It is normal for homeowners to encounter roof issues, and one might think the only way to fix a damaged roof is to replace it. But for many home owners with leaky roofs, replacement is simply out of the question. Replacing a roof can cost thousands of dollars and take months to fix. But homeowners need not fret. In some cases, only part of the roof is damaged and the rest of the roof is still functioning. To repair a roof, what’s key is to first localize the part of the roof that’s damaged. You may only need to replace one specific area of the roof to solve the problem.

It is easy to recognize damaged areas on shingle roofs. First, climb on top of your roof and look for shingles that simply don’t look quite right. Be on the lookout for curled, missing, or unsecured shingles, as they could all be signs of roof damage. In addition, pay attention to the space in between the shingles because there might be cracks and gaps.

If you can identify a problem, then be thankful because the solution is easy. All it will take is a few new shingles and a little roofing cement. If you’ve identified a damaged shingle, simply remove it with a pry bar and use roof cement (or roof tar) to glue the new shingle in its place. For good measure, you should also nail the shingle in place. If you find a curled shingle, you can flatten it either by force or by softening it with heat from a propane torch. Then, reattach the newly-straightened shingle with roof cement and nails. If you notice any cracks in between shingles, apply a generous amount of roof cement to cover the crack completely. When in doubt, you should err on the side of caution. After all, having too much roof cement will never hurt, but having too little will cause your home trouble.

If you notice a large patch of broken or missing shingles, it might be a better use of your time to consult a roofing professional. Unfortunately, bad weather over time can damage a roof beyond repair.

Fixing a flat roof requires a completely different approach. Flat roofs are usually made of layers of asphalt that are crisscrossed and then topped with a layer of gravel or stone. While a homeowner would have great difficulty installing a flat roof on his own, it is easy enough to make simple repairs to a flat roof.

To begin inspection, climb on top of the flat roof and be on the lookout for signs of damage. Problems usually develop around chimneys, skylights, vents, and water drains, so pay particular attention to these areas. If you notice any discoloration or blistering, there might be water damage and you would need to fix these areas.
To repair a damaged section of a flat roof, use a sharp knife to cut through the damaged roofing layers in the shape of a rectangle and discard this piece of damaged roofing. Then, cut a piece of roofing roll that is roughly the same size. Apply a generous amount of roofing cement over the roofing beneath the damaged area and press your new piece of roofing roll in place. Remember to secure the new roofing roll with nails. For good measure, place a second, slightly larger patch of roofing roll on top, and secure this roofing roll with cement and nails as well.

Above all, remember to always stay safe because repairing a roof can be dangerous. Under no circumstances should you ever attempt roof repairs in wet or inclement weather. Ideally, roof repair should take place on warm, sunny days.

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