How to patch a hole in the roof

Posted on December 16, 2022

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How to patch a hole in the roof


Learn how to patch a hole in the roof with our 10 steps guide. From gathering the necessary materials to applying the patch, we’ll walk you through the process so you can repair your roof quickly and effectively.

Why Your Roof May Require Patching

There are several reasons why you might need to patch your roof. For example, strong winds can blow a tree branch and other debris through the roof, causing damage that needs to be repaired. Or, you may discover a hole in the roof after removing an old HVAC unit, swamp cooler or vent. Drilling the roof for various purposes, such as installing a new satellite dish or solar panel, can also create a need for patching. In some rare cases, a bullet may cause a hole in  the roof that requires patching as well. These holes can range from small and easy to fix to larger and more challenging to patch.


Why You Should Repair Hole In Your Roof ASAP

As a homeowner, patching a hole in your roof should be a top priority. After all, even the smallest of holes can allow water to seep into your home, causing serious water damage to the structure and potentially leading to expensive repairs. Not to mention, a hole in the roof can also provide an entry point for pests, posing a potential health hazard. That’s why it’s essential to address a hole in the roof as soon as possible to prevent further damage and protect the safety of your home. By patching the hole, you can help to ensure that your roof is watertight and able to withstand the elements.


What Are Your Options

How to patch a hole in the roof? DIY Roof Repair Vs Professional Roof Repair

When it comes to fixing a hole in your roof, you have two options to choose from. First option is to patch the hole in roof yourself (DIY roof repairs). This can be a cost-effective solution, as long as you have the necessary tools and feel confident in your basic carpentry skills and your ability to work safely on a roof. The second option is to contact an experienced roofing contractor to do the job for you. While this option is generally more expensive than DIY roof repair, it has the advantage of being completed by a professional with the knowledge and expertise to ensure that the job is done correctly.

In this article, we will explore the possibility of performing a DIY repair on a hole in a asphalt shingle roof. Please note that the following instructions provided are intended for use on shingle roofs only. It is not recommended to attempt DIY repairs on other types of roofing systems as it may result in premature failure. To ensure proper and effective repair, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional.


What Roof Repairing Materials Do You Need

You can find most of the tools and equipment you need at a home center or hardware store, but you may need to go to a roofing store that has a variety of roofing materials and repair products to get some of these items.

  • Extension ladder: This can be extended to reach higher heights. It is used to access the damaged area of the roof.
  • Hooks: Hooks can be used to attach the ropes to the ladder or to the roof.
  • Ropes: Ropes can be used to secure the ladder to the roof or to hoist equipment up to the roof.
  • Rubber-soled safety shoes: It is important to wear shoes with rubber soles when working on a roof to prevent slipping.
  • Gloves: Gloves can protect your hands from cuts, abrasions, and other injuries while working on a roof.
  • Pry bar: A pry bar is a long, thin tool with a flat, wedge-shaped end that can be used to remove nails or lift up shingles.
  • Tape measure: A tape measure is a long, flexible tape with markings that is used to measure distances. It can be used to measure the dimensions of the roof decking and to cut the plywood to the right size.
  • Claw hammer: A claw hammer is a tool with a flat head on one end and a curved “claw” on the other end. It can be used to drive nails into the roof or to remove nails.
  • 2×4 lumber: This is a type of wood that is used for construction. It can be used to reinforce the patch in the roof.
  • Reciprocating saw or circular saw: These are power saws that can be used to cut through wood. They can be used to cut the damaged shingle or to cut the 2×4 lumber needed to patch the hole.
  • Plywood: Plywood is a type of wood panel that is made up of thin layers of wood veneer. It can be used to cover the hole in the roof. It is important to use plywood that is the same thickness as the existing decking on the roof. The most common type of roof decking is 5/8-inch plywood
  • Liquid Nails Construction Adhesive: Liquid nails is a strong adhesive that is used to bond wood and other materials together. It can be used to secure the plywood to the roof.
  • 8-penny nails: These are nails that are about 2-1/2-inch inches long. They can be used to attach the plywood to the roof.
  • 10-penny nails: These are nails that are about 3 inches long. They can also be used to attach the plywood to the roof.
  • 1-inch roofing nails: These are nails that are specifically designed for use in roofing applications. They can be used to attach the asphalt shingles to the roof.
  • Tar paper: Tar paper is a waterproof material that is used as a barrier in roofing applications. It can be placed under the shingles to protect the roof from leaks.
  • Roofing cement: This is a type of adhesive that is used to secure the new shingle in place and seal gaps and joints in a roof. You can also use roofing tar in place of roofing cement.
  • Putty knife/ Utility knife: A putty knife is a flat tool with a flexible blade that is used to spread materials such as putty or cement. It can be used to spread the roofing cement over the back of the new shingle.
  • New shingles: Shingles are thin, flat pieces of material that covers your roof. You will need to replace the damaged shingle with a new one.



How To Patch A Hole In The Roof: A Step-By-Step Guide


Step 1: Setup the ladder

Step1 Setup the Ladder

Place the extension ladder against the side of the house and stabilize it by attaching it to the fascia with ropes and hooks. Next, put on rubber-soled safety shoes and climb onto the roof. Be sure not to overload your hands as you bring everything onto the roof. It’s important to work slowly and carefully to avoid accidents.


Step 2: Locate the hole on the roof

Trusted Roofing Inspectors use chalk to locate holes in the roof after visually inspecting the entire area

Look for the hole by visually inspecting the roof surface for any obvious signs of damage, such as missing shingles or visible holes. If the hole is not immediately visible from the roof, go into the attic and search for signs of moisture on the roof truss or insulation above it, or any areas where the insulation appears to be compressed or pushed down. This can indicate the presence of a leak. Once you’ve found the hole, mark its location in a way that is easily visible from the roof.


Step 3: Take off the damaged and old shingles

Trusted Roofing Inspector use a pry bar to remove shingles in poor condition

Use the pry bar to lift the edge of the shingle above the hole, then slide the bar under the shingle and carefully pry it off of the roof. As you work downwards, keep an eye out for any signs of water damage. If you see any damage, continue removing shingles until you reach the end of the damaged wood.


Step 4: Remove any remaining nails

To ensure that the new shingles sit evenly on the roof, use a claw side of a hammer to remove any remaining nails that did not come out with the shingles.


Step 5: Cut out the damaged decking


Use a reciprocating saw or circular saw to cut out a rectangular section that surrounds the damaged area. Be careful not to cut or damage any roof rafters while working. If the damaged decking intersects a rafter, it may be necessary to cut the decking in two sections to avoid cutting the rafter. Alternatively, you can use a circular saw set to a cutting depth of 0.75 inches to cut out the entire section in one piece without damaging the rafter. Once the damaged decking has been removed, you can proceed with patching the roof.


Step 6: Create framing around the opening

Measure and cut 2 x 4’s to create a frame around the opening. The frame should consist of 2 x 4 braces for the top, bottom, and sides of the opening. Once you have the correct sized braces, attach them to the rafters around the edges of the gap using 10-penny nails. Make sure that the edges of each brace are exposed around the opening. This process will create a sturdy frame to support and hold your decking patch in place.


Step 7: Cut a piece of new plywood to fit the hole

Use a reciprocating saw or circular saw to cut out a rectangular section that surrounds the damaged area when patching a roof

Accurately measure the thickness of the decking and use the exact dimensions to cut a piece of replacement plywood that is identical in size. This piece of plywood will be used to patch the hole, so it’s important to make sure it fits perfectly.


Step 8: Attach Plywood to the Framing

Apply the liquid nail product to your accurately cut plywood patch and carefully place it into the top edge of the frame you previously installed around the opening. It’s always a good idea to wear gloves when handling liquid nail to avoid messes and potential skin irritation. Once the patch is in place, use 8-penny nails to secure it to the sturdy 2×4 framing.


Step 9: Cover the plywood with tar paper


Use a broad-edged putty knife to spread roofing cement across the seams where the new plywood meets the existing roof decking. Lay tar paper over the patch, making sure to slide the upper edge under the flaps of top shingles above the fresh patch and overlap the bottom edge by 2 inches. Nail the tar paper to the perimeter every 10-15 inches with 1-inch roofing nails.


Step 10: Install new shingles

Create a gap by slightly lifting the existing shingles at the bottom, then tuck the new ones underneath them. Secure each shingle with four to six roofing nails evenly spaced out across the width of the shingle in a straight line. After nailing each shingle, apply a dab of roofing cement over the head of each nail to prevent leaks. Once you have installed the first row of new shingles, continue working your way up the roof, installing additional rows as you go.


Safety Considerations for DIY Roof Repair: Protecting Yourself and Your Home

It is essential to prioritize safety when repairing a roof. If you notice a hole in your roof, it is possible that there could be other underlying issues with the structure, such as decking deterioration. Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly assess the under-deck and conduct a roof analysis before beginning any repair work. Additionally, if you are not confident in your ability to work safely on a ladder or at heights or in your carpentry experience, it is advisable to hire a professional roofing contractor. They have the necessary skills and experience to complete the repair safely and effectively.


Professional Help is Available

While patching a hole in your roof may seem like a straightforward task, it’s always a good idea to leave it to the experts. At Trusted Roofing, our team of roofing experts is equipped to safely inspect your roof, even if there are areas that are difficult to see. We can also come out to inspect your roof before a hole causes any further damage to your rafters and existing good plywood.

If you’re local to Hendersonville or Middle Tennessee area, don’t hesitate to contact us for your roof patch repair. Simply give us a call at (615) 714-4300 or schedule your free roof inspection online now. We’ll be happy to provide you with a free estimate and help you get your roof back in great condition.


Roof Repair FAQs


Can you patch a metal roof?

While it’s true that metal roofing repairs can be challenging, it’s still possible to successfully patch a hole if the sheet metal patch is made from the same type of metal as your roof. By using a patch that matches the expansion and contraction rate of the surrounding metal, you can help prevent stress on the repair and avoid issues like cracking and splitting. While it’s always important to take care when repairing any type of roof, metal roofing can be particularly susceptible to further damage if not handled correctly. By following best practices and using the right materials, you can help ensure that your metal roof repair is successful and long-lasting.


Can you patch a roof instead of replacing it?

While patching or repairing a roof can be a cost-effective solution if the damage is not too severe, it’s important to consider the overall condition of the roof which depends on factors such as the quality of the materials, the installation process, weather conditions, and maintenance. If you’ve been ignoring problems like leaks, small cracks, or other damage for an extended period of time, you may require replacement of the entire roof of your home.


How long can you leave a leaking roof?

Ignoring small drips may seem like no big deal, but they can quickly lead to water damage and structural issues if left unchecked. Different materials, such as wood and metal, may react differently to water exposure, so it’s important to act fast to prevent further damage. Even if no other problems occur, standing water can cause significant structural issues if left untreated for too long.


Where to buy single roof shingles?

If you need to patch a hole in your roof with shingles that match the existing roofing material, you may have a few options. One option is to contact a local roofing company and see if they have any leftover shingles from previous jobs that match your roof. Some roofing companies may be willing to sell you a small number of shingles for patching purposes, but it’s worth noting that many companies do not sell individual shingles and may not have any available that match your roof.

Another option is to try contacting the manufacturer of your roofing shingles and see if they have any that match your roof. Many manufacturers offer a limited selection of shingles for repair or maintenance purposes, and they may be able to provide you with a few shingles that match your roof.

You can also try looking for shingles that match your roof at a home improvement store such as Home Depot. Keep in mind that the selection of shingles at these stores may be limited, and it may be difficult to find an exact match for your roof. If you’re unable to find shingles that match your roof at a home improvement store, you may need to consider other options, such as painting the patch to match the surrounding shingles or replacing the entire roof.


How much does it cost to patch a roof?

In order to determine the cost of roof repairs, there are a few things to keep in mind. A simple patch job may only cost between $200 and $400, while more complex repairs could run closer to $1500. To get an accurate estimate, it’s always best to have a licensed professional roofer assess the damage in person. As a result, they’ll be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate.


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