To avoid having interior moisture problems in your home this winter, it is a good idea to handle any roof repairs or replacement before wet and snowy weather arrives. This will help prevent moisture from seeping into your home through existing leaks over the winter, and also prevent moisture damage from happening while your home interior and roofing layers are exposed as the work is progressing. Here are some tips and insight to help you complete minor repairs or a full replacement of your roof.
When your roof is still in good condition but has a few damaged or missing shingles, you can make some of these repairs yourself to restore the roof's integrity. A missing, cracked, or peeling-up shingle can allow moisture to seep into the roof's underlayers. Use a box of extra shingles you may have left over from the last time your home's shingles were replaced, or you can buy a matching box of shingles at a local roofing or home improvement store.
Complete the repairs on a sunny day, as the sun will warm and soften the shingles, making them more pliable and less prone to brittle-caused breaks. Carefully lift up the shingle positioned above the area of damage using a putty knife, and pry the existing nails from the damaged shingle until you can pull the shingle free. Slip a new shingle in its place and attach it using new nails.
Be sure you don't hammer the nail too far into the shingle that it causes puckering on the shingle, which can lead to moisture leaks. Make sure the nail sits flush against the shingle in a proper position. Continue this replacement process for each damaged or missing shingle.
One of the important steps of replacing your home's roof is to remove the one or more layers of shingles already installed on your roof. Roofing professionals and most city building codes recommend to not have more than two layers of shingles on your home. However, many homeowners will install a new layer of shingles over the old layer to save money and time. This can cause problems and further damage, as any existing problems in your roof will not be addressed.
For example, if your existing shingles have allows moisture to seep into the roofing deck and cause moisture rot, by not removing the old shingles you won't be aware of the water damage to repair it. This type of damage should be removed by replacing the roofing deck and the over-layer of roofing felt. And, in extreme situations of roof damage, the trusses and other attic support structures can be water-damaged and require replacement.
Before you begin to remove the old roof shingles, place tarps on the ground below the roof to catch the old nails and shingles. Place a dumpster rental below the roof, as well, for easy disposal of the materials. Make sure there is no precipitation in the weather for the next few days to allow you time to complete the removal and roof replacement. Wear a safety harness attached to your roof during the work to prevent your falling.
Begin removing the shingles on the roof's ridge, then work your way down the slope, using a shingle removal tool. You can use a roof shovel, which has a serrated edge to lift up the shingles and pull out the nails at the same time. Or you can use a garden pitch fork to pull up the shingles, but keep in mind it won't remove the nails as easily as a roof shovel does.
Once all the shingles, fasteners, and roofing felt have been removed, inspect the roofing deck for soft spots. Replace any damaged roofing deck, as necessary, to prepare the roof for new roofing felt and shingles.