How to fix a leaking roof quickly

Written by april dowling
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How to fix a leaking roof quickly
Use basic supplies to quickly fix roof leaks. (roof image by Christopher Meder from

Proper roof maintenance is an essential aspect of owning a home. Roofs occasionally develop leaks from violent storms, deterioration and other sources. Since roof leaks are often difficult to locate, they are major nuisances. Many roof leaks occur around improperly installed flashing, which is transition material that attaches roofing materials to chimneys, valleys, skylights and plumbing stacks. Fix roof leaks promptly to avoid interior damages and further repairs. Only basic supplies are needed to fix roofs quickly.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Hardhat
  • Gloves
  • Ladder
  • Slip-resistant shoes
  • Wire brush
  • Hammer
  • Metal scraper
  • Zinc-based primer
  • Rust-inhibiting metal paint
  • Urethane roofing cement
  • Putty knife

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  1. 1

    Access the attic area, wearing a hardhat and gloves. Identify the source of the leak by locating stained or discoloured wood and dripping water.

  2. 2

    Use a ladder to access the roof. Wear slip-resistant shoes to prevent slipping off the ladder or roof.

  3. 3

    Locate the area of the roof directly above the stains or leaking area of the attic. Inspect the flashing around any skylights, plumbing stacks, chimneys, walls and valleys in that area for loose nails, gaps and dry or cracked caulking.

  4. 4

    Remove flaking paint, dirt and corrosion from the damaged flashing with a wire brush. Reattach any loose nails, using a hammer.

  5. 5

    Scrape out the old caulking compound around the edges of the flashing, using a metal scraper. Spray the damaged flashing with a coat of zinc-based primer.

  6. 6

    Allow the zinc-based primer to dry according to the manufacturer's directions. Spray two light coats of rust-inhibiting metal paint over the flashing.

  7. 7

    Allow each coat of the metal paint to dry according to the manufacturer's directions. Apply urethane roofing cement in the gaps between the flashing and shingles, using a putty knife.

  8. 8

    Smooth the roofing cement over any obvious seams, using the putty knife. Allow the roofing cement to dry according to the manufacturer's directions.

Tips and warnings

  • While in the attic, do not walk on drywall or sections between joists; you could fall through the ceiling.

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