Fixing a roof leak is fairly easy, however the process can be slightly time consuming if you have yet to identify the source of the leak. There are a few reasons why hiring a roofing professional would be a better decision than attempting to do it yourself; for example, if the homeowner is not a handy-man or doesn’t have a friend to assist in the repairs. Roofing professionals are experts at finding leaks and what causes them, the most time consuming part of the process. The main reason to hire a professional to fix your roof is to save time. Additionally, the fixes of a roofer will last a bit longer than do it yourself repairs.
The most difficult part of replacing a leaky area in a roof is finding the leak itself. If there isn’t an obvious spot where water is running that gives away the location of the leak, start removing a few shingles around the area that you suspect may have the damage. Once you have removed the shingles in that area there will be evidence such as mold or mildew, discoloration, or punctures in to roof. The most common places that cause leaks in roofs are any areas that an item penetrates the roof, like chimneys or roof vents. It is also helpful to go into the attic, if one is included in the house, with a flashlight and try to find evidence of a leak. If a leak is present, there will be mold, water stains, or black marks. If you still haven’t been successful in finding the problem, getting the help of a friend will be the next step. Either you or the helper will go onto the roof with a hose and start wetting the area right above where the leak is effecting the inside of the house. Only soak small areas at a time and for several minutes at a time, as it can take a few minutes for the drip to show up inside.
If the leak has come from an issue with a vent boot, like a crack in a plastic boot or broken seams in a metal boot or rotten or a torn rubber boot, water can be working itself into the house. If any of these problems are causing the leak, a new boot needs to be purchased to replace the old ruined one. If the boot itself is still in good condition but one or multiple of the nails at the base of the boot are missing the nails can be replaced with a screw with a rubber washer that are commonly used for a metal roof.
If the roof vent is the cause of the leak, the problem can be cracked housing if the housing is plastic or broken seams if the housing is metal. There is essentially no way to fix this issue aside from replacing the broken vent. Despite the fact that you may want to just fix the problem with caulk, that solution won’t last for more than a few months and then you’ll be back up on the roof. If the housing doesn’t have any actual damage and there are just missing nails, they can be replaced with the aforementioned screws.
If there are small holes in your roof from something like a satellite or antenna that was previously attached to your roof, they can be virtually unnoticeable and allow rot and let in large amounts of water before you see obvious signs. You won’t be able to fix these small holes with caulk. To fix this problem you’ll have to slide a piece of flashing under the punctured shingle and add a small dot of caulk both above and below the metal to keep it in place.