Your home’s asphalt roof: should it stay or should it go now?
Repairing asphalt roofing shingles
Asphalt roofs are the most common roofing material in the United States, which is good because they also happen to be the easiest to repair on your own and in general.
Unfortunately, they also happen to be the least durable of all common roofing materials, so the chances of needing an asphalt roofing repair are fairly high. If performing the repair yourself is outside the scope of your abilities, you should hire a qualified roofing contractor.
What you need to know about asphalt roofing repair
Take the weather into account: Asphalt roofing repairs should always be carried out when the weather is warm because asphalt can crack in cold weather. This obviously negates your repairs and is the last thing you want.
Warm weather makes asphalt more malleable and easier to work with, thus making the repair job faster and more effectual. This is why most roofing jobs take place in the summer, especially in areas of the country where there are long, cold winters.
Have the tools you need: Be prepared before you climb up onto your roof, and make sure you’re all set once you get up there so you don’t have to keep climbing up and down. That’s one-way accidents happen. Have roofing nails, roofing cement, hammers, a pry bar, putty knives, and a flat shovel at the ready. A pry bar and flat shovel are particularly useful for removing damaged shingles.
You should always wear gloves when you’re doing asphalt roofing repairs so your hands don’t get cuts and abrasions. Also, wearing gloves will keep your hands clean and filth-free so you don’t need to spend a long time scrubbing them.
Don’t skimp on your ladder. Don’t borrow whatever a neighbor of a friend has just to save money and don’t use whatever old ladder you have that’s been collecting spiderwebs for a decade or more just because it’s all you have. Your safety is paramount. Falls off ladders send more than 246,733 Americans to hospital emergency rooms every year. You don’t want to be one of them.
Potential issues with your asphalt roofing
If the damage is extensive or affecting more significant structural elements of the roof, you might be out of your DIY league. Damage to the roof’s trusses is one of these issues. Roof trusses are triangular timber frames which are nailed, pegged, or bolted together in order to create a supporting structure for your actual roof. It’s not as simple as nailing down a curled shingle or replacing a cracked one.
If you need to replace the metal flashing of your roof, you may want to have a pro do that for you as well. Roof flashing refers to sheet metal installed at any breaks, joints, or edges on your roof to prevent leaks. Because it is there to prevent leaks, repairing and installing it incorrectly will have terrible consequences for your home. The last thing you want is roof leaks and water damage to pay for when you were trying to save money by doing it yourself, to begin with.
When your asphalt roofing repair includes replacing shingles, you should first remove the line of shingles above the one you want to replace. This will give you good access to the damaged shingles. Plus, replacing the extra row adds more security to the roof.
After nailing down a new shingle, cover the nail head with roofing cement once it’s hammered all the way down. This makes the seal watertight. If you are able, use the old nail holes. This limits the number of holes you have in the shingles and in the underlying plywood. If this isn’t a possibility, plug the nail holes with roofing cement.
If the edge of an asphalt shingle has curled up but is otherwise fine, there’s no need to replace it. Simply glue it down with roofing cement, then secure it in place with a nail. This will take care of the asphalt roofing repair quite well.
Is the repair worth it?
Repair Or Replace?
If your roof needs a lot of asphalt roofing repairs, then the question becomes one of whether or not to repair or replace the roof entirely. If you’re questioning whether to repair or replace your roof, talk to a roofing contractor. He or she will be able to take a look at your home’s roof and give you an assessment. If any repair is beyond your ability to carry out, then do not attempt it. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Hire a pro if you’re uncomfortable climbing ladders balancing on your roof, especially while working with tools.