Roof Repair: What You Can DIY and When to Call the Pros (VIDEO)

Posted by on Dec 22, 2021

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If you see a leak in your ceiling or rotting wood beams, you may think the problem can be easily fixed with a patch of spackle or roof glue. Sometimes that works fine. On other occasions, you’re just putting off the inevitable or possibly making the problem worse by not addressing the cause. If a roof isn’t in good condition, it can lead to other home damage. Unfortunately, you can’t always tell the condition of a roof just by surveying the shingles. As a homeowner, it's essential to know what you can accomplish yourself and when to call pros. Here are a few small projects you can accomplish yourself as well as signs that you should bring in experts.

Knowing a Roof’s Age

Your roof’s age impacts the type of repairs that should be attempted, as well as the cost of your home insurance. If your home was built before 1987, a DIY repair isn't advisable and can be dangerous. Old roofs are especially susceptible to leaks and other damage. It can be costly to have a professional replace your roof, but it's a much better option than risking further damage. To get an idea of roof replacement costs, use a roofing calculator — it can help you determine the cost of roof replacement based on roof size and material costs. A roofing calculator can also provide estimates for labor costs and other materials needed for roof installation. 

(If you happen to live in Atlanta, you can contact Atlanta's roofing experts. If not, you can contact someone close. Always check reviews to see what people are saying about a roofing company’s work.) 

In the above video, the Roofing Channel explains how long a roof will stay strong. The manufacturer’s warranty may quote between 25 and 50 years, but sun, weather and a lot of other things can impact if a roof survives. For example, if your attic isn’t properly ventilated, the roofing material will burn up from the heat.

Responding to Roof Leaks

If you've noticed water leaking into your home, the first step is to find the source of the leak. Once you've identified where the leak is coming from, you can decide whether to DIY roof repair. If the leak is caused by a problem that you can easily fix, such as a missing shingle, then you may be able to handle the repair yourself. However, if the leak is caused by a serious issue, such as damage to the roof deck or flashing, it's best to call in a pro. 

In the above video, Roofer 911 explains how they inspect every shingle on a roof to make sure misplaced nails aren’t exposing the edges of the shingles. Shingles near the roof edge and chimney are common places to find leaks.

Understand Your Roofing Materials

Many homeowners think a cracked roof is a simple fix. While this may be true for some concerns, such as shingles becoming dislodged by strong winds, it's not true for every issue. If you don't fully understand your roof’s construction or the materials used, DIY repairs can be tough. 

Understanding basic materials and methods can be helpful, but may not allow you to fully grasp how your roof works. When picking out new materials for DIY repairs, always remember to use products that are identical to those originally used on your home's roof. 

While asphalt shingle roofs are a very common roof covering, the above video by This Old House explains how wood, metal, and architectural shingles are all utilized these days. If you're unsure of the best materials to use for a DIY roof repair, it's best to consult with a professional. Not all repairs can be done by homeowners. Some tasks, such as replacing roof decking or flashing, require special tools and expertise that most homeowners don't have.

What to Do When You’re Unsure

If you're unsure of what’s causing a leak, it's wise not to attempt repairs. Clunky attempts can lead to more problems. If you're not sure where to start, hire a professional roofer for an inspection. They'll be able to spot any potential problems and advise on the best course of action. 

Damage caused by natural disasters, such as high winds or heavy storms typically requires professional expertise. About
15 minutes into the above video, Jeff Ostroff demonstrates how to use silicone adhesive and a tarp to patch a leaking roof before contractors have a chance to work on the surface.

Not Comfortable with Heights?

If you're not comfortable with heights, avoid any DIY roof repair. Many of the tasks involved in repairing a roof, such as climbing up a ladder to replace shingles, can be dangerous if not approached correctly. If you're not confident in your ability to safely complete these tasks, it's best to leave them to the professionals. There are many safe and effective ways for professionals to complete roof repairs, so there's no need to take any risks. Also, it can be helpful to have a friend or family member help you out with tasks that are too dangerous for you to do alone.

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