Repairing a wooden shake roof is similar to repairing a
shingle roof, although it can be a little more difficult. Use the same type of shakes or shingles to replace the damaged ones. If a ridge shingle is damaged, use a new specially cut ridge shingle instead of trying to make do with regular shingles.
To repair a wooden shake roof:
Step 1: Use hammer and sharp chisel to split damaged shake. Slant chisel up into shake at same angle as pitch of roof. Be careful not to gouge surrounding shakes. Pull out pieces of damaged shake.
Since shakes aren't flexible like shingles, it isn't possible to pry out nails. Use hacksaw to cut off nail heads as far down nail shaft as you can. You may want to wrap electrical tape around one end of hacksaw blade to protect your fingers. If
you can't reach nails without damaging other shakes, you'll have to work around them.
Step 2: Measure gap left by old shake, and cut new one
about 3/8 inch smaller than this measurement, using fine-tooth hacksaw. You must allow this 3/8-inch clearance because shake will swell the first time it rains.
Step 3: Install new shake. If you were able to cut off nails that held old shake, just slide new one up into place, with its top edge under overlapping shingles. Nail shake down with two galvanized roofing nails, one at each side of exposed top edge. If you weren't able to cut off nails, you'll have to notch new shake to fit around them.
Push shake up into gap, hard enough so edge is marked by old nails. Then carefully cut slots at marked points with coping saw. If possible, clamp shake in vise so it doesn't split. Slide notched shake into place, and nail it with two roofing nails.
Step 4: Set heads of nails with nail set, and seal them with caulking compound.
Roof leaks often occur at flashing joints, such as around chimneys or at vent pipes, and at open roof valleys. Take a look at the next section for suggestions on how to repair leaks in these areas.