The Do's and Don'ts of Concrete Roof Leak Repairs

concrete roof tiles

Concrete roof repair is often necessary because concrete is susceptible to scaling, cracking, crazing, spalling, and a host of other issues with regular wear and tear. In most cases, minor, timely repairs and regular maintenance will ensure that there is no structural damage. The root problem when using concrete as a roofing material is that concrete is porous and retains moisture.

Read on to learn some quick do's and don'ts when dealing with concrete roof repair.

Do Waterproof Your Roof

The most common complaint with regard to both concrete tile and flat concrete roofing is water leaks. When there are leaks in a flat concrete roof, the fast fix is usually to apply some kind of sealant or waterproof cement at the site of the leak. Most of the time cracks can be filled with caulking materials to prevent further damage.

Keep in mind that even concrete that is free of cracks or damage is still very porous and able to retain moisture. The best option is to waterproof the entire roof, regardless of where the leaks are found. For this, you will need to first clean the entire roof surface with a pressure washer.

Fill in large cracks with mortar or roofing cement, then apply a good concrete primer. Once the primer is dry, apply an elastomeric sealant to the cracks, corners, and damaged areas, and then to the entire roof. Follow up with a second coat after 24 hours have passed.

Don't Forget to Replace Roofing Felt

Leaks in concrete tiles can often be fixed by replacing or repositioning the tiles. While it is necessary to replace cracked tiles and reposition tiles if they are not fit snuggly, sometimes the actual problem lies below the surface. When leaks appear in concrete tiled roofs, repairs can involve re-caulking the exposed nails, replacing old and cracked tiles, and sometimes removing all the tiles and repositioning them is necessary.

However, despite such extensive repair work, leaks may still remain. The problem here is with roofing felt. Even if the felt does not appear to be damaged, it can cause leaks if it is old.

If your tiled roof is leaking and you have done everything you can with the tiles, it is time to replace the roofing felt.

Do Find the Exact Leak Source

One common practice when repairing roof leaks is to check and repair the area just above the leak. This is less costly and labor-intensive, but the actual source of the leak might be somewhere else. When you have a leak, check your plumbing lines, check for ponding, and check the entire roof surface.

To avoid making this mistake, whenever you have a leak, do not restrict your checks to the area just above the leak. Check the sides, corners, drainage pipes, and anywhere else that could be at risk.

Sometimes the leak may not be visible on the surface. For instance, a faulty plumbing line could be causing the leak. Remember that concrete is permeable, which means water drainage or collection at one point can result in a leak at another point.

Don't Be Afraid to Call a Professional

Your concrete roof, whether it's installed properly or not, literally rests on top of everything else inside your building or home. While it is possible to undertake a job like this on your own, when you consider the importance of roofs, not hiring a professional roofer is one of the biggest and most easily avoidable mistakes you can make if you don't feel prepared to tackle this project alone.