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Roof Repairs You Can Do Yourself

Large, significant roof repairs need professional care. Property owners with significant leaks, damage from storms, or structural concerns should call on a professional to handle roof repairs. For those who are handy and have the best tools to get the job done properly (and safely), there are a few roof repairs you may be able to do on your own without the help of a roofing company.

Re-Sealing Vents

Vents around the roof of a structure are notorious for developing leaks. When those leaks happen, they can cause significant damage within the structure, such as in the attic of a home. One of the maintenance tasks homeowners can tackle on their own is sealing these vents. 

Sealants cover roof leaks over. They help to make these vents and other openings on the structure of the roof water tight. These areas, which are at risk of damage due to objects hitting them or just the normal wear and tear from the weather, should be inspected annually to pinpoint any areas of missing sealant or open gaps. 

A variety of sealants can help with this project, including Dicor self-leveling lap sealant, which can be placed along air vents, vent pipes, and other areas. Liquid rubber waterproof sealant can work in these areas as well, though it is typically applied to the whole structure. Instead, look for those that products in a can or applied with a caulk gun to cover the surface area around the vent openings.

Installing Chimney Guards

Chimney guards are a valuable tool for your home because they help to block animals like squirrels, birds, and other pests from getting into the chimney itself. They can also help with keeping water and debris from getting into your chimney. It is possible to install them on your own.

Most often, these are stainless steel products designed to fit right over the top of your chimney and mount directly to the opening. Also known as chimney caps, they don’t eliminate smoke from escaping from the home and allow ample airflow. 

After measuring the chimney flu and choosing the right product based on the size, shape, and amount of space, you can install the cap in place. There may be a bit of masonry work required, and you’ll need to be sure you get a solid hold to minimize the risk of the cap coming off during a storm. 

Some options are a slide-in single flue cap that is pushed down into the chimney flue until it is tight. Others are bracketed, screwed in, or clamped on model. These require a power drill to tighten them into place. The adhesive is generally the last step to help keep it in place.

Wooden Shed with dutch door surrounded by trees in Lake Elmo

Installing Shingles on a Shed or Doghouse

The shingles on a shed or doghouse are critical to ensuring the structure remains water tight. Doing this helps to protect what is stored within but also helps to ensure the long life of the structure’s materials as well. Depending on the size of the structure, you may be able to do this type of work yourself.

After measuring the roof space and purchasing shingles appropriate for it, you’ll need to climb up and start working. This typically means removing the existing shingles by sliding a tool under the shingles to pull them off. Then, remove nails or staples left over. If there is damage to the wood, determine if you can patch it (such as cutting out the damaged areas and putting new material in) or if you need to replace the wood structure. 

Once you have the structure solid and dry, the next step is to place sheathing over the top of the structure. You will need to install a drip edge for the length of the roof’s bottom edge. This needs to be nailed into place to allow for water to flow away from the structure. 

After getting the foundation set for the shingles, you can begin laying them. Do one row at a time, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for installation. This process is not necessarily hard, but it does take some careful work and planning to get it just right. You can find excellent videos on YouTube to give you more of a visual for creating your strong roof structure for the shed or a doghouse.

Gutter and Downspout Repairs

zoomed in photo of two story house with peach colored porch with visible downspout in Maplewood, MN

Your gutters and downspouts are one of the most important components of your roofing structure. They collect water and move it away from your home, helping it to avoid the foundation. If there is a backup in the gutter or the downspout, this causes water to run over the top of the gutter system. If you watch it, the water is likely to strike the side of the house and run right into the foundation, washing away the dirt and exposing more of the structure of the home. Over time, this can lead to significant structural problems.

Your first step is to ensure all gutters and downspouts run free and clear. Use a hose to test this. If there is a backup, remove the material from within with a pressure washer or by hand.

Sometimes the problems with the gutters are more significant. You may have some that are pulling away from the home. If that is the case, you may be able to nail them back into the structure of the home. If the gutter has significant damage, such as large holes or rusted out areas, consider removing it and replacing it with a new piece. You can join old and new components together, minimizing the amount of work needing to be done.

Another common situation occurs when the downspout is not secured properly to the house. This can cause it to rattle. If possible, work to secure it with fasteners designed for the gutters. If that does not work, place a block of wood behind the area where it is moving to limit the overall movement.

Any of these tasks are ones you may be able to complete yourself. For larger and more significant repairs, be sure to have a professional take a closer look.

Key Takeaways

DIY Projects you don't need to call a roofing company for

  • Even for small roofing projects, safety is a priority
  • Sealants used around roof vents do breakdown and those areas need to be resealed
  • Roofing companies do install chimney and gutter guards, but this is a project you do yourself
  • You don’t need to call a roofing company to shingle a small roof, like on a dog house or shed

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