Repairing a Shingled Roof

Damaged or missing shingles can cause a number of problems, including water leaks and the resulting damage. Repairing and replacing shingles is done in different ways depending upon the type of shingles used on the roof. When repairing any shingled roof, avoid working in dangerous conditions, such as windy or rainy weather, and always use a roofing ladder to avoid falling.

Repairing an Asphalt Shingled Roof
Asphalt shingles are the most common roofing material in North America because of their light weight and low cost. These shingles consist of a felt base which is saturated with asphalt and coated with granules of minerals. The average asphalt shingle has a life of 15 to 25 years and can be repaired relatively easily.

High winds can lift or curl the edges of asphalt shingles, letting rain in through the shingled roof. A caulking gun can be used to apply quick-setting shingle cement under the shingle, adhering it once again to the roof. If a shingle is torn, it can be secured by roofing cement on the underside, as well as nails on both sides of the tear.

When completely replacing damaged asphalt shingles, two rows of nails must be pulled out. Pull out the lower row of nails on the damaged shingle as well as the upper row which attaches both the damaged shingle and the shingle above it. Pull out the damaged shingle after all of the nails are loosened or removed. Pull the damaged shingle away and apply roofing cement to any tears or holes left in other shingles. Next, slide the new shingle into place and nail it down to the roof.

Repairing a Slate or Wood Shingled Roof
Slate and wood shingles are both attractive and durable. A wood or slate shingled roof can be repaired by replacing individual shingles instead of an entire strip of shingles. Wood shingles should be placed on the roof with about 0.25 inch (6 mm) of space between them, as they may expand when wet.

construction worker Small cracks in wood or slate shingles can be sealed by patching it with copper or aluminum flashing. Simply cut a rectangular section of the flashing and coat it with roofing cement, sliding the shingle under the others which are already in place. Hairline cracks can be filled with roofing compound.

If a slate or wood shingle is rotted or badly split, it will need to be replaced. The old shingle can be broken into pieces and pulled away from the nails, which are removed with a slate puller. If a slate puller is not available, a hacksaw blade can be used to cut the nails.

The new shingle may not be the same size as the originals on the shingled roof. Wooden shingles may need to be trimmed with a hatchet or a hand plane. They can then be tapped into place and aligned with the other shingles. Secure the shingle with galvanized nails and coat the heads of the nails with roofing cement.

If the slate shingles are not the correct size, they can be scored with a cold chisel and snapped off at the scored line. To hold the new piece of slate in place, a piece of copper or aluminum flashing should be cut which is 2 inches (5 cm) wide and long enough to extend several inches above and below the new slate single. This is nailed onto the joint between the underlying slates. The new slate shingle is then coated with roofing cement and placed on top of the holding tap. The tab is then bent up over the bottom edge of the slate and secured with cement.

Written by Bronwyn Harris