How to Repair a Leaking Roof

Roof repairs are a very important part of keeping your roof in good condition and looking its best all through its service years. Leaky roofs are a major problem that can cause a series of damages to home interiors from waterlogged attic insulation to ruined floors, and repairing them is labor-intensive. How to repair a leaking roof is essential to maintaining your home. Below, are some of the most common leaking roof repairs and what you can expect from them.

Roofing of a house
Roofing of a house with stone coated metal roof

 Leaking Roll Roofing Repair

  1. Search out for cracks or blisters in the roofing material: In repairing damaged roll roofing you check for damage on the exterior that corresponds with the water stains seen on the ceiling. Also look closely for cracks at joint areas, vents, chimneys, or other objects that come through the roof. Some of the obvious signs of leaks in damaged roll roofing include open splits in the roofing material and blisters or bubbles where water and air are trapped. You can mend minor cracks at a joint, vent, or chimney with a roofing sealant. For gaps wider than  50mm, open splits, or blistered areas will require a patch. Mending minor damage in roll roofing is relatively easy. However, if widespread wear is noticed, water stains, mold, or rot on the roof or ceiling, call out for a professional.
  2. Cutting out any blisters or bubbles to release air and water: Remove sand or gravel from the damaged area, then carefully cut through the middle of the blister with a utility knife. Cut through the blister at the top layer of the roofing area only, and do not cut the roof substrate, or the fiberboard beneath the rubber or asphalt as the case may be. If the blister contains water, soak it out with a dry rag and thoroughly mop up the water, allowing it to dry for at least 12  hours or more. You can dry it out with a blow dryer to ensure it’s completely dry if you are in a rush before attempting repairs. In most cases, blisters are often associated with leaks in roll roofing, but if no blister is associated with your leak, you can skip this step and proceed to mend the tear.
  3. Spreading out a reasonable amount of roofing cement under the split: After inspecting the fiberboard substrate beneath the tear in the rubber or asphalt as the case may be. If the substrate is sound, apply a heavy layer of cement under the edges of the tear. Ensure the cement goes in as far under the edges as you can without further tearing the roofing materials. After applying the cement at the edges of the tear, press it down flat, then drive galvanized roofing nails along each side of the mend in 3-inch intervals and if the fiberboard substrates are unsound, you may need not replace the damaged section.
  4. Replacing the roof substrate, if necessary: when dealing with a large open seam, you may have to take a close look at the roof substrate beneath the rubber or asphalt for holes or rot. In case of failure, use a straightedge and sharp utility knife to remove the failed or damaged area by carefully cutting a rectangle-shaped section that contains all of the failed or damaged roofing material. Then check out for any metal washers and screws that secure the roof substrate to the structure beneath and remove if necessary, using the section removed as a template, you can cut a new piece of substrate from a high-density fiberboard sheet for a replacement. Set the new cut-out substrate in place, then secure it with 1 1/2-inch roofing screws together with built-in hex washers.
  5. Covering the repaired area with a patch of roll roofing: After replacing the roof substrate, you can then patch it up with tar paper or rubber roll roofing 12 inches which should be longer and wider than the mended section. Apply a sufficient amount of layer of roof cement over the repaired tear, then set the patch over the cement-covered area and then press it lightly, and drive 1 14 inch galvanized roofing nails around the patched edges in 3 inches intervals, to ensure that the nails do not overlap with any other hardware used to secure the fiberboard substrate.
  6. Adding a final layer of roofing cement for a watertight patch: When the mend is properly covered with the patch, apply a heavy final layer of roofing cement over the entire area spread the cement over the entire patched perimeter, and cover the nail heads. Then use a putty knife to feather the cement over the patched edges to make it a smooth surface that prevents water seepage.
    If the roll roofing is asphalt you can spread a layer of asphalt gravel over the cement while it is still wet to help protect the roofing material.

Leaking Aluminum Roof Repair

Aluminum roofs are one of the best roofing options for your home or workshop shed. They are durable and robust, and aluminum roofs can withstand all kinds of extreme weather to provide protection. However, prolonged exposure to extreme weather elements can result in these roofs getting damaged. The most common problem associated with aluminum roofs is that they can develop holes which can be a huge problem during rainy seasons, but they can be fixed with these simple steps:

  1. Roof preparation: when fixing a hole on an aluminum roof, you may need to climb the rooftop, with your safety gloves, footwear, and jacket. Carefully step on the roof to avoid denting the roof while stepping on it. Then locate where the hole is on the aluminum roof and clean up the area with a wire brush to take away dirt, debris, and other things. It is very important to properly clean up the affected area to avoid any interference with the patching.
  2. Cutting out the Mesh:  Once the affected area is properly identified and cleaned up, you can go ahead and cut out your two patches of aluminum roofing mesh with a pair of metal shears. Measure out the mesh properly before cutting it to ensure proper coverage over the patch area. The patch should not be less than 2 inches wider than the size of the hole to ensure proper coverage.
  3. Fixing the Hole: After preparing the two patches, you can go ahead with fixing the hole on the roof. Apply the roof cement and spread it around the hole with a knife to level the mixture around the affected area, and then gently place the patch on it. After placing the patch on the applied roof cement you can then cover the mesh patch with more cement, making sure that the cement is properly applied on the mesh patch to blend with the coat underneath. Then the second layer of the patch is applied for a complete effect. Apply another coat of roof cement on the mesh and work it through the mesh to bond with the layer underneath.

This procedure can be applied wherever there are holes in your aluminum roof as a temporary solution to cub leakages for a while. Usually, metal roof repairs are done by soldering the same metal piece to the roof to cover the holes, but aluminum cannot be soldered. This is the reason why patching them in this nature is the best and most affordable option.

Leaking Joints Repair

  1. Inspect the joint areas such as roof chimneys or roof gutters: Thoroughly inspect the roof joints to identify failed or faulty joints with cracks, tears, or gaps where any of the roof components intersect with or emerge from the roof. Small and minor cracks or tears can simply be treated with roof sealant or caulk, but larger cracks or tears will require new flashing or patching.
  2. Application of roof sealant or roof cement to cracks or tears less than 50mm wide: Once cracks or tears are identified at the leaking joints and are less than 50mm wide, the next thing to do is to neatly scrape away the old sealant or roof cement, remove debris, and dry the area thoroughly before applying a new sealant or roof cement. Neatly apply sealant or roof cement to the affected areas. For cracks or tears at the metal or rubber collar of an external pipe or vent, apply a waterproof silicone-based caulk with a caulking gun. But cracks or tears larger than 50mm will require a more complex fix instead of a simple sealant.
  3. Repair or replace rusted, or loose flashings at the roof joints: Flashings are made of steel or aluminum and they are used for sealing joints around chimneys, roof gutters, siding, and walls that have contact with the roof. If rusted or loosed flashings are found on the roof, the rusted flashings should be replaced and the loose ones can be fixed by applying roof cement underneath and then carefully pressing it back to its place.
  4.  When necessary replace large areas of failing flashing: Scrape off areas of unsound flashings and old roof cement with a pry bar. Measure your chimney, vent, or other joined area, and use a pair of straight-cutting tin snip tools to cut a section of pre-bent base flashing to fit the joint. Your flashing should be placed overlapping the joint with not less than 100mm on each side.

Leaking Asbestos roof repair

A damaged asbestos roof is likely to pose a serious health risk to users and should be addressed as soon as possible. Any leakage as a result of damage will result in the release of fiber particles which are hazardous to human health when inhaled for a prolonged period. This damage must be fixed as soon as possible with roof coverings or sealants.

Below are some simple steps for fixing leaking Asbestos roofs:

  1. The first thing is to identify the leaking spot on the roof. Then, properly clean up the entire area with water. Then use a dry towel to soak and clean up the water and as well take out any dirt sticking to the roof.
  2. Once the spot is clean, you will need some Liquiseal non-sag sealer to do the basic sealing around the leaky spot on the roof. Then you can start applying the Liquiseal non-sag sealer on the crack. Ensure it properly covers the affected spot and apply the product a bit more. Once fixed in place, you can apply one more layer on top of it to ensure maximum effective sealing of the asbestos roof.
  3. After applying the Liquiseal non-sag sealer, then you can use the polyester fleece. Ensure you use a good amount of polyester fleece on the hole with a paper roller until the fleece bleeds through the layer.
  4. Then, gently apply another thick layer of Liquiseal non-sag sealer to completely seal up the cracks on the roof. But in the case of an entirely broken asbestos roof, you would have to apply Liquiseal non-sag sealer and hold the pieces together for a while, after that, you can apply the polyester fleece to seal it up completely.
  5. When fixing a damaged asbestos roof and a Liquiseal non-sag sealer or localized repairs is not an option, you can consider over-cladding, which involves putting a new roofing sheet on top of the old one. This method is a tried-and-true method for repairing leaking asbestos roofs, and it is one of the best options apart from the coating.

Leaking Flat Roof Repair

Flat roofs are constructed in the same way as a floor and act as a level platform to support the load. Flat roof leaks weaken the roof structure of a building and could destroy household items as well. They are very irritating and most time frustrating to the house occupants. The following are simple steps to fixing your leaking flat roofs:

  1.  Clean up the roof slab and drainage pipes from debris, and check all drainage pipes if there is any blockage in the pipes as they provide direct access to rainwater and repair defective joints drainage pipes if any.
  2. Identify the actual spot of the leakages and mark them out, try to know the actual causes of the leakages whether they are as a result of drainage blockage or cracks on the roof deck.
  3. When the leak spots are properly identified and marked out, you can fix the tar felt waterproofing coat if it is damaged and replace damaged cement concrete at junctions of the wall and roof slab.
  4. Check the surface of the roof slab and keep the slope of the roof slab in a 1:40 ratio to drain off rainwater as fast as possible and to avoid rainwater stagnating on the roof slab for a long period. Replace defective joints and repair depressions existing on the top of the roof slab to avoid stagnant rainwater which leads to leakages.
  5.     Mend the joints of tile terracing if they are cracked or damaged and repair any damaged roof cement.
  6. Replace the mouth of drainage pipes and fix cracked joints with tile terracing.