When A Good Roof Goes Bad: What To Do With A Leaky Cedar Roof

8 July 2015
 Categories: , Blog


Cedar shingles are a beautiful, durable building material, but they are not impervious to the elements. In order to keep your roof functioning properly, you need to make repairs whenever your roof shows signs of damage. If you know what you are doing, you should be able to make repairs to your roof on your own:

How to Recognize Damage to a Cedar Shingle Roof

Cedar shingles are more likely to split along the grain than across it. Thus, you should see cracks extending from the top of your shingles to the bottom. If the top of the crack extends beyond the top of the underlying shingle, water can leak behind your shingle and leak through your roof. While less common, a large hailstone or a falling limb can cause shingles to break across the grain. If this crack forms near the top of your shingle, then your shingle likewise needs to be replaced. 

How to Make Repairs to a Damaged Shingle

The good news about damaged shingles is that you don't have to have specialized training or equipment to make repairs. Instead, you should just need to arm yourself with the right know-how:

1. It is often easier to remove the nails that hold your shingle in place if you first remove the shingle. Using a gentle strike with your hammer, break up the damaged shingle.

2. Remove the broken pieces of the shingle.

3. Use a cat's paw to remove the old nails.

4. Fill the nail holes with a dab of roofing cement.

5. Measure the distance between the shingles on either side of your missing shingle.

6. If necessary cut your replacement shingles so that it is a half inch shorter than this gap. This will allow the shingle to expand and contract with changes in the temperature and/or humidity without affecting the shingles on either side. 

7. Slide the shingle up until the bottom edge extends about a quarter of an inch behind the shingles in the same row. Maintain a quarter-inch gap on either side of the broken shingle. 

8. Drive two nails into the top of the shingle as close as you can get to the shingle from the row above without damaging these shingles. You might want to use a nail setter when your nail extends about a half inch of the surface of the shingles because the setter will allow you to keep your hammer up away from the shingles, thus the risk of damage is mitigated. 

9. Once your nail is set, strike the bottom edge of the shingle gently with your hammer until it is even with other shingles in the same row. 

As long as you have a nail setter, a cat's paw, and a hammer, you have all the tools that you need to replace a damaged shingle. As long as you only have a few shingles that are broken, it will be cheaper to replace the broken shingle than to replace your entire roof. If you are reasonably good with tools, you should be able to make repairs, but you can also call in professionals to make the repairs for you.

To learn more, contact a company like Onit Roofing & Exteriors Inc roofs.