How can I plug up bolt holes in a garage roof?
September 16, 2006 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Help me prevent a roof leak.

My next-door neighbor has a basketball hoop on her garage, part of which is bolted on to the roof. Recently, my wife watched some neighborhood hooligans drive up to their garage, jump out of the car, and take turns leaping up and yanking down on the hoop, until the backboard broke and the hoop remained hanging from the metal support brackets.

Neighbor asked me to remove the basketball hoop, and I agreed. My question is, how can I prevent her garage roof from leaking when I take the bolts out to take the hoop down?
posted by the_W to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Best answer: If the holes are small, i.e. bolt size, slather them with a glob of thick roofing cement, available at any hardware store or home depot. You may have to repeat that once a year or so.

If the holes are large, you may need to remove the shingles and patch the wood underneath. Good luck with that -- it's beyond my modest abilities.
posted by wordwhiz at 9:08 AM on September 16, 2006

Best answer: Put bolts back in the holes and paint over it.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 9:35 AM on September 16, 2006

Best answer: Assuming your neighbor has asphalt shingles, like wordwhiz says, patch small holes with an asphalt based roofing caulk.

If you have to replace some shingles, google can help find some how-to's. These ones are pretty good at explaining the process.
posted by peeedro at 9:55 AM on September 16, 2006

Out of curiosity, what happened to the vandals? Your wife saw them and their car... was she able to identify them to the cops?
posted by thinman at 9:57 AM on September 16, 2006

Response by poster: The angle of view between our upstairs window and the alley meant that she couldn't get a good look at the license plate before they sped off. They were gone by the time she got out the digital camera.

According to my wife, the car was a rusting white early 90's model 4 door sedan containing four young african-american males wearing baggy pants and backwards hats. The cops said that wasn't enough information to go on.
posted by the_W at 10:25 AM on September 16, 2006

Youths with baggy pants and backwards hats? Well, now that narrows it right down.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 11:08 AM on September 16, 2006

Yes, I'm sure that's probably what the officers said, too. I imagine it was just as obnoxious to Mrs. _W then as it is now.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:41 AM on September 16, 2006

You can always ask for professional advice at the Mr. DreamRoofs website.
posted by Blue Buddha at 3:22 PM on September 16, 2006

Response by poster: Yeah, it's just teenagers being teenagers I suppose. Although that kind of stuff was a hell of a lot funnier when I was a teenager than it is now.

Anyway, I got the basketball hoop assemblage down. Ultimately, I decided to try a combination of the first three answers. I would put a bit of caulk in the hole, and then put the bolts back in.

Here's what I learned:

1. If you're going to be on a roof, think beyond stage 1; try to refine stage 2 beyond ???.
2. If you have a plan for moving a large, heavy object with two people, don't change the plan halfway through the process without telling the other person.
3. Welded steel frames are heavy once you take out that last bolt. It's tough to hold on to and keep it, and you, on the steeply slanted roof, while trying to re-position it properly, so when it falls off the roof, it doesn't spiral around and smash up the garage door. Moderately high winds don't help.
4. You have to poke a hole in the seal underneath the nozzle of the caulk tube, otherwise you're just compressing the caulk when you click that caulk gun.
5. A compressed tube of asphalt caulk will ooze slowly but continuously for about five minutes.
6. Asphalt caulk stains white shingles.
7. Asphalt caulk stains pretty much everything.
8. Don't wear your good work clothes while working with asphalt caulk. Try to find disposable clothes.
9. When working with asphalt caulk on the roof, remember to bring something to wipe up the excess with.
10. The roof of a garage is thin, almost certainly thinner than the length of the average lag bolt.
11. When putting caulk in the holes left behind by the lag bolts, it probably doesn't really take that much caulk.
12. Try to remember to remove the neighbor's car from the garage first, lest you drip asphalt caulk on it. Or, you can do what I did and get lucky that the car was parked somewhat over and to the side, so all the caulk went through the roof and onto the garage floor.
13. Make sure to have enough Lava soap on hand to clean your hands when done working with asphalt caulk. But if you run out, your wife's least favorite tube of sugar scrub will probably work in a pinch.
14. From a liability standpoint, offering to remove the neighbor's basketball hoop thing from their garage is incredibly stupid.

To sum up: just put the bolts back in, and then cover the tops of the bolts with asphalt caulk. That's probably your best tradeoff between stability and waterproofiness. And get several friends to help you, preferably friends with a multitude of ladders. Trying to work on the roof with one ladder, and one pregnant wife (8 1/2 months!) as your helper is a recipe for a frustrated wife who is angry at you for risking your life like a big dumb hetero meathead. Send the wife out shopping for baby supplies, call up the buddies, and things will go a lot easier.
posted by the_W at 9:18 PM on September 16, 2006

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