Step-by-step Guide on How to Fix a Roof

Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a homeowner like seeing water leaking from the ceiling, down walls or accumulating in a basement. Being a roofing company located in Ottawa, Canada, where we endure extreme temperatures that range as high as 40 degrees Celsius or as low as minus 40 Celsius, we get the opportunity to see nearly every cause for leaky roofs. No matter what is causing your leak, it requires immediate action.

If you are the DIY / do-it-yourself type and you want to save a buck or two, follow this complete step-by-step roof repair guide located below on how to identify and repair your roof.

Safety Disclaimer: We don’t suggest climbing on your roof to identify a leak without proper safety protection. Our team is professionally trained and certified to work at heights. Always use a harness safety system to prevent falls and any ladder used to climb on a roof should always extend 3ft above the eavestroughs.

If you are looking for a professional roofing company in the Ottawa, Kanata and Gatineau area, give us a call today. The Rydel Roof Repair team is available 24/7 and we’re always willing to listen, help and even offer free tips & advice.

Roof Repair Step 1. Take safety precautions and contain the roof leak

The first signs of a water leak in your roof are discolouration in your ceiling, bulges or bubbling within your walls, dark spots in your attic or soggy drywall around lights or electrical outlets. If you are seeing any of these signs, it’s generally a strong indicator that water is building up somewhere behind it and it’s of the utmost importance to control the flow of said water.

  • Disengage any electrical breakers that might be connected to lights or electrical outlets in the room where the leak is located as well as any rooms located above the leak. 
  • Find a container to catch the water and place it under the location where you think you can direct the water flow.

Once you have set up a landing area for the water flow and alleviated any electrical dangers, take a screwdriver and puncture a hole in the middle of the location that water is pooling. This puncture will give the water and controlled path that will relieve any pressure that may be accumulating in your ceiling and help avoid creating further damage.

Roof Repair Step 2. Identify the source of the leaking roof

If you believe you can identify the source of the leak and can safely access it, prevent further damage by covering the location with a tarp that extends well past the edges and above the suspected leaking area. This will work as a temporary solutions until you can fix the issue properly. If your leak is appearing near the bottom of the roof, there is a high likelihood that leak is being caused well above it.

Tell-tale signs of a leak inside your home

  1. Staining or wet spots located on your ceiling and or walls
  2. Damp drywall and bubbling paint around lights and electrical outlets
  3. Sounds of water dripping
  4. Paint peeling on walls

Tell-tale signs of a leak outside your home:

  1. Warped or decayed shingles
  2. Bald spots on your shingles where granules have worn away
  3. Clogged eavestroughs and or built-up / frozen shingle debris located in your gutters
  4. Nails under shingles that protruding or not flush with the roof
  5. Bent or warped flashing edges
  6. Debris located in the valleys or around chimneys

Roof Repair Step 3. Start Repairing the Leak

Now that you have taken precautions to minimize the impact of your leaking roof, addressed safety precautions and identified the general location of the leak, it’s time to find out exactly what is causing the issue.

Interior roof inspection

If everything around the flashing and eaves looks ok, crawl up into your attic and look for water stains, trails or light protrusions. Water often runs down trusses, wiring or the plywood underlay so be sure to follow it all the way to the original source. Once you have identified the source, measure the closest distance to the top, bottom or sides of your roof so you can use them to target the region once you return to the exterior of your roof.

Exterior roof inspection

Safety Disclaimer:  Again, we don’t suggest climbing on your roof to identify a leak without proper safety protection. Ice, water and wind can and will make a roof slippery and dangerous. Falling from a roof can lead to serious injury or even death. Our team is professionally trained and certified to work at heights. Always use a harness safety system to prevent falls and any ladder used to climb on a roof should always extend 3ft above the eavestroughs.

Start by inspecting flashing, valleys and eavestroughs. Things to look for include bent or warped flashing, missing shingles, cracked caulking along the flashing edges or any other protrusions in the roof. Note: check any venting flanges and siding.

One of the most common issues that cause leaks in roofs is missing shingles. This can be due to improper installation, extreme weather or shingles that are past their expiration.

Once you have pinpointed the location of the leak, grab a flat pry bar and carefully start pulling back the suspected shingles. Key indicators are rusted nails, wet or moist areas and water buildup. Identify the damaged shingle and continue using the flat pry bar to lift all the nails holding it down to remove it. Slip a new shingle in place and then secure it under the shingle above using 1+1/4” roofing nails. Lift up the tab of both the new and old shingles and apply roofing cement to seal the shingles to the roof.

Roof Repair Step 4: Test It Out! 🙂

Once you have finished repairing your suspected leak, get a friend to run water over the area in question while you watch from inside the attic. If the problem persists, go back to step 2 and repeat until you’ve found your leak.

It might seem like we are harping on about the safety concerns but please, make sure you or the person helping you is using proper safety equipment. 

As always, we are here to help. If you have any questions about fixing your roof or simply want to have our team of trusted, professional roofers come and inspect your property, give us a call, shoot us an email or send us a message via Facebook Messenger. We are always happy to help and look forward to getting back to you  with urgency. 🙂