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How to Fix a Hole in a Roof – Professional Advice

October 5, 2023

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roof patching

So you were up on the roof deck partying, and your friend Steve decided to show off his breakdancing skills. Next thing you know, there’s a gaping hole where there didn’t use to be one. Don’t worry; I’m here to tell you how to fix it so you don’t end up in the doghouse. 

So, how to fix a hole in a roof? To fix a hole in a roof, you’ll need to assess the damage, gather the right materials like replacement shingles and roofing cement, prep the area by cleaning debris and cutting away damaged material, seal the edges, cut replacement shingles to size, secure the new shingles over the hole, seal the edges with cement, cover exposed nails, and let the cement dry before going up on the roof again.

Just grab your toolbelt, flex your DIY muscles, and let’s get to patching!

Assess the Damage

First things first, put on shoes with grips and carefully hoof it up there to get a good look at what you’re dealing with. Perform a self-roof inspection. Don’t just peek your head out the skylight for a glance. You need to really examine the hole to determine how best to fix it. Take measurements and see how big the problem area is. Watch your step while you’re up there, too. Safety first! We need you in one piece for the repairs.

what causes roof to sag

How to Fix a Hole in a Roof? Gather Your Materials

For a simple shingle roof, you’ll need replacement shingles, a flat pry bar, a hammer, roofing nails, a utility knife, and roofing cement or sealant. Don’t forget your trusty duct tape, too! If it’s an asphalt, metal, tile, or flat roof, you may need additional specialized tools and materials. Better grab ’em now in one trip rather than playing a fun game of “the ground is lava!”

Pro tip: If you’re missing some supplies, borrow from your neighbors to avoid multiple trips up and down. Maybe even turn it into a friendly competition to see who has the best roof patch kit on the block!

professional roof leak repair

Prep the Area

Select your replacement shingles and lay them out to warm in the sun. This prevents cracking. Use your utility knife to carefully cut away any damaged roofing material around the hole. Remove debris and thoroughly clean the area so your patch sits flush.

Optional time-saving hack: blast away debris with an electric leaf blower, but watch out for flying shingles!

how to fix a hole in a roof

Seal the Hole

Apply your roofing cement or sealant around the edges of the hole according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This provides an extra waterproof seal between the old and new shingles. If you used duct tape for a temporary fix, now is the time to gently remove it.

Pro tip: Don’t tear off the duct tape! That could damage more shingles.

how to fix a hole in a roof

Cut the Replacement Shingles

Measure the hole and mark your replacement shingles to fit. For an easy patch, cut shingles to extend 12 inches beyond the damaged area on all sides. An extra overlap helps prevent leaks. Use your utility knife and straightedge to neatly cut the shingles to size.

roof repair contractors

Secure the New Shingles

Working from the bottom up, slide your pre-cut shingle patches under the existing shingles overlapping the hole. Nail them down into the roof deck just like regular shingles, placing nails just above the adhesive strip line. Focus on nailing along the edges for a tight seal.

Pro tip: Don’t nail through the overlapping shingles!

worker on roof

Seal the Edges

Once the patch shingles are secured in place, apply roofing cement along all seams and edges. This seals everything up nicely. Use a putty knife to smooth it out.

Almost done! Just let the cement fully dry before you start dancing your patchwork pride.

worker fixing roof

Cover Exposed Nails

Here’s the finishing touch! Take a piece of flashing or an extra shingle scrap and cut patches to cover any exposed roofing nails. Slip these pieces under the shingles and nail down.

Voila! You did it! Go grab a beverage of choice to celebrate a successful roof repair. Just carefully climb down first.

how to fix a hole in a roof

That’s a Wrap

And there you have it – a DIY guide to patching common roof holes. Well, some holes are better left to the pros. But for simple shingle damage, with the right materials and a little know-how, you can fix it yourself in an afternoon. Work safely, work smart, and soon you’ll be dried in and partying on – no more unplanned skylights.

About The Rhode Island Roofers

The Rhode Island Roofers is the premier roofing company in RI, specializing in all types of roof replacement, repair, and installation for over 20 years. Their team of expert roofers provides quality workmanship and exceptional customer service. Contact The Rhode Island Roofers at (401) 496-9491 for all your roofing needs.


What is the fastest way to patch a roof?

For a quick roof patch, clean the area thoroughly, seal around the hole with roofing cement, cut a shingle to overlap the hole by at least 12 inches on all sides, nail the patch in place, and seal all edges with more cement. Allow time for the cement to dry before going on the roof again for the fastest and safest DIY roof patch.

Can you patch part of a roof?

Yes, it is possible to patch just a portion of your roof rather than replacing the entire thing. To patch part of a roof, cut away any damaged shingles or material around the affected area, seal the edges, cut replacement shingles to size, nail the new shingles in place over the hole, and seal all seams with roofing cement for a watertight seal.

What materials do I need to patch a roof?

To patch a shingle roof, you’ll need replacement shingles, roofing nails, a hammer, utility knife, pry bar, roofing cement or sealant, and flashing or scrap material to cover exposed nails after the repair is complete. For other roof types like metal, tile, or flat roofs, specialized patching materials may be needed, like metal sheets, tiles, modified bitumen, and additional tools.

How long does it take to fix a hole in a roof?

The time it takes to fix a hole in a roof depends on the size of the damage, roof type, and complexity of the repair. Small holes or simple shingle damage can be patched in an afternoon with some basic DIY roofing knowledge and materials. However, extensive damage or repairs on tile, metal, or flat roofs often take professional roofers multiple days or even weeks to fully replace and seal the affected areas.

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