Fixing A Shingled Roof Safely

Guy Repairing Roof ShinglesA leaking, dripping, or staining on your ceiling may be the first sign that your roof may have a problem, however roof problems can cause a significant amount of damage to your home very quickly. So, it is incredibly important that you act quickly to address the problem the right way. In the case that damage has already taken place to the materials below the shingles (underlayment or roof decking), there’s a good chance you will need to replace a larger section or roofing material in addition to rotten wood. However, if the damage is pretty minor, you may just need to worry about replacing an individual asphalt shingle.

Once you have found the area that your roof has been damaged in some way or another, you have to decide whether you want to attempt to repair the roof on your own or to hire experienced, licensed roofers to fix the the problem for you. If you’re handy, you probably think that repairing a shingle roof should be a rather easy task. However, you have to keep in mind that unlike flat roofs, you’ll be working on an area potentially very high above the ground – and one that is sloped, which can be quite dangerous. If you choose to repair the roof yourself, you should seriously consider using roof jacks, which can provide an added level of safety. These are especially important if the rise of your roof is more than 6 inches for every foot (6/12 pitch).

Other safety measures you can take are:

  • Never do any roof repair when it is wet outside
  • Observe where power lines and other over head obstructions or hazards are located
  • Wear shoes with a thick rubber sole to prevent slipping.

Estimating & Preparation

Local roofing contractors would more likely be able to do the repair job much faster and in the safest manner since they are trained to comply with OSHA safety guidelines for the construction and roofing industry. However, if you choose to do it yourself, on your own, you want to make sure that you take all the steps needed to prepare properly.

First, you should measure the area of your roof in need of repair. Then, you should calculate how many shingles you will need to buy in order to repair the section. Shingles are sold in bundles and calculated in “squares”. 1 square = 100 x 100 square feet. 3 bundles = 1 square.

Make sure you add an additional 10% or so to the amount in case you need to cut or waste any of the shingles as well. Along with shingles, you will need to make sure you have a number of other supplies, roofing cement, galvanized hot-dipped roofing nails, and roofing felt (optional; depends on the degree of the repair and the size of the repair).

Additional Repair Tips

Remember that you need to make sure that there aren’t any gaps or cracks in the repaired area, especially if you are fixing an area where 2 different planes join (valleys), as these areas are more likely to leak. Also, keep in mind that roof valleys, require roofing materials and metal flashing underneath. More recently, it has become common practice to use ice and water shield in valleys for additional protection. This is a large roll of peel-n-stick bituminous type material usually about 24″-36″ wide. This is to make sure that there is no chance of water seeping in. You also want to always remember that you should remove and replace any damaged shingles as soon as possible so you don’t wind up with an even bigger problem to fix!