Winter Roof Repair Tips

Have you been seeing large water stains on your attic ceiling this month? How about some dripping from the ceiling and a slight draft? If so, you may have a leak in your roof, but don’t panic. As we enter into the full swing of winter, your roof may become more vulnerable to damage. But, a leaky roof is not the end of the world and can be located and fixed with a few easy steps. Below are eight of our best winter roof repair tips that will keep your family warm and safe this season. 

1. Finding the Leak

When you first notice staining on your walls or ceilings, start by looking at the part of your roof that is uphill from the stains. Look for roof penetrations, missing shingles, or any other abnormalities. If you have access to your attic, you’ll be able to locate the leak based on the stain and mold on the walls. However, if you don’t have access to your attic, you’ll want to cautiously inspect the roof from outside. 

2. Fixing Plumbing Vent Boots 

Many roof leaks are caused by issues with appendages on your roof such as plumbing vent boots. If you discover an issue with your plumbing vent boot, check the plastic bases for cracks or broken seams. Then examine the rubber boot surrounding the pipe for damage. If any of these pieces are broken, you’ll need to purchase a new plumbing vent boot. If the boot is in good shape, you can try replacing the nails at the base of the boot with rubber-washer screws.

3. Fixing Roof Vents

If it’s your roof vent causing the leak, you’ll need to thoroughly inspect it. Check for cracked housing, broken seams, and missing nails. Unfortunately if your roof vent is damaged, you’ll need to replace it immediately. 

4. Fixing a Leaky Chimney

The flashing around brick chimneys is highly susceptible to rust. A quick fix is to simply slip new flashing under the old rusted flashing so that any water that seeps through will driven downhill. While this quick fix will last for a while, the best solution is to replace the flashing altogether. 

5. Fixing Step Flashing

Step flashing is the material used along the walls that intersect your roof. The flashing drains water downhill over your shingles, but when the flashing is damaged, water runs underneath it and into your house. If you encounter this problem, you’ll need to get your step flashing replaced as soon as possible. 

6. Fixing Worn Sealant

Sealant is the sticky material used with flashing and around the edges of skylights. Old and cracked sealant may be the source of your leaky roof. Luckily, this is an easy fix. Just purchase a tube of fishing sealant, re-seal the area, and you’re good to go.

7.  Check your Siding 

Sometimes leaks don’t come from your roof at all. It’s important to inspect the windows, corner boards, and siding near your roof for cracks and knotholes. It’s easy for the caulk in these areas to crack and wear down over time allowing for water to seep into your house. If you discover cracked caulk in these areas, replace it with high-quality new caulk to prevent leaking. 

8. Don’t Caulk It and Leave It 

Caulk is not a long-term solution for roof leaks. Serious leaks require repairing or replacing the damaged area of your roof. Only use caulk for very small holes or as a short-term fix. 

Leaky roofs are no fun to deal with, but being proactive with your repairs will really pay off in the long run. While these tips and tricks are great for small repairs, always call a professional to handle larger leaks and issues.