How to repair an asphalt shingle roof yourself
Asphalt roofing shingles requiring repair are marked on this roof. You can extend the life of a roof like this with basic repairs, but it ultimately will need to be replaced.
Roofing problems make themselves known in the form of leaks and drips. Repair leaky roofs before ceilings and walls are damaged; better yet, check your roof at least once a year before the storm season (and after a major storm, if necessary). If your roof is leaking but you’re not sure where the leak is occurring, please see How to Find & Fix a Roof Leak.
To test an asphalt shingle roof’s condition, bend over a corner of one or two shingles on the sunniest side of the roof; if they break rather than flex, or if they appear gray and bloated, the material is nearing the end of its serviceable life.
Wear is another factor—a collection of mineral granules in gutters or at the base of downspouts indicates that the protective mineral surface of asphalt shingles is wearing away.
Leaks often occur at the flashing in valleys or where pipes penetrate the surface. Seal pipes with silicone, and seal the connections between the roofing material and the flashing with asphalt roofing cement.
Also check for bald spots, cracks, or curled shingles. Small tears, cracks, and holes can be repaired, but missing or severely damaged shingles must be replaced.
When your roof has multiple leaks or many damaged shingles, it usually means it’s time to replace the roofing entirely. When you put on a new roof, make sure to store a few extra shingles so you’ll have matching replacements for repairs.
Repairing or replacing the most common type of roofing-asphalt or asphalt-fiberglass shingles (sometimes called “composition roofing”) is relatively easy, but be sure you can work safely and comfortably on it before you decide to make your own repairs.
Make your repairs on a clear, warm day, when both roofing and asphalt (or plastic roofing cement) will be more pliable. Take your time and stay safe when on the roof.
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