If you’ve ever owned a house, chances are at some point you’ve had to deal with a leaky roof. Having water start dripping into your home is both stressful and alarming. And you can almost always bet it won’t be cheap to have a professional roofer come out to repair the leak.
In Ohio, we’ve had far more rain than usual this spring. A little over a week ago, our roof sprang a little leak, right in the family room.
Luckily, Kirk was a professional roofer for a number of years when he was younger. This comes in pretty darn handy when we have a problem with our roof — like a leak!
Before you ever try to walk on your roof to fix a leak, you must be positive that there isn’t extensive water damage that could have caused the wood underneath the the shingles on your roof to rot. If the boards are rotted, there is a BIG chance you will fall right through. If there is any question on whether or not the boards are rotted, call a professional.
Here are the steps Kirk took to fix the leak in our roof:
- Either a ladder or window with access to the roof.
- Commercial grade clear silicone (Kirk swears by Osi Quad window, door and siding sealant).
- Caulking gun.
- Utility knife (to cut the tip of the silicone).
- Long sharp object to open the silicone tube (Kirk used a bamboo skewer we had at home).
- Old, worn tennis shoes without a lot of tred. Newer tennis shoes with deep tred can scuff hot shingles.
Once Kirk climbed onto the roof, he spotted several possible culprits for the leak we experienced in our family room. The below photos will help you to determine what to look for when searching for a leak in your roof.
The big hole you see in the J-channel in the above photo on the right could be the problem. Kirk filled the hole with silicone and then continued to look for other sneaky leak possibilities.
The above space in the J-channel found at the roof’s peak is another likely culprit of a leak. Kirk filled the gap with silicone and moved along.
Finally, Kirk found a third possible leak cause — a popped nail. The nail was level with the shingle, so Kirk didn’t need to pound it down. He simply covered the nail with silicone.
What to Look For
While the leak could have been caused by any of these three things, we’ll now rest easy knowing that some other potential leaks have been taken care of. The silicone will last about five years, so we’ll need to make a trip back up on our roof to reseal these areas once five years has passed (or if we get another leak).
Kirk explained that typical causes of leaks on roofs are oftentimes caused by small gaps anyplace where the siding meets the house (this includes chimneys). These are areas you’ll want to inspect closely if you’re attempting to fix a leak on your own roof.
What you’ll be looking for are things like those red flags we discussed above.
It’s important that you don’t put TOO MUCH silicone on a potential leak also. If too much silicone is applied, it can cause a small dam where water will build up and cause a leak.
If you do accidentally end up with a large glob of silicone, (I can’t believe I’m writing this) the best way to smooth it out is to spit on your finger (ew) and smooth out the silicone. According to Kirk, the silicone won’t stick to your saliva.
Kirk picked up some of the clear Osi Quad silicone at Home Depot for $5.44. He uses a Workforce 160:20 Caulk Gun to dispense the silicone, which costs about $12.97 at Home Depot. There are less expensive caulk guns available, but Kirk says in his experience they don’t stop squirting silicone when you release the trigger. What a mess!
Also, a utility knife will be necessary to cut the tip of the silicone. You can find a good one for under $6.00.
Finally, we used a bamboo skewer to break the foil seal inside the tip of the silicone. You can use anything long, sharp and disposable. Some other suggestions would be to use a long nail or a stick.
In total, you’re probably not going to spend more than $25.00 and 30 minutes if you’re comfortable and willing to try and fix the leak yourself. If you call a professional, you’ll usually get charged a minimum of $150.00.
Have you ever tried to fix a leak in your roof? If so, did it work? If not, what stopped you from trying?
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