How to Repair a Leaky Roof (Guide])

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Learn how to repair a leaky roof like a professional. Fixing a roof doesn’t have to be hard, remember these tips and you’ll be ready to solve a leak in no time.

A leaky roof can be more than a pain, it can cause real structural damage and should be dealt with as soon as possible. With that being said, most small cracks, leaks and damaged shingles can be repaired rather easily and without the help of an experienced professional; especially with the support of a few tips and resources.

However, if your roof has any considerable damage or large holes, it’s best to consult a professional roofer who can give you a sound opinion and quote on how much it will cost to fix the issue. 

man repairing a leaky roof with some caulking

8 Tips to Repair Your Leaking Roof

man replacing shingles on a roof with a nail gun illustrating point number one

1. Replace any missing or damaged shingles

Once you are on the roof, ensure you review it for any missing or damaged shingles. You will want to note every one and repair them – depending on how damaged the shingles are you will either have to replace them all together or use roof sealant to fix cracks which we will cover in a later tip. Don’t forget to check your roof thoroughly as you will want to ensure you do not miss any shingles that could be responsible for the leak.

2. Repair all vent boots

Repairing your leaky roof doesn’t just mean the shingles. You should also review your vent boots and any roof vents to ensure there are no cracks forming around their bases, which could cause leaks.

These typically form in the rubber gaskets or across welded seams which are more susceptible to corrosion over time. If you do discover any damage, you will need to either replace the vent or hire a professional to repair it. If left to sit, this type of damage can easily spread into large leaks that can impact the roof board and structure beneath it.

3. Check for roof damage above water marks in your ceiling

Where there is water damage inside, there is likely a damaged roof outside. To find these locations, mark where you have ceiling damage, then go check your roof in the surrounding areas. You may find some shingles requiring replacement or damaged wood that may require the work of a professional to fix. If you can fix the shingles, do so yourself, then consider giving your ceiling inside a new coat of paint to cover the damage (if it’s only surface level) and fix the roof leak.

4. Check the step flashing, edges and base of your chimney for any leaks

Take a quick look around the chimney. If you see any rust, damaged bricks, or corroded step flashing, you will want to take note. These sections can be more difficult to repair and often require the help of a professional which is especially the case if there is any damage to the chimneys brickwork. If you suspect this to be the cause, please contact a professional to assist you with the repair of your leaky roof.

5. Repair any damaged siding and trim

It’s not just your roofing that can lead to a leaky roof – siding, trim and damaged gutters can also lead to water entering your home. To fix these types of issues, you will need to replace and or repair the damaged section and re-caulk it appropriately. While doing the repairs, it can also be worth it to fix any old caulking that may have become damaged or dry. This can help ensure your siding will remain watertight for the long term.

6. Fix all small holes 

Whether a tree branch fell on your roof, or you have storm damage – If you have any small holes in your roof you will want to deal with them right away. These holes can typically be repaired quite easily using some roof flashing, a new shingle, and some roof cement to ensure the flashing stays in place. If the hole is larger than a softball, you may want to consider consulting a professional. 

7. Look for discoloration and damaged shingles to identify problem areas

If your shingles have started to discolour and appear damaged, then it may be time to consider a new roof. A good rule of thumb is to replace your roof at least every 20 years, any longer and the shingles tend to really show the wear and tear of the outdoors. This is important as the discoloration and damage can also be a marker of further issues beneath the surface such as molding roof boards or even structural damage caused by long term leaking.

With that being said, if the discolouration is minor or the damage is minimal, then you can also choose to repair the shingles yourself and extend the life of the roof a bit longer.

8. Use roof sealant to fill small cracks

Roof sealant can be a real help when you just have tiny cracks to fix. Grab some and check your shingles for any splitting or curling that may cause cracks. If you notice any that may require patching, make sure you apply a generous amount and follow the manufacturers directions. If the cracks extend beyond the shingles into the roof boards, then you will want to consult with a professional. These types of cracks can lead to structural issues if left long enough and can also add the potential for pests getting in and wood rot.

Conclusion: How to repair a leaky roof

Whether you have a leak on your hands or were just curious about how to fix your roof for future reference, this article should provide you with a good starting point to solve most of your problems.

Ultimately, a leaky roof is largely due to damaged shingles, siding, or roof boards and can be quickly fixed by either yourself or a professional roofer. 

Curious to learn more about how to detect roof leaks? Check out Kukuns Roof Leak Detection Guide

Photo Credits

Canva, 2020



Ryan is a writer for He's been a hobbyist and painter for a long time, and now enjoys teaching others. His content primarly focuses on reviews and guides for painters and construction professionals.

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