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Home | How to do it | How to Fix a Sagging Roof

How to Fix a Sagging Roof

A sagging roof is not only an eyesore, but it could also be dangerous for you and your family. Since roofs are designed to be straight, a curved or sagging roof means that its structural integrity is insufficient, and it may be a warning sign that your roof is headed for collapse.

Sagging Roof

But don’t worry! Before you start panicking, remember that you can have your sagging roof fixed without breaking the bank, whether you want to do it yourself or hire a professional to do it for you. If you’re not experienced in roofing, we wouldn’t recommend doing this project yourself without the proper preparation and assistance. That’s where our team comes in at Legacy Service. We install and replace roofs for residential and commercial customers throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. You can get in touch with us by giving us a call at 215-798-9790.

But if you are experienced in roofing and would like to take care of it yourself, let this article be your guide. We cover the causes of a sagging roof, determining the extent of the damage, and how you can fix it. Here’s how to fix a sagging roof (as well as anything else you might need to know):

What Causes a Sagging Roof?

Even if you’ve done everything you can over the years to ensure your roof remains in perfect condition, age can creep up on it and cause it to droop. In other cases, maybe your roof isn’t even that old, but it’s been hit by tons of big storms over the past year. Understanding why your roof is sagging is essential to being able to repair it. Here are some of the main causes of your roof sagging problems:

There’s too much weight on it – When was the last time you had the structural integrity of your roof checked? Problems with the structure may cause your roof to droop. Since roofs are designed to handle a maximum weight load, anything more than that can create sagging. When you have undersized rafters or inadequate storm bracing, snow or ice resting on your roof may cause it to sag.

Water damage – Although roofs are designed for optimal water drainage, flooding or heavy rainstorms over time can cause damage to the structure of the roof. If you have a flawed gutter system or damaged shingles that impede the flow of water, moisture can get into the support structure and cause it to deteriorate.

Other causes – Some other causes of a sagging roof include age, lower-quality materials, and a damaged or sinking foundation. If you need help determining the cause of your sagging roof, please feel free to contact our Legacy Service team to schedule a consultation.

Determine the Extent of the Damage

Once you figure out what’s causing the damage, it’s time to determine the extent. There are ways you can do this yourself, which we’re going to touch upon, but we usually recommend hiring a professional. Remember that you can always contact us at Legacy Service if you need help with your home’s exterior. However, here’s what you can do to try and figure out the damage yourself:

  1. Go outside of the house and determine where the sag on the roof would be in your attic.
  2. Using a flashlight, inspect the rafters and decking in your attic, especially in the areas where your roof is sagging. Then, inspect the metal or plywood gusset plates.
  3. Look for any kind of damage (including rot, cracks, breaks, and more).

Fortunately, there are different ways to jack up a sagging roof. We’re going to cover them in the sections below.

Tools and Equipment

Roofing Tools and Equipment List

So, you’ve already determined what the problem is and its extent. Now, it’s time to gather the necessary materials to fix your sagging roof. We’ve compiled a list of the items you’ll most likely need for the job. They include:

  • Flashlight
  • Bolts and washers
  • Chisel
  • Drill
  • Measuring tape
  • Nail gun and nails
  • Steel “L” channel
  • Plywood gusset
  • Plywood
  • Lumbar strapping
  • Styrofoam

Once you have everything you need, you’ll be able to get started on the project itself.

How to Fix Sagging Roof Trusses or Rafters

In many cases, you’ll need to fix sagging trusses or rafters to repair your roof. If that’s what you’re dealing with regarding your home, take these steps to ensure your rafter or truss gets fixed properly:

  1. You’ll need a steel “L” channel to get your rafter or truss back into shape.
  2. Drill four holes in each side of the L.
  3. Remove any pieces of wood (broken scraps) that could get in your way using a chisel.
  4. Starting at the end that’s the most difficult to access, mount the steel “L” channel onto the rafter or truss.
  5. Fasten the end of the channel to the rafter or truss, using washers and bolts in the holes you drilled.
  6. Move the broken piece into position when its end is in place.
  7. Measure the gap that’s between the steel “L” channel and the rafter/truss. Then, select bolts that are 1.5 – 2 longer than the gap.
  8. Insert the two bottom bolts and tighten them. Then, tighten the bolt that’s farthest from the break until the other bolt head is about 1/4″ from the channel.
  9. Tighten the back bolt until it’s close against the steel “L” channel. After that, tighten the front bolt until the back one is about 1/4″ from the channel.
  10. Keep tightening the front and back bolts until the rafter or truss is securely against the channel.
  11. Insert bolts into the rest of the holes and tighten them.
  12. Remember that you might want to add extra support to the area.

Fixing Roof Decking

If the roof decking is damaged, we recommend hiring a professional to get it fixed. However, you can create a temporary solution by following the steps below:

  1. After measuring the damaged area between your roof trusses or rafters, cut a piece of 1/2″ plywood that will cover the area.
  2. Glue a piece of 1″ rigid styrofoam to the plywood. (Driving nails into it might make it worse.)
  3. Place the plywood and styrofoam (side up) against the damaged roof decking.
  4. Push up on the plywood until the foam is touching the roof decking’s underside.
  5. Keep the plywood in place using a piece of lumbar strapping until you can get a roofing expert to repair it.

Fixing a Gusset Plate

A gusset plate connects beams and girders to columns, and it can be fastened using bolts, rivets, welding, or a combination of the three. You can fix a gusset plate using these steps:

  1. Remove the gusset plate that has pulled away from the wood.
  2. It’s practically impossible to reinstall it, so replace it with a 1/2″ plywood gusset.
  3. Use a nail gun to attach the gusset on both sides of the wood pieces.

When done properly, this should replace the original gusset plate’s strength.

Fix It!

What If I Can’t Repair My Own Roof?

If you can’t repair your own roof, don’t despair. Hiring a professional can actually be more time-efficient and cost-effective in the long run. At Legacy Service, we’re always willing and able to help out a customer in need. We’ll send out a consultant who will talk to you about a roof replacement.

Reasons you should hire a professional when it comes to repairing a bowing roof include:

  • It’s cost-effective – It may seem less expensive to just complete the project on your own, but unless you’re experienced in fixing sagging roofs, it might cost more in the long run. You’ll have to purchase your own tools and materials, and if everything isn’t done correctly, you might be paying for more damage down the line.
  • Quality materials – Professional roofers can determine the materials that would be best-suited for the type of job as well as the type of building.
  • You don’t have to do it yourself! Wouldn’t you rather relax on your day off from work rather than fix your roof? Whether you’d rather take it easy or work on something else that needs your attention, one thing you can check off your list is fixing your roof.

Contact Us to Learn More!

If your roof is sagging between trusses, there are multiple ways you can go about repairing it. The one thing you don’t want to do, though, is leave it alone. We believe that your roof should protect your home and family, and that means taking care of it throughout its entire lifespan. We’ll also provide service (including installation and replacement) for siding, windows, doors, and gutters. No matter what you need for your home exterior, our team will be able to help you. Learn more about roofing replacement by giving us a call at 215-798-9790 or filling out a contact form here.