How to Repair a Roof Leak

In this article of “how to repair a roof leak” we have outlined the basic steps you need to take and tool you will need to complete a roof leak repair job.  After carefully reading the following article, you should be able to equip yourself with the tools necessary to take apart the roof, find the roof leak source, and put the roof back together.

  • What tools you need to fix a Roof Leak
  • How to check the inside of a home for a Roof Leak
  • How to perform Roof Leak Detection

Getting the right tools for any job is important and fixing a roof leak is no different.  Here is a small list of hand tools you should have before you attempt to repair a roof leak.

  • Hammer – What type is optional.  A lot of roofer today use a framing hammer.  If you do choose a framing hammer, make sure you have a waffle faced hammer as opposed to a smooth or flat faced hammer.  Your finger will thank you for that decision!
  • Prybar – This is one of most important tools you will carry with you for the entire day.  It is used for pulling nails, lifting pieces of roofing, chipping, and scrapping.
  • Roofer Knife – These are typically only found at a roofing specific distributer.  They are not expensive but the best knife for cutting roofing.  Exceptionally durable and extremely sharp.
  • Tape measure – Anyone will do.  If you want to go budget on this tool you certainly can.
  • Chalk Line – Anyone will do.  If you want to go budget on this tool you certainly can.

How to Check the Roof Leak from the Ground

Before you do anything, it is a good idea to walk around the entire perimeter of the home and make mental notes of the roof sections of roofing above each room.  Check each section for items like skylights, a chimney, or some pipe flashing that could be important to make note of.

The first thing you need to do is to go inside the home and see exactly where the water damage is.  Traditional thinking would tell you there is the leak!  It may be but most likely not.  Your first task is to understand that is the end of the leak not the beginning.  The water damage to the interior of the home is your best clue as to how to find the leak source.

Before you start to repair the roof leak you need to know –

How Too Measure the Roof Leak

Once inside get directly under or in the same area as the water damage.  Remember back to when you were walking around the roof and see if you can remember about where on the roof you are standing under.

This is the time to take some measurements.  You use the tape measure to measure how far you / water damage is from the exterior wall.  This will give you the measurement you need to use when you get directly above the area and measure from the bottom of the roof using the measurement you took to place you directly above the water damage area you measured.

This part is crucial because where you tape measure leads you is going to be where you believe is directly above the damaged ceiling or interior measurements you took.

Roof Removal to Find the Roof Leak Source

Now is the time to use your tools to start taking apart the roof in this area.  This needs to be done in an area that is at least four feet wide by four feet tall.  The roofing in this area should be carefully removed and stacked aside for later re-use. Note:  shingles and tiles can be carefully removed and re-used if done carefully.  This should be done until the decking surface below the roofing is completely exposed in this area.

Roof Leak Detection

At this point you will be looking for sign of water damage.  The thinking is that:

  • if measure the leak or damage to the interior correctly
  • you are directly above the water damage from the interior.
  • You should find signs of water damage

Putting the Roof Leak Back Together

If you have located some water damage or sign of water on the plywood.  This water damage to the decking tells you water has in fact gotten under the roofing and water proofing and eventually fell into your attic or onto your ceiling.

You must remove enough of the roofing to uncover all signs of water damage or water stains on the decking.  Once this is done you will have to access the condition of the decking and make any necessary repairs to the decking.  Lastly, install new waterproofing / felt paper over the deck and put the roofing back to its original condition.