How to Fix a Leaking Roof

Don’t overlook even the tiniest roof leak. A leaking roof can lead to water damage and mold. Learn tips on how to find the water source, prevent further damage, and fix your leaking roof.

man on ladder repairing a leaky roof

Repairing and replacing your roof and ceiling can be costly and monopolize your budget. Luckily, there are steps you can take to lessen the fallout. Here are some tips on how to fix a leaking roof so you can stay dry all year-round.

How do you find the source of the roof leak? 

To start your roof leaking repair, you’ll first need to locate the source of the problem. Water typically comes in through:

  • Missing or broken shingles 

  • Poorly sealed areas around chimneys

  • Skylights

  • Roof or plumbing vents

According to Bob Vila, the best way to find the source is to grab a flashlight and head to the highest point of the interior of your home—your attic. (Never attempt to get on your roof during a storm, even if it’s just raining.)  

If your attic isn’t finished and there’s no flooring, make sure you examine the joists carefully before stepping on them. If the water damage is severe, they could be compromised and snap. 

If it’s been a while since the initial roof leak, and there are no visible dark spots, climb safely up a ladder (or have a professional do this) and spray water liberally onto the roof using a hose. Once you find the leak, mark it so you can easily locate the spot when it comes time to repair the roof leak. Once it’s dry, you can then use roof tar or a roof patch to seal the leak from the inside.

How do you repair the roof leak?

If a missing or damaged shingle causes the issue, you can fix the roof leak yourself by replacing the shingle in question. 

Working on a roof can be dangerous, so use caution. If the problem is more extensive, it's best to call a professional instead who is an expert in leaking roof repair. You should also be aware that using certain sealants or doing repair work yourself could void any warranty you may have on your roof.  

Sometimes the roof shingles curl up, allowing water to pool underneath them. If this is the case, you can reattach curled-back shingles using a compound like an asphalt roof cement, roof tar, or Flexseal. Use a nail to hold the shingle in place. You can also use these materials for roof leak repairs around the openings in your roof. If the area is still damp, you’ll want to use a product that can be used on wet surfaces. 

This could be a convenient time to perform a roof inspection to determine if you need to stormproof your roof. 

If only a small part of your roof is leaking, you may be able to get away with these simple fixes. However, if more than one problem crops up, it may be time for a new roof. It’s important to get it replaced as soon as possible.

How do you repair water-damaged areas?

Drywall in the ceiling that has been softened or damaged by water will need to be replaced to stop mold from potentially spreading. When it comes to a leaking ceiling repair, we recommend contacting a professional to fix the issue. The risk of mold spreading through your home just isn’t worth it. 

Protect yourself from future leaks with a home warranty. 

Don’t let a leaking roof drown out your day. With roof leak repair coverage from American Home Shield®, you can be confident that the roof over your head will keep you dry. Roof leak repair coverage covers leaking roof repair if the damage is due to dry rot, broken or missing shingles, normal wear and tear, and normal freezing and thawing cycles. View pricing and plans today to start protecting your budget and your household. 

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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New Jersey Residents: The product being offered is a service contract and is separate and distinct from any product or service warranty which may be provided by the home builder or manufacturer.