Roof repairs: common problems and their costs

Regular roof repairs can help you prevent even more damage from happening to your home. Image source: Wormley Roofing

Catherine Lane

By Catherine Lane

October 22, 2020

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Roof repairs are an essential part of keeping your roof looking its best for years to come. While weathering, overloading, and accidents can cause issues that will send your shingles into disrepair, you may remain unaware of what repairs your roof might need. Below, we’ve outlined some of the most common roof repairs and what you can expect from them.

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Signs you need a roof repair

While your roof may not show any major signs of damage, it doesn’t mean you don’t need a roof repair. Many roofing experts recommend regularly inspecting your roof to make sure it is in good condition.

During your roof inspection, be sure to keep an eye out for these key signs to determine whether it’s time to fix up your roof:

  • Signs of water damage such as water stains or the presence of mold
  • Missing, curled, or cracked shingles
  • Rusted metal roofing components
  • Presence of moss or algae on the roof
  • Sagging

If your roof is over 20 years old, it might be time to completely remove and replace your old shingles. If the cost of repairing your roof is reaching the same price as replacing it, an entire roof replacement may be a better investment.

How much does a roof repair cost?

A roof repair can cost you anywhere from $400 to well over $1,000, depending on the extent of the damage and the kind of roof you have.

Minor damage, like replacing missing or broken shingles, could cost as little as $150 with a licensed roofing contractor. If you choose to do a DIY repair, replacing asphalt shingles might only cost you $20!

Major repairs are what end up having a high price tag, going upwards of $1,000. Usually, these types of repairs are associated with severe water or storm damage. If the cost to repair your roof is extremely high, you might want to consider a new roof.

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Common roof leak repairs and their costs

A leaky roof is the number one reason homeowners require a roof repair. Roof leaks are caused by water infiltrating small cracks and the seams of your roof, which may make it difficult to determine what kind of repair you need.

Leaking roof repairs

Damage to your shingles and roof fixtures can cause water to leak through your roof. Image source: Henderson Roofing and Construction

1. Shingle repairs

Cost: Between $3.00 and $15.00 per square foot, depending on the shingle type

Shingle repairs are very common. Most shingles are durable, making them resistant to UV rays, heavy rain, and other weather conditions – but, even the highest-rated shingles can become damaged.

While there are a variety of reasons you may need to replace your shingles, everyday wear and tear can do a number on your roof. High winds, rain, and the environmental elements can weather all shingle types from asphalt to tile.

The cost of repairing your shingles depends on the extent of the damage as well as the type of shingles. The following table outlines some common roofing materials and how much a shingle repair may cost:

Shingle type Common repair Estimated cost
Asphalt shingles Storm damage, curling shingles $100 - $600 per square
Metal roof Cracking flashing, loose fasteners, corrosion $250 - $1,500 total
Tile roof Storm damage, corrosion $400 - $1,000 per square
Wood shake Rot, splitting, storm damage $350 - $500 per square

When shingles are damaged, water can seep through your roof more easily, causing more serious damage to your roofing system. It’s important to regularly check the condition of your shingles to ensure there are no major issues. When you identify the issue early, you won’t have to worry about more severe problems, like roof sagging.

2. Roof fixtures

Cost:$200 - $3,000 depending on the fixture and the extent of the damage

Roof fixtures, such as vents and chimneys, are another common reason for a leaking roof. Roof fixture leaks are caused either by flashing damage, sealant damage, or damage to the fixture itself.

Flashing is a material that roofers install to direct water away from areas where the roof meets a vertical structure, like a wall or a chimney. Usually, it is made of galvanized steel, but constant exposure to the elements can take a toll on the flashing’s integrity, eventually leading to cracks and holes. Sealant around fixtures will also degrade as it ages.

If the flashing or sealant is the issue, a professional roofer can replace damaged flashing, or use caulk or roof cement to patch up any cracks around the fixture’s base. Replacing vent or chimney flashing and caulking are relatively inexpensive, minor repairs.

You could find that there’s a problem with the actual fixture. Structures like vent pipes are more likely to be damaged than a sturdy fixture, like a chimney. Depending on the extent of the damage, these repairs could be pretty pricey.

3. Skylight repairs

Cost: $200 - $900

Similar to roof fixtures, skylights are prone to leaking. Skylights can trap water around their edges, which will damage the sealing material surrounding the window. Fixing the sealant around a skylight is a pretty minor repair, but replacing the flashing will cost you a bit more.

Leaky skylights can cause damage to anything immediately below them, so it’s important to make sure your skylight flashing and sealing are working correctly.

Other common roof repairs

If a roof leak goes undetected, it can lead to some pretty serious structural damage to your roof’s framework. If you find that severe weather has taken a toll on your roof, the repairs can cost substantially more money than repairing the initial source of the leak. If you schedule regular roof inspections, you can catch a major problem before it’s too late.

1. Underlayment repairs

Cost: Between $4.00 and $6.00 per square foot

Roofing underlayment is a waterproof barrier that is installed between your roof deck and your shingles. It serves as an added layer of protection for your roof.

Underlayment repairs

Underlayment is an additional protective barrier beneath your shingles. Damage to the underlayment material increases the risk of roof deck damage. Image source: Bostik-Industrial

If you have a few shingles missing, or have cracks in your shingles, water can get through to the underlayment. Over time, continued exposure to water and the elements can begin to breakdown the underlayment material and cause your roof deck to become exposed and damaged as well.

If you notice that you have cracked or missing shingles, you should check the condition of the underlayment material underneath the damaged shingles to see if it needs to be repaired.

2. Ice dams

Cost: Between $400 and $2,000

Having icicles hang from your roof may look nice, but it may actually be harming your home. Icicles form from standing water that begins to drip from your roof on chilly days. This water then freezes and re-melts on your roof's surface.

Ice dams

While icicles may look nice, they might be a sign of ice dams which can cause significant water damage to your roof. Image source: Chicago Daily Herald

This constant melting and freezing of water can lead to ice dams, which will prevent water from flowing off of your roof. Unfortunately, this means you’ll have standing water stuck on your roof’s surface. Not only can this damage your shingles by causing them to rot and weather, but the water can seep underneath your shingles. Then, when the water freezes and expands, the shingles can detach from your roof.

If your roof is damaged by ice dams, you may need to replace your shingles. Luckily, this is an inexpensive repair - as long as it’s a one-time problem.

Ice dams can lead to more serious issues, like weighing down your roof and putting pressure on your roof’s framework. If ice dams form year after year, it’s putting major stress on your roof.

3. Sagging roof

Cost: Between $1,000 and $3,000, depending on the extent of damage

A sagging roof is a more serious type of roof problem. If you notice your roof is sagging, it’s likely because of an undetected leak, increased moisture, or because there is too much weight on your roof. If you aren’t properly maintaining your roof, it could begin to sag.

Sagging roof

Dipping and sagging in your roof could require you to reinforce your roof’s framework. Image source: McGarry and Madison Home Inspection

When a leak persists over a significant period of time, the water can reach your rafters, trusses, or roof sheathing. Rafters and trusses can bend under the weight of your roof when they experience serious water damage. Sheathing will also retain moisture, and sag as well. Depending on the cause of the sagging, you could have to reinforce your roof’s structure by installing more beams, chains, or install new sheathing.

If there is too much weight on your roof, it can begin to sag as well. Additional weight is usually caused by heavy snowfalls. If you live in an area prone to frequent snowfalls, they may begin to put stress on your roof. The best way to prevent your roof from sagging is by cleaning off your roof after a snowstorm, so the weight is relieved. This will also help to prevent ice dam damage.

Should you get a roof repair?

If you find your roof is sagging, shingles are missing, or any telltale signs that you need a roof repair, contact a local roofing company.

A trusted roofer can help diagnose the problem and determine what type of repairs you need. Even if you don’t notice evidence of roof damage, a yearly roof inspection is recommended to help catch small issues before they become big problems.

Keep in mind, the price of your roof repair will vary depending on multiple factors including the roofing material, extent of the damage, the pitch of the roof, labor costs, and any necessary permitting costs. To get the best price for your roof repairs, get quotes from multiple roofing companies.

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