A leaky chimney or roof can lead to a variety of other roofing problems. However, if the homeowner is able to catch the leak before it causes a significant issue, it usually requires nothing more than a simple repair.
Many times, as roofs age, they tend to start leaking in multiple areas. It is important to note that allowing a little leaky spot to continue to get larger can cause serious repairs instead of a simple basic patch. Homeowners that have even the most basic skills and have no qualms of getting up on roofs should consider repairing small roof leaks instead of hiring a roofing contractor.
The first step in taking care of a roof leak is to accurately locate it. Just because the roof might be leaking into the home in a specific area does not mean that it is leaking directly above that spot. Water tends to travel down roof rafters and ceiling joists before actually making contact with the ceiling. Therefore, it is imperative to take the time necessary to thoroughly evaluate the roof system to make sure that the actual leak is being repaired.
It is important to thoroughly check out the skylights and chimneys and any area where flashing is used. This might include the areas where the vent system penetrates through the roof. These might be vent fan exhausts from the bathroom or kitchen, a dryer vent, or plumbing work.
In addition, it is important to look at all the shingles or roof tiles to see if any are cracked or missing. Once a thorough evaluation of the surface of the roofing system on the exterior has been completed, it is imperative to look in the attic for any signs of water damage. In addition, when looking in the attic it is important to look for any signs of sunlight penetrating through the roofing system, indicating a hole.
Once all the leaky areas have been evaluated, it is important to begin applying roof cement around any part of the system that is leaking. Simply laying roof cement over the damaged area is not enough. All of the edges need to be feathered out to allow for proper drainage over the damaged area.
Any rotten or damaged wood will need to be repaired or replaced. Recognize that any temporary patch will only hold for a minimal amount of time. Any blistered shingle needs to be pulled out and replaced with a new shingle. If there is a small split or hole in the shingle, a small dab of roof cement placed under the loose shingle will be a temporary fix. Be sure and include a small shingle nail to hold it firmly in place. Anytime a nail is penetrating through the roof substrate with its head exposed to the elements, there needs to be a small dab of roof cement applied over it.
Consider using fabric that is blended into the roof cement. This will add an additional layer of structure and provide a quality seal. In addition it will avoid the potential of blistering on the shingle when the heat hits the area.