How to fix a leaking roof

Keep water out of your home with our guide to DIY roof leak repairs.

Updated August 27, 2019

a blue house with solar pannels

Key steps:

To find the source of a leaking roof from the inside, follow these steps:

  1. Wait for a rainy day and take a flashlight up to your attic so you can spot water coming in.
  2. If you want a quick fix, cover the hole with a plastic tarp or make a temporary patch with plywood.
  3. If you can’t fix roof leak with your own hands or it might be too risky to do so, it’s advisable to contact the professionals as soon as possible.

The last thing anyone wants is a hole in their roof. Not only is it a very annoying problem, it can also be difficult and expensive to fix - not to mention finding the leak can be as hard as fixing the hole itself! If you think you might have a leak, we’ve got all the tips you need to sort it out, making your life that little bit easier.

When carrying out roof leak repair works, be sure to wear safety goggles, sensible boots, and a hard hat to keep safe!

How to spot a possible leaking roof

If you’re on the hunt for a hole in the roof, head up on a rainy day with a flashlight in hand. You can shine the light along the ceiling until the water reflects the light, making it much easier to spot, and then be sure to mark the area. Next, bring in someone to help, safely going up onto the roof whilst the other person stays inside. Have them tap on the mark until you can locate the exact spot from outside before starting on your roof leak repair. If you can’t find the source of the leak in your roof, fix the problem by checking areas for damage, such as seals, flashings, and gaskets.

How to seal a leaking roof temporarily

If you want a quick fix, roof leak solutions don’t always have to be complicated. You can stop the leak before you get professional help or have the time to fix it by covering the hole with a plastic tarp, nailing down the edges to your roof so it doesn’t fly away. If you’re wondering how to fix a leaking room from the inside, you can make a temporary patch with plywood. Spread roofing tar into the hole you’ve located before placing the wood over it. Cover the edges of the patch with more tar to keep it secure.

How to fix a leaking roof

If you’re looking to properly fix a hole in a shingle roof, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the shingles over the hole.
  2. Use a reciprocating saw to cut around the hole if it’s splintered, or to create an easier shape to patch.
  3. Cut a piece of plywood (this will be your patch) to size so it perfectly fits the hole.
  4. Apply liquid nail glue and deck screws to secure the patch.
  5. Lay tar paper and shingles over the patch per the manufacturer's instructions.

Once you’ve finished, the hole should be dealt with and any leaks will stop! Just be sure to check for any damage to the ceilings and walls inside your home - leaving damp spots could lead to more future problems, which nobody wants. To prevent roof damage and keep your home in great condition, be sure to check out how to clean your roof and gutter too!

Originally published August 20, 2019