Stain on the Ceiling? Might be that Your Roof Needs Some TLC

Thursday, September 20, 2018

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Finding a stain on the ceiling isn’t one of life’s high points – especially when you realize that it’s come from a leak in the roof. But don’t despair. You can fix those leaks yourself without it costing hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars.

Leaky CeilingDifferent types of roof obviously require a different method of repair. Let’s start with one of the easiest: shingles. Any shingles that are simply curling off of the roof can be fixed back on using a caulking gun. But if your roof shingles are damaged or showing signs of rot, they will need to be replaced.

The process is pretty simple. First, you’ll need to lift up any shingles next to the one you’re trying to move. If you notice any nails sticking up in the air, remove them with a pry bar which can be picked up at Altadena Hardware. You will then be able to slide the shingle out of its original place.

When it comes to putting in the new shingle, take a utility knife and use it to round the back corners. Then you should easily be able to slide the new shingle in, making sure that its back edge is underneath the row directly above it. To secure it in place, fix a galvanized roofing nail through all of the corners and cover the nails up with some roof cement.

Repairing wooden shake roofs requires a slightly different method. To remove any damaged shake, you will need a hammer and chisel. Any protruding nails will be difficult to fully remove so take a hacksaw (which again can be bought at Altadena Hardware) and cut the nails down as much as you can.

Use the same hacksaw to cut the new piece of shake into the right size and shape. It’s a good idea to make it around 3/8 inch smaller as the rain can make the shake increase in size. All you have to do next is slide the shake in and nail it with two galvanized roofing nails. Again, you’ll want to cover the nails up with nail set and seal them with a thin layer of caulking compound.

The final type of roof is a flat roof. These are usually made of felt and tar and will show visible signs of damage so you can easily locate where the leak is coming from. Once you have found the damaged section, slice the blister section right through the middle with a utility knife. Make sure to remove any water by squeezing it and drying it afterwards.

Then take a trowel and slather on a layer of roof cement onto the bottom of the felt. Once this step is done and dusted, take a few more galvanized roofing nails and attach them along each side. Finally, do the same thing as with the other roof types and cover the heads of the nail with more roof cement.

If you’re still a little unsure what you need for your roof, the staff at Altadena Hardware can help source every item in one quick go. Just have patience and make sure you have the correct tools and you’ll have a leak-free roof in no time.

Altadena Hardware is located at 849 E Mariposa St, in Altadena. For more information call (626) 794-4393 or visit







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