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Repairing Minor Roof Leaks

Q.  I have a couple of minor leaks in my roof where sheathing nails have popped up through the asphalt shingles. How do I repair this?

A.  For a popped nail, a short-term solution is to replace the old fastener with a galvanized screw. Pry out the nail with a claw hammer. Choose a screw with a slightly larger diameter than the nail and drive it 2-1/2 to 3 inches into the same hole. The screw will usually grab to the sheathing for a solid connection. Follow up with a bead of waterproof asphalt sealant to fill the hole in the shingle(s). As a long-term solution, it’s best to replace the punctured shingle. While that may seem complicated, it actually only requires a few tools: a pry bar, roofing sealant, putty knife, hammer and roofing nails.

(Courtesy Brad Staggs, author of the new book, Spend-A-Little, Save-A-Lot Home Improvements. Purchase the book at

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