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Leaky Roof Is a Real Drip

When we had all that rain a few weeks back, I found out my roof is leaking. Now that things have dried out, I've found a few other water stains on the ceiling and walls. Is there anything I can do to fix this?

I guess that you are one of the people that discovered that it can also rain inside.

Fixing a roof is either a quick job or a total frustration. Locating the point of the leak is the first step. The best place to locate this is from the attic by following the drip back up the roof to the actual hole in the roof.

Because of the slope of the roof, the hole is usually upward of the leak and by following the drip path, you can find the source.

Often the best way is to push a nail up the hole so that it will be visible when you get on the roof to make the repair, and then can be pushed back down into the attic.

Small holes can be repaired by the use of a roof compound. Others may require the replacement of the tile, shake or shingle.

Most building supply stores offer a variety of products to make these repairs. Just ask the questions and read the instructions on the use of the product. It can be that simple.

Above all, if you go up on the roof, watch your footing and balance. When going up or off the roof, make sure that your ladder is secure. A moment to make sure everything is safe is better than a broken arm. That first step can be awfully long going down.

If you're not one to be crawling up on top of your house, or even in the attic, check with some of the local roofing contractors. Many of them will come out and inspect your roof and repair it, even if it is a few years old. Check around; there's a lot of competition in the roofing industry, so prices vary. And, by the way, if you're not changing the type of roof you have, you don't need a permit.

Now here's a tip you won't hear everywhere... To clean up those water stains, use a mix of 50-50 chlorine bleach and water. Just dab the mixture on the stain and it should clear it up. In our dry climate, you don't have to scrub and repaint like you do in other parts of the country. Just dab away.

My roof has had it. I have a shake-shingle roof but I notice almost everyone is replacing them with something else. Why is this?

Styles and public favor changes, but a big reason we're seeing the shake-shingle wood roof disappear is because of fire danger. Older shake-shingle roofs have little or no protection from fire. Although newer materials are treated and must have a Class C fire-protection rating to be installed in the City of San Diego, many homeowners are opting for composition, asphalt, Fiberglas or other nonflammable materials when they reroof.

By the way, make sure your roofing contractor gets a permit and has inspections performed if you install a Spanish tile or other heavy composite material roof when replacing your old shake-shingle or asphalt roof. Because clay and some other composite tiles can be much heavier than the old wood or asphalt, your home's roof structure will need to be beefed up. For just replacing the same-style roof, there's no permit needed in the City of San Diego, although some of the other cities in the area do require a permit. Give your local building department a call just to make sure.