Can't Afford a Roof Repair? Try These Four Temporary Patch Ideas to Buy You Time

Posted on: 10 September 2015


If your roof is is missing shingles or has a hole for any reason, rain can get into your home, damaging wood and potentially encouraging the growth of dangerous mold. Ideally, you should repair or replace an ailing roof as soon as possible to protect your home from lasting damage. However, if you cannot afford a new roof right away, there are simple DIY repairs you can do to buy more time.

Check out these ideas:

1. DIY shingle repair

If the issue is a missing or curling shingle, you may be able to repair it yourself. Simply pull the damaged shingle out, insert a new one in its place and nail it down. Use shingles from the last time you shingled your roof if you like, or buy new ones. Although the latter may not match, they will keep the water out.

2. Tarps

If you have too many missing shingles to repair them easily, consider covering the area with a tarp. Strategically place nails over the area where you want the tarp. Then, pull it taut, and hook the tarp's grommets over the nails.

If your roof can handle the extra weight, use rocks to further seal the sides of the tarp. Using a tarp as a temporary patch is most effective against rain coming down from straight above, and it is not as effective against rain driving in sideways. However, even a tarp can give you temporary protection while you save up money for a repair.

3. Tar

You can use tar as an adhesive to flatten and attach curling shingles. Tar also helps to create a waterproof layer, and even if you have lots of curling shingles and a few missing ones, you may be able to use tar to create a large and inexpensive patch.

Simply buy a bucket of tar, dump it out and use a broom to spread the tar over the roof -- keep in mind you won't be able to use the broom again for anything not related to tar. This temporary patch won't last for more than a few months, however, and it will make your roof sticky and inhospitable.

4. Shingle roll

Also called roofing felt, rolls of asphalt shingling can also buy you time if you cannot afford a roof repair. Asphalt rolls can work as permanent roofing on a roof with a very low pitch, but on most standard roofs, it only works as a temporary patch. Basically, you spread tar on the ailing part of your roof and you roll the shingle out over that. Nail it down to keep it in place.

These temporary repairs can give you time as you save for a roof repair or replacement. However, before making any lasting changes to your roof, consider consulting with a roofing specialist.