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How to Repair Asphalt Shingles

Step-by-step expert advice on repairing curled, torn, or damaged asphalt roofing shingles. Includes advice to stop a roof leak quickly.

You can tack down curled corners and use roofing cement to seal minor damage, but serious problems call for replacement.Suzanne Tucker / Shutterstock.com

You can tack down curled corners and use roofing cement to seal minor damage, but serious problems call for replacement.

It’s important to fix or replace torn or curled asphalt shingles before the problem gets severe enough to permit leaks or the pieces break apart and blow off the roof.

If you don’t have close-match replacement shingles for your roof, repairing a torn or curled shingle will be your easiest and best option. On the other hand, if you have replacement shingles that match your roof, entirely replacing the damaged shingle will result in better, less noticeable repair. For more about replacing a shingle, please see How to Replace a Damaged Asphalt Shingle.

Working on top of a roof can be challenging and dangerous. Unless your roof’s pitch is relatively low and you have the necessary experience, tools, and confidence to get the job done safely, you should leave this work to a professional. In this case, please see our affiliate partner, HomeAdvisor, to receive free bids from local asphalt shingle roof repair pros.

How to Repair a Torn or Curled Asphalt Shingle

Here’s how to repair a torn asphalt shingle:

1Carefully lift the torn piece or damaged corner, and, using a putty knife, carefully spread a layer of asphalt roofing cement under it. Be careful not to smear the cement on exposed portions of roofing.

2Tack down a curled corner with one roofing nail. If your are repairing a tear, tack down the two torn halves with two roofing nails on each side of the tear.

3Carefully apply roofing cement over the crack and on top of the nailheads to seal up any potential leaks. Keep the amount of cement at a minimum—this will be visible on the surface of your roof.


fix roof leak with flashing

Quickly fix a roof leak by slipping a sheet metal flashing up under the course above the hole.

Quick Fix for a Roof Leak

You can temporarily solve a roof leak quickly and easily, using a 12-by-12-inch piece of galvanized sheet metal flashing, available at most home improvement centers.

In dry weather, lift the damaged shingle with one hand while you slip the sheet metal flashing up underneath it to cover the hole.

It’s usually necessary to pry up one or more roofing nails in the row above the missing or damaged shingle so you can push the flashing all the way up under the course above the leak.

NEXT SEE: Replace a Badly Damaged Asphalt Shingle

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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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