Take the time to fix roof before spring storms

If a storm causes a leak in your roof, it can pay to be on top of things, particularly with spring storms approaching.

More than 80 percent of home water damage occurs during the first six hours of a storm, and virtually all types of weather from thunderstorms, hail and freezing rain to high winds and driving rain can cause roof damage and leaks.

The good news is that most homeowners can quickly patch up roof leaks with do-it-yourself roof repair cement, whether it’s an emergency patch job or a leak that’s needed repairing for a long time. Experts say the keys are to use good roof-safety fundamentals and a roof cement designed for permanent repairs.

Wet patch roof cements, for example, are effective on almost any roof surface under almost all conditions — from extreme heat to freezing temperatures.

Cements can be used on minor roof leaks caused by leaky skylights, chimneys, split or cracked seams or shingles, punctures, failing gutters, and raised or blistered edges.

If you plan on repairing a leak in your roof, start by locating the damaged area. Then scrape or sweep away residue, dirt, leaves or other debris that could interfere with good roof-cement adhesion. Next, follow these steps:

• Apply a quarter-inch layer of wet patch roof cement into roof cracks and holes, extending two to four inches beyond the damaged area. Work in cement with a trowel or putty knife to ensure a good bond with the roof surface.

• Cut a strip of repair fabric so it measures slightly smaller than the cement area just applied. Press it into the roof cement with your putty knife. The fabric provides the strength and durability that the repair requires.

• Apply another quarter-inch layer of cement over the repair fabric, working from the center out. Feather the edges of the cement one to two inches beyond the fabric. Once weather conditions permit, home-owners can coat their roof patch with a fibered aluminum coating to protect it from damaging ultraviolet rays.

Finally, before beginning any roof repair project, read all product instructions.