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How to Repair a Leaky Roof

On hot days it is more difficult to observe any leaks or spots of humidity, but as we enter the rainy or cooler seasons, they become present.

We will share the steps to detect and repair your roof with humidity, either with asphalt tile or clay tile.

In case you don’t feel confident about repairing your house roof yourself, it is best to have professional help from residential roofing contractors, simply because by doing so, you will always have peace of mind with your roof.

Detect the origin

The first thing to do is determine where the moisture that appears on the ceiling comes from. Leaks can be found in the following parts of a roof:

  • Some pipe is broken
  • Water that is stagnating specifically in the area where the leak appears
  • A crack has formed in the slab
  • Some tile, either mud or asphalt tile broken, lifted or detached, due to heavy rains and the water has leaked there.

Repair abroad

Once the source of the humidity is detected, it is time to get down to work and repair your roof. The repair process will depend on the type of roof and cover you have, whether it is concrete or wood, as well as whether it is covered with clay tile or asphalt shingle.

Leaks on Sloped Roofs with Clay Tiles

1) Check and repair the seal and insulation of the clay tiles

In principle, one of the problems with roofs of this type is that they do not always have a good seal and insulation between the tiles or waterproofing below the clay tile.

The space under the tiles is sometimes not filled with plaster, so it is important to do so. Not only for a matter of thermal insulation but also for the adherence of the tiles, so that they do not fly or move due to the effect of the wind or by an animal that runs across the roof.

To solve this, we are going to apply a special polyurethane foam for tiles first under the lower tiles and on the upper tiles, we will apply a bead on the inside face.

2) Check and replace broken clay tiles

Another problem that we can find on the roof is, directly, a broken tile. It may be that it has completely broken, in which case we have to change the part. But other times we arrive in time to find cracks that must be corrected because, even if it is a piece that overlaps another and the water does not enter, sometimes, with the effect of the water, it will end up breaking completely. How do we repair it?

Step 1 – The first thing we are going to do is remove the damaged or broken tile.

Step 2 – Then we clean the area very well with a spatula and a wire brush so that the surface is perfectly prepared to place the new piece.

Step 3 – Apply a continuous zigzag bead of foam over both the top and bottom overlap areas.

Step 4 – Immediately we place the tile in its position and press, we will finish the work by removing the rest of the product with a spatula.

3) Repair cracked clay tiles

Now, in the case of a tile with a crack, there are several options that we can resort to fix the cracked tile, and regardless of the option we choose, we must always clean the area very well.

Self-adhesive waterproofing strip

You can solve it by patching the piece of tile with a self-adhesive waterproofing strip. We are going to cut the band a size a little larger than the crack. Then we remove the protective tape from the strip and place it over the crack, pressing with the help of a roller so that it is perfectly fixed to the tile.

Waterproofing Spray

Another option we have is to use a waterproofing spray. For our protection, we must wear gloves and a mask while applying it. Shake the container very well and spray the tile, specifically on the crack.

Rubber and fiberglass paint

And finally, we can solve it with rubber paint and fiberglass. We will apply a layer of rubber paint on the crack area. Then we place the fiberglass mesh over the paint layer and apply another layer of paint over it, the necessary amount until the fiberglass pores are very well covered. After this time, we can give it another coat of paint to reinforce it and make it completely sealed. What happens with these materials is that a layer is created on top of the crack, which once dry, the crack will not come out again.

Leaks on Sloped Roofs with Asphalt Shingles

‍In the case of a roof with asphalt shingles, the solution will depend on the type of surface on which they are placed, whether it is a wooden roof or a concrete slab.

1) Inspect roof and asphalt shingles

If your roof is practically new or it has not been covered by asphalt shingles for a long time, but a strong storm hit and leaks began to appear, it is most likely that you will not see major or obvious damage on the surface. We will use common sense and take a deeper look specifically in the area where the leaks originated.

If the roof covering is made of wood, what we are going to do is walk over the area where the leak came out or where moisture stains can be seen. Pressing carefully on the area we can feel if there are weak points, such as unusual subsidence.

And in the event that the roof is made of concrete, we are going to carefully review the pieces of asphalt shingles that are also found in the area where moisture stains or leaks have been detected. The advantage of sloping roofs is that water flows more easily without the risk of stagnating and causing further damage. So, it is very likely that we have a case of water infiltration due to the lifting of some piece of asphalt shingle, which surely at the time of installing them may have lacked a bit of sealant or have been nailed in the wrong way and with the heavy rains accompanied of winds has risen giving free passage to the water.

Once the weak point has been identified, we are going to inspect the asphalt shingles in that area specifically. With the help of a flat lever, we will remove the nails, only from the damaged shingles, which we have to replace, very carefully so as not to damage the pieces of asphalt shingles. We are removing complete pieces of asphalt shingle to take a closer look at how severe the damage is, so we can determine what repairs need to be made.

2) If the wood is damaged, it must be replaced with a new piece

With a shovel, we will be hitting the wood, from the most affected point outwards to distinguish how far the damage reaches. We will remove all the tile pieces that cover that area to replace them with new ones of the same model and same color. With chalk or colored pencil, we are going to mark and measure the area that we have to replace with a new board. With a jigsaw or saw, we will cut the marked area, being very careful not to cut the posts that support the structure.

We place the new piece of wood cut to the required size to cover the hole perfectly, then we are going to screw or nail it. That depends on the preference of each person, and the important thing is that it is very well fixed to the structure.

3) Replace the asphalt shingles in the affected area

Now we are going to place the asphalt felt cut to the corresponding size. We have to insert it under the pieces of asphalt shingles that are installed, making sure that the new felt overlaps well with the layers of felt that were already placed. Once the felt is well accommodated, we nail it.

Finally, we only have to place the new tiles. Remember that you always have to place them from the bottom up. So, we are going to position the first followed by the tile that is already installed, so that it is perfectly aligned and following the instructions indicated by the manufacturer, we are going to nail it. And so, we continue the order with the pieces above. We seal very well with asphalt cement, putting a little on the nails and in the area of ​​overlap between the upper tile with the lower one, we press them either with our hands or you can lean on them with a roller to adhere them very well, thus we prevent them from rising with strong winds and give it additional reinforcement.

Remember that in the case of concrete roofs, all we have to do is replace or reseal the asphalt shingle piece(s) that are damaged or lifted, as the case may be.

Interior repair

We are going to remove the loose material on the ceiling with the help of a spatula, we have to leave the area clean. With a brush, we are going to shake off the dust that may remain.

Once the surface is clean, we will apply paint that eliminates fungi and mold. It is possible that, when the surface is clean, the presence of fungus or mold is not appreciated. What happens is that the fungus is there but you don’t see it because it is still in a very small stage of development.

So, what this paint has is that we can apply it to the fungus and it kills it and prevents it from continuing to reproduce and from appearing again. We are going to apply the paint and then we will let it dry.

After the paint has dried, we will apply a hard paste or plaster evenly to even out the surface. Once we have plastered the surface and it has dried, we will sand it to avoid leaving reliefs and to leave a smooth surface. A sandpaper and a lot of patience are all that is needed.

It is very important after sanding, to wipe the area with a rag because there is always dust left, it has to be perfectly clean and free of dust.

Just as we applied a fungus-eliminative paint before applying the plaster, we are going to apply a fungus-protective paint. When you paint the ceiling with a brush it starts dripping everywhere, you have to take off a little bit of paint and avoid spilling it all.

Done, we have already solved our problem of leaks and humidity in our roof. You always have to know well what you have to do, and never hesitate to ask for help, buy the materials and get or, if necessary, rent the machines and tools that you are going to need.

The Walking Mombie