Roof repair of collapsed section

A Simple Roof Repair You Can Do Yourself

In the intro post to this issue on our Mid-Century Modern Ranch, I talked about Roof Repair and securing the deck walkway above the roof. The walkway connects both the deck near the kitchen through the backside of the house to the dining room and walkway to our master bedroom. You can get an idea by looking at this graphic which shows the decking layout. As always, we try to document the many things we do to our house on this blog.

Deck Repair or Replace

The walkway area is identified as the section with 61 boards. The green dot is the Beechwood tree next to our house.

As with any project, it always ends up being larger than you thought. Much like this project the further we dug into the issue the bigger of a project this began to be. It required new tools and a couple of consulting calls with some of my best go to people. Like my brother in-law Mark, my friend Jonathan and Kevin. All of these guys have done many projects with skill sets better than my own. Their help on many of my projects (even if just mentally thinking through next step is very helpful) Thanks FELLAS! Keep your list of people to call, use them to bounce ideas off of. It is not an exact science with many of these things like a roof repair. They can be invaluable.

Roof Repair Breakdown

With that I started to break things down only to find a couple of minor issues. The main reason “Why” the roof had a leak is in the intro picture of this post. A roof repair may not have been needed if that post was centered over a joist. A miss step from many years ago. I am grateful it was not more severe.

1st Issue with repairing the Roof – addressing the decking, siding and framework

In the gallery below you are going to see a couple of stories. 1 is that when you start to tear apart your deck, you may start to be shocked by wood rot and damage from water. EXPECT IT – I did with every board that I popped up.

Tip Number One: SAVE YOURSELF frustration and anger – get a 3-4 foot crow bar. Almost worth its weight in gold. I got this one at Harbor Freight. Instead of screwing around with smaller crow bars, trying to drill out the screws or nails etc. etc. If you do have screws note you may need to replace some of the frame as ripping them out could be an issue.

Tip number two: If you end up having some soft spots on the siding where the ledger board meets the siding… there is a fix for that. I had contractors tell me if 95% of the surface is ok, then you can repair it using a couple of standard tools.

  1. Wood Hardener
  2. Liquid Nails
  3. Bondo (auto body repair)
  4. Final coat – Flex Seal

Here is a quick overview of the process in fixing the water damaged siding.

Roof Repair Process


Total Time: 1 day and 8 hours

  1. Clean Off OLD Roof
    Removing old roof shingles damaged with water damage underneath

    In our situation for our roof repair the walkway above the roof needed to be removed. If you are working just on a roof repair then consider yourself lucky. I had to remove 59 boards then prep and cut new boards and then install and stain. That is for another day.

    Key tip: Get a tarp and put it down on the ground in front of the repair. Throw shingles and felt/rubber underlayment down to the tarp. It will help with cleanup later. Also, when removing nails, keep a small bucket close by. It is better to capture them NOW vs. trying to pick them up later.

  2. Removing Damaged Plywood
    Cutaway of old rotten fascia board

    If you need to replace a sheet of plywood like we did, it is not too hard of a task. However, if you only need to replace a 4 foot section, grab your hand saw and cut it out. Depending on the area, you may need to snap a line with a chalk line. It helps to keep the lines clean. Remember you are going to put back an exact replica. The cleaner the better the fit and finish later on.

  3. Address ANY and ALL Water Damaged Wood
    Removing water damaged Facia Board on a MId-Century Modern Ranch

    In our case, we apparently had this leak for some time. The ONLY good news, it was in this area primarily due to a miss-step of the contractor that build the roof and decking. The walkway which rests on the roof surface, miscalculated the joist location for the decking support. One of the support beams was resting exactly in the middle of the joists. I don’t know if a tree hit this in the past, but either-way it was an “easy” fix for the load to be put over a joist. So not only was the old chip board damaged, but also the 2×4 at the end of the roof near the Fascia board. Good news, since this was an overhang, no water ever entered the house, only the outside edge was affected.

  4. Removal and Replacement of the 2×4 Support
    Replacement 2x4 structure board glued and nailed in place

    Like many projects, if there is a will there is a way. In order to replace the rotten 2×4, we could have ripped off the gutter, fascia board and then 2×4 which would have been a long day. The good news is we had a section we could easily cut out and repair. However keep in mind two things prior to cutting. You want a to cut the old board about an inch (at least) away from the damaged wood. Make sure your cut is at a 45 degree angle on both sides. Think of it like you want both ends to rest on top of the old board where you cut it out. Take your new 2×4 and measure twice and cut it a little long. I usually leave about a half inch extra so I can go back and trip it off for a perfect fit.
    Once you are happy, take your caulk of liquid nails and apply to both ends of the board. Place into the recess and ensure it is lined up properly. Then use two long screws at a 45 degree angle. Start at the top on each side to pull the board back together again. The second screw on both sides can bring it back completely together. Make sure to hit the first screw one last time.

  5. Plywood Roof Repair
    glued and screwed down plywood board repairing leaking roof

    Once you are satisfied with the structure of the roof, take your measurements of the removed plywood panel that was damaged. I used the old board to trace an outline. Then I measured twice, to ensure we had an exact cut. A chalk line could come in handy if you are manually measuring without the old board. Again, make the cuts slightly larger than what you need, and trim as necessary. Take your time it is critical to have a solid / tight fit. Next take liquid nails, and lay a bead of caulk on the joists/frame where the plywood will rest. Lay the plywood down and ensure it is as tight all around as possible. Now secure with screws every 6 inches. Final touch, add a bead of Liquid Nails as a final step to secure/water seal the joints. This roof repair is looking good – you should feel some sense of relief. Even if it starts to rain you can go to sleep tonight.

  6. Adding New Shingles
    Adding new shingles

    I won’t go over full instructions as again our blog is for helpful tips and also it is to document what we have done to our home. With that said, a couple of simple rules to follow. 1. ALWAYS use underlayment, it will stop 90% of the water issues. 2. ALWAYS when patching a roof, giver yourself at least a foot over the old shingles. You want to ensure no water will get into the uncovered surface. This area is now patched and completed, however the rest of the roof will need to be done at some point in the future.

Wrapping up this Roof Repair

As always, thank you for stopping by. We always hope that some of the issues we run across and resolve are helpful to other people.

Until next time! – Joe and Mel