If you are a homeowner, chances are you are always looking for ways to save money. Having minor repairs is a common experience for all homeowners and in most cases issues can be solved on your own and for a reasonable price. The roof of any home is very expensive and having a professional come to the house to make corrections can be costly. For this reason, depending on the problem, you can probably take care of things on your own.
The most common problem is a leak. If the problem is small and your roof does not have a steep pitch to it, you can probably fix it on your own or with the assistance of a friend. However, if the leak is large and the roof steep, you would probably do best to call in a professional. First, get up inside the attic with a flashlight to see if there are any watermarks on the beams. This is a quick way to find out where the water is coming in. In most cases, the leak and the place to fix is about three feet above the watermark. If you are unable to find any watermarks, then you might look on the outside of the roof to see if there are any obvious problems such as a missing or loose shingle.
From the attic, if there is water coming in, you can take a three to four-inch nail and hammer it in straight up through the very location in the roof where the water comes in. Then when you go outside on the roof, you can find the tip of the nail and determine what needs to be fixed.
If your whole roof is old and worn, chances are the entire thing will need to be replaced. Unfortunately, the cost to replace a roof can run anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 and ore, depending on the size and material used. Some people will just wait as long as they can, hoping for a bad hail storm that would get them a free roof replacement through the insurance company (if you have hail coverage).
If the leak is small enough that you can fix it, you want to get all the materials up to the roof, which can be hauled up a ladder or pulled in a bucket on a pulley. Start by multiplying the length of the leaking area by the width. This number will then be divided by 100, giving you the squares that need to be fixed. The standard roofing square is the same as three bundles of shingles and one bundle of shingles will cover about 33 square feet.
Additionally, you might need to use roofing felt, which is similar to tar paper. This felt goes on top of the wood decking, covering it. This is very helpful if the leaking area is somewhat large. For the nails, you want to use one and one-quarter inch. Other materials would include a flat bar or roofing shovel, which will be used to pull the old pieces off. Then, locating the nail that you hammered into the ceiling, you will take off the old roofing, being careful not to damage anything other than the leaking area.
Put the roofing felt down over the area where the leak is located and then taking a new shingle; place it to the top, left over the area needing to be fixed. Nail it into place. Then, take the next shingle, and overlap it about two inches and nail it into place, making sure you cover the area well and evenly. Additionally the bottom of the new shingle should overlap the row directly below by about five inches. Continue with all the shingles until the entire area is covered. Once you are finished, you should not have any more trouble with a leaking roof.