How to repair a leaking roof

Difficulty:

Intermediate

A leaking roof is a real nuisance, particularly in stormy weather. But it can be more than just an inconvenience. If left unattended, a leak in your roof could cause structural damage and so should be addressed as soon as it is identified. Luckily, Frank Key have the tools and expertise to help you complete an effective repair and keep your home dry.

Heavy rain on roof

1. Identifying the problem

Unless you happen to be in the loft when the damage to your roof occurs, it’s likely you won’t notice the leak until there is a damp patch on the ceiling or the water is dripping through. To identify the source of the leak, you’ll first need to grab a torch and head into the loft to investigate the area above the damp patch. Check for any water stains or mould. If, like most homes, yours has a pitched roof, check the roof higher up than where you found the damp patch as water entering through the roof will likely run down the roof before dripping.

If you’re struggling to pinpoint the leak, it’s worth asking somebody to spray a hose onto the roof while you check for water ingress. Make a note of where you find the leak and then head outside to investigate the exterior.


2. Conduct an external inspection

Before climbing around on your roof, make sure you’ve got the correct safety equipment, including a roofing ladder. Frank Key can advise on and supply the correct equipment to make sure you’re operating safely.

Climb your ladder and take a look for any obvious signs of damage, such as missing or cracked roof tiles as well as gaps in the mortar or loose mortar at the joints between the ridge tiles. If ten or more tiles are broken or damaged, then the roof will likely need to be stripped and replaced completely. For a job this size, you will be sensible to contact a roofing contractor to complete the work for you.


3. Replacing a broken tile

To remove a broken tile, first remove the two tiles above it using wooden wedges, then lift the broken tile from the batten using a bricklayer’s trowel. Slide a replacement tile in place and hook the nib over the batten.

In the case of slate tiles, you will need to remove the broken slate from the batten, which will involve lifting the nail from the batten, using the claw side of your hammer. Then fix the replacement tile in place using copper or aluminium alloy nails. If you are replacing only one or two slates, they can be fixed into place using ‘tingles’ which are small metal clips.