Homeowners’ Guide to Roof Repair and Replacement

When roof damage occurs, it’s important to address it as quickly as possible to avoid larger problems. Depending on the type of damage, repair or replacement may be necessary.

Roof Repair

However, Roof Repair Helena MT can be costly and time-consuming. It’s also a good idea to perform preventative maintenance like roof inspections and cleanings to help minimize damage over time.

Missing shingles are one of the most common signs of roof damage and should be addressed as soon as possible. This gaping hole in your roof’s defense system is a prime location for leaks to develop and can snowball into much larger problems, including mold, rot, and structural damage to the roof deck.

Repairing a single missing shingle is a straightforward job that can be completed quickly and easily with the proper tools. First, inspect the area of the roof for remnants of a full shingle that can be used to replace the damaged section. If no shingles remain, purchase a bundle of three-tab shingles that closely match the existing ones.

Next, access the roof using a ladder. Ensure that the ladder is secure and that someone is at the base to assist you if needed. Begin by loosening the adhesive and nails beneath the shingle directly above the damage with a pry bar. Then, lift up the shingle to expose the nail strip and pull it up to remove the nails. Finally, slide the replacement shingle into place and nail it down with four roofing nails.

It’s also a good idea to retaile a few extra shingles around the repaired area to prevent the formation of future leaks or other problems. This step may require climbing up and down the ladder to retrieve the shingles, so consider securing your ladder with a rope and having someone at the bottom of the ladder to help you when necessary.

Inspect the shingles for additional damage such as tinny edges, cracks, or holes. You may also notice moss growth, which promotes rot and leaks and should be removed immediately. A damaged shingle that isn’t replaced promptly can allow water to seep under the shingle and into the attic, causing mold, mildew, or even structural damage.

For a shingle that’s simply cracked or curled, you can fix it with roof sealant. Get a tube of the product, apply a thick bead beneath the cracked shingle, then press it into place with your fingers. For a hole, use a piece of galvanized metal flashing and place it over the crack to cover it completely.


A leaky roof is not only a serious problem for your home, but it can damage the interior walls, cause rotting of the roof rafters and increase energy bills. The best way to prevent leaks is through regular visual inspection of the roof and attic space. Look for shingle areas that are missing or warped, holes in the caulking around roof penetrations and flashing, and water spots on the ceiling and walls.

If you find any of these problems, it is time for a roof repair. Oftentimes, a leaky roof is accompanied by a musty odor in the house. This is a sign of mold and early water damage that can be costly to fix.

The first thing to do when noticing a roof leak is to place buckets or other containers under the leaking area to catch the water. It is also a good idea to call a professional who can repair the leak and prevent it from reoccurring.

A sagging bulge in the ceiling is another sign of a roof leak. If you see a bulge, it is important to puncture the lowest point of the bulge with a screwdriver and place buckets under that spot to collect the water that comes out. This will stop the water from spreading or bursting out on its own, which can be even more damaging to your ceiling.

Leaks around roof vents, chimneys, dormers and other roof penetrations are common. These are caused by rusting or loosening of the metal flashing and rubber vent boots that protect these items from the elements. The problem can be corrected by replacing the flashing and vent boot or installing new vents, chimney caps or dormers.

If you have access to your attic, the easiest way to track down a leak is by looking uphill from where the water stains are located. Using your flashlight, you should be able to see discolored felt paper or water-stained wood below and surrounding the suspect area. These are usually the source of the leak. In some cases, you may need to remove shingles to locate the source of the problem.

Flashing Issues

The flashing is strips of metal that create a waterproof barrier for transition areas on your roof, such as chimneys, skylights, vents, and dormers. Flashing leaks are one of the most common roof-related issues that affect homeowners and it is critical to address them quickly in order to avoid extensive water damage to your home and belongings.

Flashing problems can be caused by a variety of factors, including age and weather conditions. Exposure to the elements can cause the flashing to warp or bend due to dramatic temperature changes, creating wrinkles that allow water to penetrate under the shingles. Cracks and dents in the flashing can also break the galvanized coating on steel and make it susceptible to corrosion.

Another common reason for roof flashing leaks is that the flashing was incorrectly installed during a previous roof replacement or repair. It is crucial to have a professional roofer inspect and repair the flashing on your roof to ensure that it is properly mated to the roofing materials.

If you notice any of the warning signs of damaged flashing on your roof, it is important to contact a qualified roofing contractor as soon as possible to prevent further damage to the rest of your home and belongings. A leak from the roof can lead to moisture penetration in your walls and ceilings, causing mold and mildew as well as structural damage to the building and interior items.

In addition to addressing flashing problems, you should also check the flashing around your vents and chimneys to ensure that it is not loose or leaking. If you do spot any gaps or holes, be sure to nail the flashing down and seal it with roof cement. In some cases, if the problem is minor and the flashing is still intact, it may be able to be patched with flashing tape, which is available in a wide range of colors and can match your roof to perfection.

Be sure to wear sturdy work boots and safety glasses when climbing up a ladder and on the roof. Always use a ladder that is in good condition and never walk on the flashing or shingles, which can be extremely slippery and dangerous.


Mold is a fungus that is a natural recycler of dead organic material and can be found growing on plants, wood and food. While it does a good job of recycling, it can also be dangerous for humans because it releases toxic spores into the air that can trigger a variety of health problems. Mold spores are especially potent in damp environments, such as those created by a leaky roof. Water spots on the ceiling and a musty odor are classic signs of a mold problem in a home.

Mold spores can cause a variety of respiratory problems including sneezing, wheezing and difficulty breathing. For those who are particularly sensitive to it, mold can also cause skin irritations.

If you suspect you have a mold problem, a professional should be contacted for proper inspection and removal. Because mold can grow in a number of places, it’s important to conduct a thorough inspection, focusing not just on the surface of the roof but also examining insulation and other materials.

Once a mold problem has been detected, the first step in eliminating it is to ensure the attic is dry, either through ventilation or with the use of a dehumidifier. After addressing the source of the moisture, a fungicide can be used to kill any remaining spores and prevent further growth.

Since a fungicide is toxic to certain types of plants, removing any vegetation that covers your roof should be done before applying the treatment. Once the fungicide has been applied, the area should be thoroughly rinsed with clean water to remove any residual spores and ensure the shingles are protected.

While there are products available to clean a roof, it’s always best to have a professional do the work. In addition to ensuring your safety, a professional will have the proper tools and equipment to get the job done right. Inexperienced homeowners can be injured by falling shingle debris or by using a power washer, which can damage the shingles. A professional will also be able to spot potential damage that may not be obvious to the untrained eye and fix it before it becomes an even bigger problem.