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How to Effectively Patch Your Roof: A DIY Guide

Posted on June 24, 2024

roof patch

A sturdy roof may be expensive, but it’s a necessary investment that helps protect your home for decades to come. However, even the best roofs can suffer damage from severe weather like hail, high winds, ice dams, and more. One of the most common roofing issues homeowners face is leaks caused by damaged or missing shingles. 

While a minor leak may not seem like a big deal at first, it can quickly lead to much bigger problems like rotted wood, mold growth, and compromised structural integrity. The good news is that patching your roof can help extend its lifespan and prevent leaks from turning into expensive repair nightmares. In this guide, we’ll walk through the process of patching your roof yourself as a temporary fix.

Keep in mind that this is only a temporary repair method until professional methods and solutions can be applied to the roof.

What Is A Roof Patch?

Roof Patch
Roof Patch

Roof shingles, especially asphalt shingles come in the form of lightweight strips. Though these are durable enough, harsh weather conditions can cause them to become damaged over time.

Due to heavy rain and storms, your shingles can become cracked, curled, or worse, completely blown off. This leaves your roof underlayment and deck exposed to the elements and susceptible to leaks. The same thing can happen to roofing membranes that become torn or cut. 

A roof patch is a simple yet effective repair method that involves cutting and installing new sections of roofing material over the damaged area to seal any potential entry points that are leaking. Roof patches can provide a short-term solution for minor forms of damage, buying you time before a full roof replacement is necessary.

Signs You Require A Roof Patch

Signs You Require A Roof Patch
Signs You Require A Roof Patch
  • Water Stains: You see discolored patches appear on interior ceilings or walls (a crucial sign of an active roof leak)
  • Missing, Cracked, or Curled Shingles: Noticing any of these could mean that water has an entry point into your home
  • Torn Roofing Membrane: Part of the flat roofing membrane has become torn due to debris or foot traffic and requires patching to prevent water from getting into your building 

How Do You Patch An Asphalt Shingle Roof? 

Now that you know what a roof patch is and when it becomes necessary, it’s time to learn how to patch a roof yourself. Keep in mind that if you don’t have the right safety equipment or experience you should leave repairs, even minor ones, up to the professionals.

Gather The Right Tools

To patch a hole in the roof you must first gather all the required materials. These include the following: 

  • Replacement shingles (these are the extra shingles left over after replacement) 
  • Roofing nails
  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Utility knife
  • Roofing cement or sealant

Get The Right Safety Equipment

Along with the right tools you’ll also want to use the proper safety equipment: 

  • Wear protective gear such as non-slip shoes, rubber gloves, and safety helmets
  • Use a secure ladder and ask a family member to hold the ladder and keep it steady 
  • Wear harnesses or use roof jacks if you’re working on a steeply pitched roof

Prepare The Area  

Once you are on the roof, it is time to prepare the area. Clean your roof to make sure that it is free from dust and debris. Use the pry bar to remove any cracked, curled, or damaged shingles in the area you’ll be patching, ensuring you clear it down to the roof deck. 

To remove the shingles, use a pry bar to get underneath and loosen them. 

Measure And Cut New Shingles 

Now that the damaged shingles are removed, it’s time to install new ones. Measure the length and width of the area you’ve cleared with the tape measure. Use a chalk line or pencil to mark cut lines on the replacement shingles, ensuring your new pieces fit snugly and properly overlap any surrounding intact shingles.

Install The New Shingles 

Take your replacement shingle and carefully slide it under, in place of the damaged one. To make sure it doesn’t come off easily, apply a generous bead of roofing cement or roofing sealant over the shingles. You can also apply roofing cement on the shingles adjacent to your patch, as they might become vulnerable too. 

Apply Roofing Cement 

Once the new shingle sections are nailed in place, use additional roofing cement along all the edges, overlaps, and protruding nails, spreading it with a putty knife to create a waterproof seal.

Final Touches 

Do one last check to ensure the new shingles are flush with the existing roof, and use a utility knife or hammer to flatten any areas sticking up. Apply any final dabs of roofing cement over nail heads or seams for added protection.

How Do You Patch A Flat Roof? 

While the basic safety measures are still the same for flat roofing, there is a slight variation in the type of tools you need for the job:

  • Wet patch roofing cement
  • Roofing membrane material
  • Self-adhesive roofing tape
  • Utility knife or scissors

Apply Roofing Cement: 

Use a trowel to apply a generous layer of wet patch roofing cement over the damaged area, extending at least 2-3 inches beyond the damage. Spread the cement evenly for a uniform base.

Embed Roofing Mesh or Fabric: 

Cut a piece of roofing membrane that is large enough to cover the damaged area and the surrounding cement. Press it into the wet patch of cement, ensuring it is fully embedded and smooth.

Apply More Roofing Cement: 

Add another layer of wet patch roofing cement over the patching material, spreading it evenly to cover it completely and extend slightly beyond it.

Seal with Roofing Tape (Optional): 

For added protection, apply self-adhesive roofing tape over the patched area. Press down firmly to ensure a good seal.

Also Read: 7 Common Problems With Flat Roofs & How To Prevent It

Additional Tips To Consider

Whether you have a pitched or a flat roofing system, there are some things you need to consider before you move ahead with the project. 

  • Weather Conditions: Choose a dry day to patch your roof to ensure proper adhesion and avoid accidents.
  • Regular Inspection: Regularly inspect your roof for damage to address small issues before they become major problems.
  • Professional Help: Keep in mind that patches should only be used as temporary fixes. If leaks continue to occur, call a professional for help. 

DIY Repairs vs. Hiring A Professional: 

While patching your roof can be a cost-effective fix, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of doing it yourself versus hiring a professional roofing contractor for more extensive and durable repairs. 

On the DIY side, you can save quite a bit on labor costs. However, working on a roof can be extremely dangerous without proper equipment and experience. Professional roofers not only have the right tools and safety gear, but years of training to properly diagnose and repair roofing issues. They can also advise if patching is truly sufficient or if a larger repair or full roof replacement is recommended based on the extent of damage and age of your existing roof.

Additionally, most reputable roofing companies offer warranties on their workmanship, which a  DIY job can’t provide. So while you may pay more for a professional roof patch, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have a properly installed, long-lasting repair backed by a warranty.

Your Experts For Roof Repair In Northeastern Wisconsin

While patching can provide a short-term, cost-effective repair for minor isolated roof damage, it’s not a permanent solution. Ongoing leaks and moisture will continue to wear down your roofing system, eventually requiring more expensive repairs or a total roof replacement down the road. That’s why it’s so important to have your roof regularly inspected and maintained by a professional roofing company like Prestige Roofing. 

Our roofing experts have years of experience repairing different types of roofing systems. Whether you are facing issues with a shingle, metal, or flat roof, we can help. 

Contact us today at (920) 791-0414 to speak with one of our experts and find out how we can help you.