Roof Repair Advice

June 15, 2010

Two men working on a home's roofI need to replace my whole roof, down to the rafters. I need the cheapest way to do this since we are living week to week. My roof has 4 layers (I'm told) of shingles and it is the original slat board roofing that they did in 1913. It all needs to go. I have leaks everywhere and I need a quick fix (not patch, it's too far gone). Please give me some ideas.


By patty from Kentland, IN


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June 15, 20100 found this helpful
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Unless you can do the work itself, or barter it with somebody that you know, you will have to hire it done. I would reccommend calling different roofers and compare prices. Also check with with department of social services in your state and see if they know of any organizations that can help you. I do know that there are grants for things like home repair, but you have to live in the house for 5-10 years or you will have to pay a pro-rated cost. The name of the places that supervise these grants can vary from state to state and even city to city in one state. Some places call it Opportunities for Independant Living, and other places call it other things. I think these grants are given out by proving financial need and maybe even disability.

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June 17, 20100 found this helpful
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Call your city and county and see if they have any programs to help you! I once went through a city program and had the roof replaced (the way you need) on both my 1890 built home and detached two car garage plus all new energy efficient windows for a very, very, very small fraction of market cost and super, super low payments to the city each month!


It's worth asking and especially because of the age of your home!

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June 18, 20100 found this helpful
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The 4 layers of shingles will need to come off and disposal of them. Check with the local dump for shingle charge. You can work one section at a time (this is hard work). Make sure you have tarps in case of rain. Once you get the shingles off you need to inspect the wood for broken or missing pieces. Replace the broken ones/missing boards.
Do you have drip edge along all edges of roof, sides and bottom? This is a good picture of it:,,193154,00.html

Ice and water shield is great stuff, better than tar paper, some is self sticking others you put down with staples. If you are up north go for at least 4 rows on decent pitch, if you have a ranch I personally will do the whole thing before shingles. Check the price of shingles, I was able to get 50 year shingles for only a little more than 25 year.


To put down shingles you cut some in half lengthwise. You want the solid side not the flap side *Save the cut off pieces. This is for the first row, put down the solid half all the way down the end of the roof (you work up to peak). Now using reg shingles on top of the solid piece do not match the seam up you might need to start on the opposite side or cut one shingle a little shorter. Continue up the roof, do not match seams, always stagger the shingles

If there is a chimney on this section of the roof, check the flashing around the bottom. Do you need to patch it? Do you need to repoint the mortar in the bricks? Continue to the top, toss tarp over the peak and do the other side. Once you are on the top again you use the cut off flaps to make cover for the top (look at roofs in neighborhood).



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3 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 12, 2019

Is there a way to tell if the ceiling has water sitting in the membrane? Is there something like the "Stud Finder" that can detect water?

I don't want to poke holes in it to find out! Any info will help.


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August 12, 20190 found this helpful

If there is a leak, there is usually a brown stain on the ceiling. It also feels soft to the touch.

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August 12, 20190 found this helpful

Discoloration on ceiling and walls,spots on your exterior walls and shingles.

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August 13, 20190 found this helpful

You can, from some big box stores, rent a moisture meter to see if there is moisture in the walls or ceiling. Be sure to get good instruction on how to use it as I have heard if you don't use them right you get bad answers (false negatives/false positives).


When our roof was leaking it was very evident. It was the year Hurricane Ivan ripped through western PA and we had missing shingles, bent gutters, and huge spots of peeled paint appeared almost instantly around out chimney's end in the living room.

The bad smell came with it too.Ugh.

With a subtle leak maybe one of these moisture meters can help you.

Post back with an update.

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August 14, 20190 found this helpful

A moisture meter can be used for checking moisture in walls, ceilings, wood and probably other items.
I purchased one and it has came in handy over the years so I do not believe you would regret buying one.


One of the problems is trying to decide which one/kind is best for your particular problem.
I opted for the pinless type but it seems the pin-type may be more popular.
The one at Harbor Freight is very inexpensive but it does not have some of the 'bells and whistles' a more expensive one has. This may be all you need.

I did check for others and some can be quite expensive but you may want one that has several ways to check for drywall or other material.

YouTube has some good instructional videos.

One thing I did learn:
If a leak is deep behind a wall, it may occur much higher than the point where the wall becomes wet.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

June 15, 2010

My roof has had a leak for years. We have patched it and it still leaks. What can I do to fix or find the leak, besides replacing the roof?

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September 8, 2009

I have a back porch that's about 8-10 ft. wide and about 20 ft. long. The roof is leaking badly and will need to be replaced.

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