How to Patch an Asphalt Roof

What You'll Need
Pry bar
Replacement shingle
Claw hammer
Roofing nails
Roof cement
Tar paper

Go around any neighborhood and you’ll see that most houses have an asphalt roof. They’re by far the most common type. At some point, if you have an asphalt roof, you’ll need to patch it. You can pay a roofer or you can save the money and do the job yourself. It’s not a complex job. As long as you’re comfortable on the roof, you can do it with no problem.

Step 1 - Removing Old Shingles

The first step is to get up on the roof and judge how many shingles need to be replaced. If they’re curling or cracked, the best advice to to take them out and put in a patch, even if they’re not leaking.

Start by removing the 2 rows of shingles above the area that needs to be patched. Lift the shingle and remove the nails holding the it in place with the pry bar. Remove the shingles carefully and then remove the damaged shingle, discarding it. Inspect the other tiles around the area for any damage, and remove where necessary around the damaged shingle.

Step 2 - Tar paper

Inspect the tar paper under and around the damaged shingle on the asphalt roof. If there are any rips or problems of any kind, you need to put in another layer of tar paper. Cut it to size. Put roofing cement over the area and slide the tar paper into place, securing it with galvanized nails.

Step 3 - New Shingles

Put new shingles in places to replace the ones you discarded from the asphalt roof. You’ll need to nail it in place. If you haven’t replaced the tar paper, ensure that the nails are lined up with the existing nail holes in the asphalt roof. For extra protection you can coat the nails with roofing cement. Be sure that the heads of the nails end up flush with the new shingle after hammering them in. They should not be angled into the shingle, which can tear it. Cover the nail heads with a dab of roofing cement.

Step 4 - Surrounding Shingles

Put the surrounding shingles back in place and hammer in the nails in the existing holes to secure them. If any of these shingles looks suspiciously worn, you should replace them, as insurance for the asphalt roof.

Once the shingles are in place, take out your tube of roofing cement and caulk gun. Put roofing cement under the tabs of the shingles, both the new shingles and the ones surrounding it. For it to become effective you’ll need to press down on the area you’ve just glued.

Step 5 - Look

Be aware that the patch will initially look quite obvious on the asphalt roof, as the other shingles will have aged and worn while the new one will be bright. However, as time passes the difference between the two areas will be less obvious.