Quick Tips for the Home

How to Fix a Leaking Roof

A leaking roof can lead to water damage and mold. Learn tips on how to find the water source and how to prevent further damage until you can repair the leak.

man on ladder repairing a leaky roof

Your roof is one of those things that's easy to take for granted — until it stops working, of course. A leaking roof can cause extensive damage to your home and cost you thousands in home repairs.

While placing buckets on the floor to catch dripping water can temporarily prevent water damage to your floors and furniture, this isn't a good long-term solution. Instead, you'll need to identify and repair the source of the leak. Read on to learn how to fix roof leakage.

How to Fix Roof Leakage

1. Find the Source

To start repairing your leaky roof, you’ll first need to locate the source of the leak. Water typically comes in through missing or broken shingles, or through poorly sealed areas around chimneys or skylights.

According to Bob Vila, you’ll need to head up to the attic to check for damage. Make sure you take a flashlight and step carefully from joist to joist if you don’t have an attic floor. Using your flashlight, examine the underside of the roof. Look for areas that are darker than the rest of the roof, which indicates a roof leak. If it has rained recently, this will be difficult to see, so wait until the weather's a little drier to try this. 

If you can’t find any dark spots, have a friend go outside and climb up on a ladder to spray water liberally onto the roof using a hose. Once you find the leak, mark it so you can easily locate the spot to repair later on.

2. Temporarily Cover Damaged Area

If you are comfortable with climbing up onto your roof, it's a good idea to temporarily stop the roof so you can stop any further water damage from occurring. You can do this by inserting a sheet of galvanized metal or a thin plywood board under the damaged or missing shingles.  

3. Repair or Replace Damaged Shingle

If the leak was caused by a simple issue like a missing or damaged shingle, you can make the repair yourself by replacing the shingle in question. 

Sometimes the roof shingles curl up, allowing water underneath them. If this is the case, you can reattach curled-back shingles by using a compound like asphalt roof cement. Use a nail to hold the shingle in place.

Working on a roof can be dangerous, so use caution. If the problem is more extensive, it's best to call a professional instead. 

4. Repair Water Damaged Areas

Drywall that has been softened or damaged by water damage will need to be replaced to stop mold from potentially spreading. If you decide to do this yourself, take precautions and wear a dust mask to prevent inhaling any mold. In any case, when it comes to water damage, we recommend contacting a restoration professional to get the issues fixed fast.


DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Learn more.