How to Leak-Proof Your Roof
If your roof is leaking, you face a race against time to find the leak and have it fixed before the problem spreads to the whole roof or damp causes serious water damage to the structure of your property.
Give Your Roof a Health Check
Checking your roof regularly will help you keep leaky roofing at bay. An obvious sign of damage to your roof is the tell-tale sign of spreading damp on your ceiling. If you spot a damp patch, you need to find the leak fast. The first step is to check your loft space, where you should be able to trace the source of the leak to its origin in the roof. Checking for leaks is best done on a rainy day, making it easier to spot the path of the water – or use a hosepipe outside.
When you’ve found the leaking spot on your roof, mark the area. You should check the entire surface around the leak, as it may have caused problems like rotting wood if it’s been leaking for some time. If there’s any mould or mildew then you’ll have to fix that, too.
Next, find the leak on the outside of the roof. Try to find someone who can help by tapping the mark in your attic while you’re on the roof. But be aware that sometimes the damp spot on your ceiling may be some way away from the leak’s point of entry in the roof because the water may have run down further before seeping through into the ceiling indoors. If you can’t find the leak, check common problem areas such as:
- Ridge cap
- Dormer Valley
- Any areas where two surfaces meet
Now you’ve found the leak, it’s time to assess the damage. If you’re competent at DIY and have the right equipment to ensure that you’ll be safe while working on the roof, you may be able to fix it yourself. But if the damage is more extensive or you have any doubts, call a qualified roofer who can work safely and professionally to repair your leaky roof.
You should always work on the roof when it’s dry outside to ensure that you don’t slip and fall. Wear rubber soled shoes for the best grip and make sure that your ladder is the correct length, you should not have to stretch to reach an area. Keep in mind the location of any power lines that run nearby or any cabling running across your roof. Remember, roofing is a highly specialised skill and if you don’t take the proper precautions, you could be risking your safety.
If your roof damage is localised – that is, confined to a small part of your roof – you may be able to carry out the repairs for yourself.
Temporary Roof Repairs
If you need to carry out temporary repairs for your roof, you can do this by covering the leaking area with a piece of plywood, tarp or any suitable plastic covering over the damaged spot. Use double-headed nails to secure the covering over your damaged roof then nail lath strips along the edges of the covering. You can make the repairs more permanent by using roofing cement to patch up any holes.
Shingle roofs are fairly easy to fix. Shingles that are curled should be replaced and reattached using roof cement. If shingles have curled over time, you can flatten them out easily in the warm weather and reattach them by coating the back of the shingles with roof cement and pushing back firmly into place. In cold weather, the shingles will become brittle so you’ll have to warm them up to soften them before you can manipulate them back into shape. Warm the shingles gently using a propane torch. If shingles are missing or damaged beyond repair, you’ll have to replace them. If the damage is spread over a large patch of roof, you may have to consider having your whole roof replaced.
Slate roofs are similar to shingle roofs when you need to carry out repairs. If there are missing slates, you should be able to replace them with tiles of a similar size and colour. The main source of leaks in a slate roof are worn flashings. Older roofs may have copper or tin flashings, which will need painting regularly to prevent it from corroding.
If leaks are affecting your flat roof, check to see if there are any cracks in the felt or blisters where the top layer of the flat roof has separated. If you spot a blister in your flat roof, you can fix this by carefully cutting through the top layer of the blistered material, ensuring that you don’t damage the layer of felt below. Lift the edges of the blister and check to make sure the area underneath is completely dry. Soak up any water with rags. Spread a thick coat of roof cement on bottom edges of the loose felt and press down firmly on the sides of the blister. Make your repairs more secure by nailing galvanized roof nails along the sides of the slit then covering with another layer of roof cement to cover the nails.
Contact a Professional Roofer
If you have any doubts about repairing your roof, it’s always best to call in the experts. G&A Roof Repairs is a leading firm of qualified roofers who can provide roof repairs and other home maintenance services at affordable prices.
Contact G&A for help today on 0800 626 430.