Nail Holes in Roofing can Lead to Leaks

Attic inspection and roof maintenance can head off possible problems.

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Many roof leaks, like the one in Kenner, La., are the result of nail holes. It's not unusual for nail holes in the shingles or flashing to increase in size over time allowing water to seep around the nails. Before a roof leak causes damage to your home and punctures your pocketbook, you'll need to pinpoint the source of the leak. And for that we'll head to the attic.

From inside the attic, scan the framings with a flashlight. You're looking for drops of water, or stains. It's best to do this after a rainstorm or as snow melts. On sunny days, you can sometimes spot a nail hole as the light shines into the dark attic. To keep on top of nail holes on your roof, here are some leak-proof pointers:


  • Caulk and seal any holes you find on the roof using roofing cement. Cover nail heads with roofing cement when nailing in shingles.
  • Inspect your roof twice a year. Replace shingles that have holes that are too large to patch.
  • Remember leaks can be sneaky; they may not take a direct route. If you can't find the source of a leak, get professional help.

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