About 40% of all building disasters start with a leaky roof.If you know how to fix a roof leak, you can save a lot of money on professional help. It’s also a great skill to have for keeping your home dry until a roofing team can come and take a look.

Here are all the roof leak repair tips you need to know to get started.

Necessary Tools

If you’re going to do the work, you need the right tools. Collect the following before fixing a roof leak:

  • Flat bar
  • Shingles
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife
  • Roof cement
  • Circular saw
  • Roofing nails
  • New shingles
  • Roofing paper

Just keep in mind that you’ll have to provide correct measurements for the roof shingles or they won’t fit.

How to Fix a Roof Leak

We’re going to walk you through the process of fixing a roof leak in five simple steps. By the end of this section, you’ll know exactly what to do to get your roof leak stopped—and have some peace of mind.

Locate the Roof Leak

Start by walking around the house and inspecting the flashing material—the metal or plastic strips that cover joints in your roofing system. Holes, tears, and cracks in the flashing are all likely causes of leaks.

It’s also possible that your house’s roof vents may have come loose. Use a ladder to get on the roof and check for missing nails that were holding the vents in place.

If you have a flat roof, look for blocked drains and other holes that may let in water.

Sometimes the leak can be hard to find. Try soaking different areas of your roof with a hose and waiting for leaks to appear. Have someone on the inside keep an eye out for any telltale signs of leaking.

Tear Off Old Roofing Shingles

Remember to start a few rows above the place you want to repair. Then pry the nails loose, and pull the shingles away. From here, work downward until you’ve reached the source of the leak.

Remove the Damaged Roof Deck

To replace the roof decking, start by setting the blade depth on a circular saw to the deck’s thickness plus 1/16 inch. Next, kneel outside of the cutting area and start removing the damage.

The pry bar will come in handy to remove any nails from the cut-out sections. You’re also going to need it to pry off the damaged piece of plywood.

Install the Roof Deck Patch

Use the damaged plywood that you removed earlier as a template for the roof deck patch. Then, nail the patch into place on the rafter.

Replace the Shingles

Before putting on the shingles, nail down some brand new roofing paper.

Next, lay the first row of shingles on the lowest part of the repair. Add a small amount of cement along the bottom of the shingles before starting another row. Then continue to work upwards until the roof deck is covered.

It helps to reach out to a professional roofing service for this step (and the others). You can find more information here if you want your roof to look its best after a leak.

Call the Professionals Before You Try to Fix Your Leak

Now you know how to fix a roof leak, but that doesn’t mean that you should. The best way to tackle a leak is to contact a professional for help. However, if you insist on trying your hand at it or you’re in a pinch, these five steps will help you get the job done.

If you’re taking being an at-home repair person seriously, check out our other repair blogs for more projects.