How to Repair a Roof: The Ultimate Guide
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t know much about roof repair. And that’s okay – it’s not exactly a topic that comes up in everyday conversation. But if you’ve had a problem with your roof, or even just seen some spots that concern you, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the subject. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about repairing your roof, from identifying problems to hiring a contractor. So read on – your roof will thank you!
Table of Contents
What Is a Roof?
A roof is exactly what it sounds like – a covering for your house or building that protects it from the outside elements. Most roofs are made out of materials with very low water permeability, such as asphalt shingles, steel panels, and concrete tiles.
The most common type of roof in North America is built from overlapping rows of wood planks laid over beams over rafters over wall frame, although stone slabs have been used since ancient times. In tropical areas, palm leaves and coconut shells have been used as roofs for thousands of years! And even today you can find all sorts of amazing types of roofs – domes made from metal or baked clay tiles, sloping roofs made from lightweight stone or brick, and even roofs made out of living plants!
What Can Go Wrong with a Roof?
Roofs don’t last forever – like water, wind, and other elements wear them down over time, they start to lose their effectiveness at keeping your house dry. The following are some common problems people have with their roofs.
Leaks: If you notice any spots on the ceiling of your home that look wet when it isn’t raining outside, you may have a problem with your roof. Sometimes leaks can be caused by trees or bushes growing too close to the house, but in many cases, they’re simply due to damage done by time and weather.
Moss, Fungus, and Mildew: In damp climates where there’s a lot of rain or snowfall, mildew, and other fungal growths can become a problem on the roof. Of course, moss is going to grow pretty much anywhere you have soil exposed outdoors. Fortunately, both issues are easy to clear up – just use a regular garden hose or pressure washer to wash them away!
Lightning Strikes: If you notice that a portion of your roof has been charred by lightning, it’s important not to touch it – you could be electrocuted! Instead, contact your local utility company about scheduling an inspection as soon as possible. The good news? Lightning damage isn’t very common in most areas.
Sagging: If the whole house feels like it’s sagging to one side or another, that’s a sign of serious problems with your roof. Unless you’re very handy yourself, calling in a professional is probably the best way to deal with this problem.
How Can I Fix My Roof?
Since roofs are so big and heavy, it can be difficult for anyone but an experienced contractor to safely carry out repairs on their own – although many people have managed to do so if they have sufficient skills! But even if you don’t, there are lots of other things you can do to take care of small issues by yourself until you get them fixed properly.
Here are some examples.
Fixing Leaks: If you have a small leak or moss growth on your roof, you can fix it yourself by creating a temporary seal with caulk. In most cases, you’ll only need to do this on one side of the house.
If you’re dealing with a major leak that’s been going on for some time, chances are the flashing around any seams has probably started to rust. This will cause more serious leaks that may affect structural support beams and walls, so it may be necessary to hire a professional roofer.
Replacing Broken Shingles: The good news about shingles is that they usually come in uniform sizes or shapes. This makes them easy enough to replace if a few fall off during a storm – just match the existing shingles as closely as you can. Fixing any rusted nails around the edges should also be easy enough to take care of by yourself.
Removing Moss or Mildew: If your roof is covered in moss, it’s important to get rid of it before it spreads – especially if there are small shrubs growing too close to the house! Stains from mildew shouldn’t be much harder to remove. Just use a normal garden hose and some gentle scrubbing.
Checking Flashings: The flashing is an important part of most roofs. It’s usually made out of metal and is responsible for directing all that water off the side of your home where it belongs
If there are any signs of rust on the flashing, it means that they’re most likely suffering from corrosion. This can be a real problem if water starts to get trapped underneath them because eventually, you’ll see the damage all over the side of your house – at which point it’s probably time for a professional roofer to take care of things.
Checking Gutters: Most people tend to forget about the gutters until there’s a major storm and everything looks like it has been covered in ice. Even then some people may only notice that overflowing gutter while cleaning off their cars or shoveling snow!
The truth is that part of keeping your roof in good condition depends on having clean gutters. If there are any clogs, you can clean them out yourself by using a bucket and a garden hose.
However, if there seems to be any discoloration or signs of rust it’s almost definitely time for new gutters. Otherwise, the metal will eventually corrode from being exposed to all those harsh chemicals and they’ll need to be replaced as well!
Checking Downspouts: Similar to checking your gutter, you should also make sure that your downspouts are working properly.
Just like with clogged gutters, having an overflowing downspout is not only unsightly but it means water is overflowing onto the ground instead of where it belongs. If this occurs regularly, most people will hire professionals because they can be fairly expensive, especially if you have a large area that needs to be repaired.
Cleaning Chimneys: If there are cracks in your chimney it may allow rainwater to come inside the house – which is obviously very dangerous.
Once again this is something you should never attempt yourself because it’s actually fairly easy for serious damage to occur if the water gets between walls or starts seeping into the insulation.
That said, even using a little bit of pressure washing can easily clear out any dust or cobwebs that accumulate over time and ensure things stay dry. Just remember not to spray uphill – even with your gutter downspouts!
Upslope Watering Systems: These are fairly common in places where there’s a lot of rain and very few gutters. If the slopes are too steep around your home, you should consider installing them or hiring professionals to do it for you because they can cause serious damage if not done correctly.
The good news is that for most homes these work extremely well, preventing water from pooling near walls, doors, windowsills, and causing other problems. Just remember that if you’re doing the work yourself, it’s important to re-grade everything properly so they don’t become clogged over time!
Pressure Washing: There’s no denying it – pressure washing does an amazing job of clearing out almost any surface. It’s fast, efficient, and beats using chemicals every time.
However, there are a few things you should always keep in mind before putting a water hose on your roof. First of all, avoid using hot water – it might seem convenient but it’s actually much harder on the metal and can cause serious damage if left outside for too long.
It’s also important that you don’t use high pressure when trying to remove algae because while they’re easy to scrape off, they’re extremely difficult to get rid of once they grow deep roots!
Hiring Roofers: If it’s been several years since you’ve had your roof inspected professionally, now may be the time to do so again.
The truth is that even if your current roof doesn’t look bad from where you’re standing, it could be a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately, the only way to determine how much damage may have been done is by hiring a professional who will inspect it for you.
Many people choose to hire professionals because it’s simply too dangerous to attempt going up on your own roof – even with a harness! However, if you decide that this isn’t necessary then at least think about hiring someone to climb onto the roof and do a complete inspection.