What Do I Need to Patch My Roof?
Posted on Monday, August 15th, 2022 at 11:17 am
The process of patching a hole or other damage in your roof to prevent leaking can be more complicated than you might initially imagine. Here is what you need to know about patching or repairing your roof.
Find the Roof Leak
Arguably the hardest part of patching a roof involves finding where the leak is coming from. You will need to access the exterior-facing portion of the roof, such as up in the attic, if your property has one. Bring a flashlight to look for any shiny or wet spots on the underside of the roof. Older leaks will usually lead to rotted wood or mold growth. If you have insulation in the rafters, you can also look for wet spots on the insulation. Once you find the leak’s location, you will need to get up on the roof to find the cause of the leak. Common causes of roof leaks include torn or missing shingles, exposed fasteners, or cracked, loose, or missing flashing around vents, dormers, and roof-pitch transitions. With flat or low-pitched roofs, leaks are often caused by penetrations through the roofing material or blocked drains, or due to uneven spots that prevent water from draining off the roof.
If you cannot seem to find the source of the leak, one trick involves using a garden hose or buckets of water to soak the roof while someone inside checks to see where the water is coming through. Unfortunately, damage to older roofs usually means that the roof will need to be replaced.
For an asphalt shingle roof (one of the most common types of residential roofs), materials that are usually needed to install a patch include:
- Flat bar
- Utility knives
- Roof sealant and a caulk gun
- New shingles and roofing nails
Ideally, a roof patch job should be conducted in temperate weather. Cold weather makes shingles brittle and easy to crack, while hot weather can make shingles easier to tear.
Fixing Leaks in Plumbing Vent Pipes
Damage to the sealing around roof vents is one of the most common causes of roof leaks since the rubber material in the boot around the vent can develop cracks or tears over time due to exposure to the elements. If the aluminum in the flashing is not damaged, you can often fix the problem by replacing the rubber boot. You will need to obtain the right diameter of replacement boot, or you can use flashing units with adjustable boots.
Flashing, or the metal sheets that cover roof seams and pitch transitions can also sustain damage. This damage can be caused severe weather, impacts from debris, animals, or the settling of the building foundation. Unfortunately, patching flashing is usually considered a temporary measure. The only permanent solution involves replacing flashing along with the whole roofing system.
Repairing leaks around flashing can be accomplished in one of two ways. First, the flashing can be replaced, which involves removing the surrounding roof shingles and siding, installing new flashing, and replacing the shingles and siding. Alternatively, damaged flashing might be reparable by using copious amounts of roof sealant to create a flat surface over the flashing. The surface should be kept as flat as possible to ensure that water drains properly. Sealant should also be applied over the nails securing the flashing.
Fixing Flat Roof Membranes
Some larger multi-family or commercial buildings may have flat roof systems, where fiberboard attached to the roof is covered with a rubberized material glued to the roof deck. To patch a membrane roof, you will need to use a similar rubber material that matches the membrane on your roof, along with contact cement, acetone, paint rollers, and roof sealant.
Patching membrane on a flat roof begins by cutting away the damaged area to check if the fiberboard underneath has been water damaged. If so, you will need to cut away more of the membrane to remove and replace the damaged fiberboard. After replacing any damaged fiberboard, a replacement piece of membrane should be cut and screwed into place. A larger piece of membrane will need to be placed over the damaged area and an outline drawn around its edge. Contact cement should be applied to the patch and the outlined area, with the larger patch pressed down onto the membrane. Finally, sealant should be applied around the edge of the patch.
Contact Kidd Roofing if You Need Roofing Repair
If you have damage or a hole in your roof that needs a patch or other repair, turn to the experienced Austin roofing professionals of Kidd Roofing. Give us a call today at (866) 671-7791 for a consultation and estimate and to learn more about how we provide excellent customer service.