Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Quick Fix Maintenance

Quick fixes are an essential part of maintenance. Exposure to the elements are a building’s worst enemy, and there are plenty of times we feel as if we cannot catch up.  Failing gutters, leaking roofs and general water management are inevitable factors that can cause a building to deteriorate quickly, making repairs more extensive and expensive.  Taking care of the minor troubles is always the best way to prevent bigger hassles in the future.


Roofing and drainage repairs should always be done with a cause and effect in mind.  There are plenty of patching materials out there, with pretty graphics and statements of “quick and easy”, although finding what really is best is always the trick.  We have asked exhaustive questions and spent plenty of time and money on all types of products.  We have discovered the limitations and challenges of applications, as well as saw how long they last.  So here are some products and techniques that are designed to effectively patch roofs, flashing and gutters with reasonable longevity in mind.


Protective Coatings

A protective coating application is reserved for projects where a removal and reinstallation is cost prohibitive, or the material is OK shape, but has some cracks or holes.  There are acrylic elastomeric (having rubber like properties) coatings, which are as easy to prepare and apply as paint.  Elastomeric products do not breath well, so they are not good for things like over wood.  These products have been sold as “never paint your house again” which is true, since your house will rot under the coating.  But for things like asphalt or metals like tin and copper it works as a fine stopgap measure.  The coating is typically applied along with a fiberglass mesh; so active cracks do not compromise the coating.  It is not reversible, so be sure you cannot repair the material any other way.  Elastomeric coatings can be reapplied like paint.  An application of elastomeric coating can last over 10 years.



Sealants can come in a can or a tube.  The key to a sealant is its ability to adhere to the material you are applying it to.  Sealants can be used as a bridge between dissimilar materials, like a tub to tile, that do not move beyond some light expansion and contraction.  If you have a crack in a tar roof, a sealant will require a mesh to bridge the gap.  A sealant should always be applied following the package directions, paying particular attention to cleanliness, moisture, and temperature.  We have used brush-on sealant with a fiberglass mesh to repair gutters with holes in them.   Most of these repairs will last one to five years.


Friction Fit Roof Patches

Friction fit roof patches can be used for everything from new to old roofs with a slope over a 4 high to 12 long pitch.  We have made 2-3” wide metal strips with a square or rounded top, to slip under the holes or open seams of asphalt, wood and slate roofing.  These patches have been used for generations to repair old slate roofs or newer wood roofs, which is a case where sealants or tar are not appropriate.  You can also make the same strips out of a 30lb tarpaper, for more of a temporary repair.  And if a dry fit does not inspire confidence, you can put a few dabs of sealant down so the dry fit patch stays in place.  The same dry fit techniques can work for failed step flashing.  We have seen some friction fit roof patches over 50 years old.


The bottom line is there are always solutions to problems at any level from temporary to long term, effective to ineffective.  Although if you are going through the effort of buying a product, setting up, and applying with some expectation of effectiveness, do some research first.  I always preach talking to a single source or more refined supplier of products first since they know product behaviors, application and longevity better than a generalist supply store.   An effective, more expensive product is better than an ineffective cheaper product.

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