How to Repair a Leaky Roof

Dealing with a roof leak is one of the most stressful things homeowners encounter. Sometimes a roof develops leaks years before the entire roof needs to be replaced. These leaks are usually caused by localized damage including cracked or missing shingles, damaged flashing, or even clogged gutters. A roof leak can be complicated to find, difficult to repair, and dangerous to handle on your own.

Sometimes a leak is not detected until you go up in the attic and discover mold and mildew everywhere. Other leaks become obvious more quickly, creating water stains on ceilings or even running down walls. Sometimes the source of the problem is apparent but a small leak can often be hard to locate. Leaks can develop at any point where shingles butt, or where caulking and flashing have been compromised. 

Be Very Cautious with DIY Roof Repair

leaking roof

Roofing repair instructions and videos are widely available on the internet but they rarely address the hazards of DIY roof repairs. When you discover a roof leak inside your home, it’s important to contact a roofing company for an immediate inspection. They have the experience and tools to accurately locate the source of a roof leak and make long-lasting repairs. 

If a passing storm has damaged your roof, emergency action may be needed to minimize the damage. More often than not, DIY repairs are a temporary fix that buys time before a professional roofer can make permanent repairs. Homeowners should exercise extreme caution when attempting any DIY roofing repairs. 

Some cautionary tips to protect your home until the professional roofers arrive: 

  • Never Climb on Your Roof During Bad Weather - If a storm has damaged your roof enough to cause a sudden leak, wait until the weather clears to assess the damage. Immediately call your electric company if power lines are down on your roof or in your yard. If your roof appears unsafe or unstable, do not climb up to take a look. Call a professional roofing contractor and your insurance company immediately.
  • Use a Waterproof Tarp - There are several things you can do to minimize water damage while waiting for a professional roofer to arrive. If you feel comfortable climbing on your roof and have another adult to spot you, covering a leak with a waterproof tarp can minimize property damage.

    The tricky part is having a tarp large enough to cover the entire area and to secure the tarp so that water stops pouring in. Smooth the tarp over the entire area that’s leaking, creating a taut surface. Nail down the edges or use heavy-duty duct tape to secure it. 
  • Use Roofing Cement, Silicone, or Caulk - Roofing cement can be used to fix cracks, patch holes in your roof, or make other emergency roof repairs. Roofing cement is most effective when applied to a dry roof. Silicone or caulk can also be used to stop a small leak until a more permanent repair can be made.
  • Try Roofing Tape - Similar to cement or caulk, you can use roofing tape to fix gaps or openings on a temporary basis. Roofing tape can be applied from inside your attic, which is a good option when climbing on your roof is too dangerous. Roofing tape can be applied to the roof’s decking and it will help keep water out but may not totally prevent it from entering your home.

None of these should be considered a permanent solution. As soon as possible, contact a trusted roofing contractor to inspect your roof, locate the source of the problem, and make permanent repairs. 

4 Reasons to Call a Professional Roofing Company

1. Time and Money

Working on a roof is more complex than just replacing shingles and hammering down some nails. Every roof is a system of layers that also interact with air circulation and insulation. Even an experienced DIYer is unlikely to have the skills needed to successfully make permanent roof repairs. You may temporarily stop a leak but inadvertently cause more damage that will take a team of professionals to repair.

2. Warranty

If you have a problem with your shingles, you’ll have to demonstrate that a qualified contractor installed them to receive warranty benefits. Manufacturers’ warranties almost always require that roofing materials be installed in a particular manner by a licensed contractor. If you choose to repair your own roof, you will likely void your warranty.

3. Homeowners Insurance

Unless you are a licensed roofing contractor, most insurance companies will not reimburse you for any repairs you do on your own, even if the damage done to your roof is covered by your policy. DIY repairs can prevent you from filing future claims or even render your insurance coverage void. Before attempting any repairs to your roof, it is important to contact your insurance agent for guidance on what your policy covers.

4. Health and Safety

The most important reason to call a professional roofer is safety. Working on top of a roof is difficult and dangerous. Unless your roof’s pitch is relatively low and you have the necessary experience, tools, and confidence to make a roof repair, you should leave the work to a professional. It’s an unnecessary risk to take, and while you may think you’ll be careful and won’t fall, roofing accidents are common even among experienced roofing professionals. 

Brian Dawson Roofing -- We’re Here to Help!

Since 1999, Brian Dawson Roofing & Construction has been installing residential and commercial roofing systems throughout the greater St. Louis region. Because all of our work is done under warranty and fully insured, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your new roof is dependable and long-lasting. 

Contact us online or at (636) 733-6435 to schedule a free inspection and consultation. Our experienced professionals will arrive on time, equipped with state-of-the-art equipment to detect leaks and other problems your roof may be facing. Our mission is to provide quality roofing services and top-notch customer service, all at a competitive price.

Important Message!

We would like to let our customers know that during this time, we are taking precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are very limited in office staff and are working from home when we can. We do not have to enter your home and can conduct business through phone or email.  Read More...