shingles:

Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material, but they are also the most prone to leaks. Curled, cracked, damaged, or missing shingles make your roof more vulnerable to leaks, and here is how you can fix them: 

Step 1: Remove the Damaged Shingle

Carefully pry up the damaged shingle using a pry bar or a similar tool. Lift the shingle until the nails are exposed, and remove them. In case of missing roof shingles, clean the missing area. 

Step 2: Slide in the New Shingle

Slide a new shingle into the vacant space, aligning it with the surrounding shingles. Make sure this is the same type of shingle as the rest of your roof. Ensure the new shingle fits snugly and covers the exposed area.

Step 3: Secure with Roofing Nails

Secure the new shingle in place by driving roofing nails through the designated nailing area.

Place the nails beneath the overlapping shingle above for a secure fit.

Step 4: Apply Roofing Cement

Prevent future issues by applying a small amount of roofing cement under each corner of the new shingle. This extra layer of cement enhances the stability of your asphalt roofing shingles.

Fixing Flashing Issues:

Flashing is a small but important part of your roof. Flashing is usually used around chimneys, skylights, or vent pipes. 

Step 1: Remove Damaged Flashing

Using a pry bar or a similar tool, carefully remove the damaged flashing. Clean the area thoroughly, removing old sealant or any debris.

Step 2: Measure and Cut New Flashing

Measure the dimensions of the area and cut the new flashing to fit precisely. Ensure the new flashing completely covers the vulnerable area.

Step 3: Apply Roofing Sealant

Apply roofing sealant to the back of the new flashing. Secure the piece in place, making sure it is properly aligned.

Step 4: Seal Edges and Joints

Pay special attention to proper sealing around the edges and joints of the flashing. Apply an additional layer of sealant over the top for added protection.

Take your time with each step, and always prioritize safety by using the right tools and following proper procedures.

Also Read: Things You Can Do To Prevent Roof Leaks In A Heavy Rainstorm

Choose OConnor Contracting To Repair Any Roof Leaks! 

DIY attempts at roofing can lead to more problems down the road, including premature replacements and structural damage. While DIY repairs might be quick fixes, our professionals ensure a robust, long-lasting solution.

So why go through all the trouble? At OConnor Contracting, we are here to help you. We serve Western New York and offer the best roof repair services in the area. 

Choose OConnor Contracting for hassle-free, top-quality roof leak repairs. Call us today at (716) 600-7663!

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