Many home problems like mildew, staining, wood rotting, warping and settling are caused by roof leaks. Roof leaks can be a challenge to locate and repair. Many leaks go undetected for years and cause thousands of dollars in damage. Roofs come in these basic forms: Shingles, Tile, Tar and Gravel, Metal, Urethane and Foam. Being a home remodel contractor in San Rafael, CA, I have had some luck repairing leaks in all these types of roof. Finding the leaks takes patience and skill. If you are able to find and repair the leak, it can save you lots of money.
• Tar and Gravel
Materials – 5 gal or more fibrated asphalt emulsion, 1 roll asphalt impregnated fiberglass mesh, 1 mop, asphalt emulsion primer, top coat, roller, handle and buckets. (Find these materials at a local roofing supply and/or hardware store).
A flat roof is a leak waiting to happen. A tar and gravel roof is just fine unless a crack forms in the membrane or a pin hole. One tiny leak becomes a nightmare in a flat roof as the water pools and does not shed off. So here is what you can do if you do not desire to put up the dough to purchase a new roof.
Start with the eave areas as they get the most sun and are first to give up the ghost. Clean the gravel away from the suspect areas with a broom and after with plenty of high pressure water from your garden hose. Get the roof really clean because it is the only way a patch will adhere. Now mop on a layer of asphalt with your large stranded floor mop; try not to get any on yourself in the process.
After mopping all suspect areas, lay the fiberglass onto the wet emulsion over the potential cracks. Use lots of fiberglass mesh as it is cheap and gives the asphalt strength. Now mop over the glass with a layer of tar, and let it dry. The stuff dries in 10 minutes if the day is warm and the sun is shining. After the first coat over the glass mesh is dry, you can repeat the process a couple more times. Let the new roof patch dry overnight, and the next day roll on a coat of emulsion roof primer. The primer will dry in a few minutes, allowing the finish coat to be rolled on within the hour. With a little work and a bucket of water based tar, you can stop most leaks in a tar and fiberglass roof. Do not give up on this small project as the cost of a new roof can be prohibitive.
All of the materials you need to repair your roof can be found online. This will only take a few minutes of surfing through the Internet. Find your suppliers; pick up your materials; and get the job done. Try not to get the emulsion on you or your cloths as it is impossible to get it off cloths and difficult to remove from your hands. If your hands get dirty, clean with mineral spirits then wash thoroughly with water. It is always best to work with your personal protective equipment such as gloves and eyewear.
Materials – Roof nails, shingles, roof paper, and caulking (sealant)
Shingle roofs can be repaired by replacing worn or cracked shingles. Remember the paper underneath is the main moisture barrier. If the paper is damaged, the roof may need replacement.
Match your shingles by taking a sample to a roofing supplier. Buy a small amount of replacement shingles and use them to replace the bad ones. Getting the old broken shingles out can be tricky but try using a long flat bar and lifting the old nails up and out. With practice, you will be a pro and get them out more easily. Now, put the new shingles in place and nail down with similar nails.
• Foam – Urethane
Materials – Urethane coating or asphalt emulsion, fiberglass mesh, primer, and reflective roof coating
If you have a foam roof, it can be repaired. Clean around the damaged area and allow to dry. Paint the patch area with asphalt emulsion. Place fiberglass mesh over the damaged spot and paint with emulsion. Give a couple of coats of emulsion and allow to dry between each coat. After an hour, apply an emulsion primer to patch then coat with Reflective Roof Coating. This will last the life of the roof if done properly with care.
Urethane can be used in place of asphalt emulsion if you can find it. Usually it is only available in commercial waterproofing outlets for professionals. Urethane is tricky to work with, and if you get it on your hand it will just need to wear off over time. If you move quickly with acetone, it may come off more easily. Just be careful with that stuff.
• Roll Polyester Roof Repair Fabric
I have found just recently that Roll Polyester Roof Repair Fabric is the best reinforcement for roof repairs, enhancing strength performance for a variety of roofing applications. It resists new crack formation and does not rot or decay. Also, it easily conforms to irregular surfaces. Keep in mind that for super pesky cracks, use White Elastic Roof Sealer and Polyester Fabric instead of fiberglass mesh.
These are some of the roof repair tips I can share with you. However, if you are not sure with the processes or are concerned with safety, I highly advise you to seek the assistance of a professional home remodeler in Mill Valley, CA. This being said, Marin Home Restoration is your professional in Marin County for tricky roof repairs.