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Roof Repair - Replacing Damaged Asphalt Shingles in 7 Easy Steps

Shingle roofs are prone to damage in high winds. It is a good idea to inspect your roof after a windstorm to detect any potential problems before water leaks tell you your roof is damaged. If the storm has damaged or displaced asphalt shingles on your roof, you can call a roofer or tackle the repair yourself. If you have basic carpentry skills and are comfortable working on the roof, here's how to replace missing or damaged shingles in seven easy steps.

1. Assess the damage and determine the extent of the necessary repair. Take a sample shingle to your local home improvement store and get the closest color and material match you can. Make sure you purchase enough shingles to complete the repair job. Shingles are usually sold in bundles of 20.

2. Gather the roofing tools and materials you will need for your roof repair. These include a ladder, hammer, pry bar, utility knife, roofing nails, roofing cement, and a trowel.

3. Make sure your ladder is stable before climbing onto the roof. Take your tools and materials with you, or hoist them up with a rope after you are on the roof. Minimize trips up and down the ladder as much as possible. Wear shoes with non-skid soles to prevent slipping.

4. If a shingle is cracked, it can be repaired by a liberal application of roofing cement over the crack.

5. If a shingle is too damaged to be repaired and you must replace the shingle, lift it with the pry bar and remove the roofing nails, being careful not to damage the shingles around it. Slide out the damaged shingle, and make sure that the roofing felt is intact. Apply roofing cement to the edges of the new shingle, slide it into place, and fasten with new roofing nails.

6. If a shingle is missing, lift the shingle above the missing section with the pry bar and remove the old roofing nails. Slide the replacement shingle in as shown in #5 above.

7. Using your trowel, put roofing cement over the new nail heads to prevent leaks.

If during your repair process you discover underlying damage and feel that it is beyond your capability, do not hesitate to call a professional roofer. If you have a slate or tile roof, it is probably best to leave repairs to a professional.

Just remember: if at any time during the repair you discover that the job is more than you envisioned, there is no shame in hiring it out. A professional roof repair is cheaper than a winter's worth of water damage.