How to Repair a Leaky Roof Leak at a Nail Hole

Written by danny donahue
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How to Repair a Leaky Roof Leak at a Nail Hole
Even a small, nail hole leak will allow water to invade your home causing damge. (roof image by kuhar from

Water is the enemy. The roof of your house is protection from that enemy. A solidly built roof captures water and channels it into the guttering system and away from your home. Even a small, nail hole in your roof will let enough water into your house to damage wiring, drywall and eventually the structural members that support the house. Sealing roof leaks is a necessity in order to stop the invasion of water and save your home.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Extension ladder
  • Caulk gun loaded with tar-based roofing adhesive
  • Hammer
  • Roofing nails
  • 1 inch putty knife
  • 5 gallon bucket
  • Nylon rope (1/4 inch by 50 feet)
  • Work gloves
  • Safety glasses

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  1. 1

    Set up your extension ladder on a flat section of the ground. Lift the top portion of the ladder so that it is at least 3 feet taller than the edge of the roof. Place your caulk gun, hammer, nails and putty knife into the 5-gallon bucket. Tie one end of the rope onto the handle of the bucket. Tie the free end of the rope onto your belt.

  2. 2

    Climb the ladder and sit on the roof keeping your backside and both feet in constant contact with the roof so that you are not breaking the three-point rule. Tie the free end of the rope to the top rang of your ladder and pull the rope to raise the bucket up to the work area. Place the bucket securely on the roof. Allow the excess rope to hang off of the edge of the roof so that it is out of your work area.

  3. 3

    Apply a small spot of roofing adhesive to the nail hole with your caulk gun. Place the point of a roofing nail into the hole and drive it home with your hammer. Apply a half dollar size dollop of roofing adhesive over the nail head. Smooth the adhesive with your putty knife leaving a ¼ inch by 2 inch patch over the area.

  4. 4

    Place your tools into the bucket. Lower the bucket slowly to the ground. Untie the rope from the ladder and drop it to the ground. Climb down the ladder and lower it carefully to the ground.

Tips and warnings

  • Work gloves and safety glasses are necessities when working with hand tools and tar-based roofing adhesive.
  • Always remember and follow the three-point rule when working on ladders and at heights. The three-point rule states that you must always maintain three points of contact with the ladder or raised surface to ensure your hold and remain safe.

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