5 Minor Roof Repair Jobs You Can DIY and When to Ask for Help

June 9, 2021

If your roof is in need of major repairs, then you’ll need to be on the phone with a professional contractor ASAP. The last thing you want is for your roof to be compromised or for an already precarious situation to become worse. Often, however, you can actually undertake minor roof repair jobs on your own. Telling the difference between a job you can DIY and one you should leave to the professionals, however, can be challenging.

Below, we’ll illustrate five minor roof repair jobs you can perform on your own, provided you have the right tools and the motivation to get it done. We’ll also explain when it’s time to call a professional and how to find the right people for the job.

1. Fix a Leak from the Inside

Part of the reason you hire a professional roofer is that they’re highly experienced moving around on rooftops. Trying to perform roof work yourself comes with an obvious safety hazard, especially if you’re not used to working high up. The first step, of course, is to locate the leak inside your attic. Finding the source of the leak isn’t always easy; you may need to hose your roof down with water first. Then head into the attic and see if you can see where the water is dripping from. Tell-tale indicators that may help you to do this include nearby water damage and spots of black mold in the wood.

Once you have located the source of the leak, you can put a tarp on it. Smearing tar on your roof may stop the water for a bit, but think twice, as it’s not compatible with many slow slope membranes and will ruin roofing shingles, not to mention void any sort of warranty you may have. Note, however, that these fixes are most likely temporary. If you notice the leak returning, contact your professional roofing contractor.

2. Fill in Insulation

Insulation is a critical part of your home, having a direct effect on your energy bill, as it helps to keep cold air out during winter and hot air out during the summer. Poor insulation is a major part of excessive energy costs, but you can often DIY a solution yourself with a little spray foam insulation. This can be purchased at any hardware store and used to fill in cracks and small holes. Do so, and after a while, your home will become noticeably more comfortable. Just be sure not to fill in any intake vents. Filling holes that are meant to bring fresh air into the attic can cause condensation and mold.

3. Repair Damaged Shingles

The shingles on your roof serve to keep the rain and snow from getting into your house. The weather, however, can also do a number on those shingles. Often, you’ll discover they have been damaged or even carried off completely after a storm with heavy winds. Fortunately, repairing damaged shingles is one of those minor roof repair jobs that you can undertake yourself, assuming that the damage hasn’t become too severe.

Since repairing shingles involves actually climbing onto the roof, you will need to ensure that safety is your primary concern. This means rubber-soled shoes with excellent tread, a good, sturdy ladder, a roofing harness, and at least one other person to serve as your spotter/assistant during the job.

Shingles that have been partially ripped off can be repaired with a little roofing cement, temporarily. Those that are completely missing will need to be replaced. If you do have to replace any shingles, make sure that the new ones you purchase are the correct color and material.

4. Roof Flashing Repair

The thin metal that is used to divert water away from sensitive areas of your roof is known as flashing. Over time, flashing can become damaged or corroded, which can lead to water getting into places where it isn’t supposed to. This, of course, can eventually lead to more serious problems with your roof. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to make minor repairs to your roof flashing.

Once again, of course, make sure that safety is your primary consideration when repairing roof flashing. If you notice that there are damaged or rusted patches in your roof flashing, they can be patched fairly easily with the same roofing cement that you use for your shingles. First, sand away the rusted parts, and then cover the resulting hole with a small amount of cement. If the hole is too large to simply be filled in with cement, you can also utilize a patch made from the same material as the flashing itself. The patch can be glued over the damaged area using the roofing cement. Again, this is a temporary solution, not to mention unattractive.

5. Quick Temporary Repairs

Sometimes, you will need to perform an emergency roofing repair yourself, just as a temporary fix until your roofer arrives. For example, if a storm tears through your area, it might end up shredding a number of the roofs in your neighborhood, leaving the local contractors busy. It may also leave your roof damaged and leaking in multiple areas. If this is the case, you can usually DIY a quick fix, although you’ll still need to get a professional in there as soon as possible.

Note that you should never climb onto your roof while conditions are unsafe. The weather should be good, and the roof should be completely dry. If there is any rain or wind, or if it’s a particularly hot day, you will have to wait; otherwise, the situation may be unsafe. When it is safe, however, you can create a quick and temporary fix by spreading a waterproof tarp across the damaged area of your roof and quickly nailing it down with a few roofing nails and lath.

It’s also possible to purchase roofing tape to quickly plug holes in the roof if you have a low-slope roof. This can be found at most hardware stores, although, of course, it is also a very temporary fix.

When To Ask For Help

Anytime the damage has become more severe than a simple patch job can fix, or when the job seems like it may be unsafe for you to perform on your own, you should contact a professional roofer. Remember that doing the job incorrectly can lead to extremely costly repairs down the road, so it’s critical that it’s done right. If you’re uncertain about whether you can DIY the job, it’s better not to take the chance. Contact a professional.

Finding the right professional is a matter of shopping around. Look for someone who is properly insured and certified and who has many years of experience. Interstate Roofing is a great example of such a company. Having been in business since 1988, you can be confident that we will keep your roof in tip-top condition for many years to come.