Do-it-Yourself Roof Repairs
While there are certainly times when only
professional roofing help will do, there are some situations that
a do-it-yourself type person might be able to handle. Some problems, like
significant leaks, are usually best left to roofing contractors.
Here are some popular roof problems and suggestions on how they
can be addressed:
Keeping safe while you're up on the roof is the
top priority. Some preparation and basic common sense will help
- If possible, work with a partner and
watch out for each other
- Don't work in the rain, ice, excessive wind
or other extreme weather conditions
- Wear appropriate clothing and shoes
- Work during daylight hours
- Use a safety harness attached to a stable
structure, like a chimney
- Use ladders wisely: consider investing in
a roofer's ladder that allows extensive roof work by using special
attachments. Also, enter the roof using an extension ladder that
is securely fasted to the house in more than one place.
- Try to minimize the amount of walking around
on the roof to avoid damage to the roof and/or potential falls
Wood-shingle roofs consist of thousands of single
shingles and damage to some of them is practically guaranteed. Here's
how to fix a broken shingle:
|Galvanized cedar shingle nails
- Split the shingle into a few pieces, using
a hammer and chisel. Pull these pieces out with pliers. " Using
a hacksaw blade, slide it under the shingle above the damaged
one to cut the nails that secured the old shingle.
- Trim the new shingle using a utility knife
to fit into the old shingle's place " Put the new shingle in place
and tap it to one inch of its final lace
- Insert two galvanized cedar shingle nails
at an upward angle, below the butt edge of the shingle above.
- Tap the new shingle into place using a wood
block and hammer.
With a few tools and a little elbow grease, shingles
can be repaired fairly easily.
|Tube of roofing cement
|Piece of aluminum flashing
|Flat pry bar
- Size up the flashing by cutting it approximately
one inch narrower than the ripped tab and 4 inches longer (you
want it to extend under the tabs on both sides).
- Loosen the damaged tab and the left and right
tabs by using a flat pry bar.
- Underneath the shingle, put on two or three
thick beads of roofing cement.
- Slide the flashing underneath and put more
roofing cement on top of the flashing.
- Push down on the tab so the flashing sticks
to the roof.
Avoiding Ice Dams
The sight of a snow-covered roof is a lovely one,
but the havoc it can wreak on a home is most certainly not. Oftentimes,
piles of snow on a roof can melt quickly due to the heat from a
furnace in the attic, which results in a pool of water trapped at
the eaves. This melted snow then refreezes when it comes into contact
with the eaves and can then sometimes get under the shingles and
drip into the house. Not a winter wonderland by any stretch of the
imagination! Here are some tips to prevent the inside of your home
from becoming soggy this winter.
First, note the signs of an ice dam. This can be a line of moisture
on a ceiling, called "shadow lines". This strip of moisture can
result in mildew (which can usually be addressed with a bleach solution).
To prevent ice dams from happening in the first place, keep the
underside of the roof deck at 30 degrees. Keeping the roof cold,
rather than warm, helps slow down the snow melting process. Warm
roofs accelerate the process and that's how you end up with ice
dams on your roof. The way to maintain this roof temperature is
to ensure that your attic has adequate insulation and is properly
sealed to prevent warm air from entering the attic from the house.
Proper ventilation of the attic is important as well, with cold
air coming in and warm air escaping quickly.
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