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Garage DIY - Repair Your Leaky Roof

Updated on April 19, 2012

If you discover a leaking roof, check from the underside to see if you can trace the source of the leak during rain. This can be particularly difficult with a flat roof, especially if the underside is lined, as it should be, with insulating material.

The problem, as has already been discussed in the section on roofs, is that rain can enter at one place and travel a considerable distance along roofing joists before it shows itself as a damp patch on the garage ceiling.

With a leak in a flat roof, scrape away any gravel coating from the affected area. Then paint the roof with flashing primer, which is a bitumen-like product, and allow this to dry. The process takes a few minutes, while the primer changes from brown to black. Then stick a patch of metal-faced, self-adhesive flashing strip over the hole or crack and bed it down well.

The same method of repair can be used for pitched roofed garages, where metal or rigid plastic corrugated roofing sheets have de­veloped holes. However, this is only a tempor­ary measure, since you should eventually change the sheets for new ones.

If the garage is attached, leaks often develop between the roof and where it joins the house wall. You may also spot the effects of differen­tial movement between the house and the garage where the two buildings meet if the foundations were not built deep enough.

There is little you can do about this. If the building is showing no signs of cracking else­where, you might as well leave it. Fill any gaps with non-setting caulk and cover the joint with a self-adhesive flashing strip, which should be able to absorb the movement.

A common roof covering for a carport is clear corrugated plastic sheeting. If this starts to leak, it is often a sign that the plastic has become brittle and is nearing the end of its useful life. So be prepared to strip the roof and fix new sheets.

In the meantime, you can extend the life of the roof by sealing any leaks with self-adhesive waterproof tape, which you just press down over the hole or split. If the damage is extensive, replace individual sheets with new ones with matching corrugations.

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