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How to repair a leaking roof and chimney

Updated February 21, 2017

When water is leaking through the roof and chimney into your attic you will need to head straight to the roof to fix the source of the problem. Leaking roofs can cause a lot of damage in a home and are very unsafe. Luckily, you can usually repair leaking roof shingles and chimneys easily. If the leaking persists after you have dealt with any damaged shingles and the chimney, you may need to call in a professional.

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  1. With a pry bar, bend back the good shingles away from the damaged ones. You will need to be able to reach the entire damaged shingle, so release as many good ones as necessary.

  2. Pull out the nails from the bad shingles with the back of a hammer.

  3. Remove the bad shingles once all of the nails are pulled out.

  4. Re-cover the bare part of roof with new shingles. Start at the bottom of damaged area and work upwards.

  5. Secure each shingle into place with tar from a caulk gun.

  6. Trim the shingles for the last row until they can slide up under the existing ones and are even with the neighbouring shingles. Use a utility knife to cut off small pieces until the shingles fit properly.

  7. Anchor the last row of shingles with tar and allow the tar to cure for a few hours.

  8. Fill a caulk gun with fresh roofing tar.

  9. Find any cracks in the seal between the chimney and the roof.

  10. Inject tar into all of the cracks. Get the gun in as deep as you can to tightly seal the crack.

  11. Smooth over the tar with a paintbrush. Use the brush for any cracks that won't accommodate the caulk gun.

  12. Tip

    Tar is stronger than nails for bonding asphalt shingles to roofs.


    Never work on a slippery or unstable roof.

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Things You'll Need

  • Hammer
  • Tar
  • Caulk gun
  • Utility knife
  • Paintbrush
  • Pry bar

About the Author

Based in New York, Mary Gonzales has been writing computer- and technology-related articles since 1995. Her work has appeared in “Tech Trends” and “Mac Tips” magazines. Gonzales received the Lilly M. Fuchs Literary Award in 1999. She holds a Bachelor of Science in computer programming from New York University.

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