A roof is without a doubt one of the most important components of any residential or commercial building. Your roof not only protects you from external elements but also helps to maintain the exterior appearance of your property. If you want a roof that serves its purpose for many years, then professional roof repairs and maintenance are essential. Therefore, if your roof is not in good shape, you must get it repaired right away.
Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t take their roof repairs very seriously. They are not proactive, which is why they end up replacing their roofs before the end of their lifespan.
Don’t make the same mistake, be proactive and maintain your roof to keep it in top condition for many years. For your convenience, we have compiled this ultimate roof repair guide that will help you keep your roof in top condition for years to come. But first, let’s get our basics straight!
What is Roof Repair?
Roof repair is the process of restoring damaged areas on your roof. If your roof starts developing a leak, the sooner you have the problem addressed and resolved, the less likely you are going to end up damaging other parts of your property. Roof repair involves spotting the problem and then fixing it professionally so that the same problem does not trouble you again.
Roof repair jobs are not the same in size all the time. Depending on the extent and nature of the job, you should decide whether to handle the repairs on your own or trust a professional.
Why repair a roof?
It makes perfect sense to repair a roof that is damaged and has developed a significant leak that needs fixing. However, repairing a roof is also essential when you don’t see anything wrong with your roof. Yes, this is true. You should take some time out to repair your roof even when you think it is in perfect condition. This is because you may not be seeing any visible damage to your roof, but upon closer examination, you might find small problems that might need some fixing.
Many homeowners live by the rule that “if it is not broken, it does not require fixing.” However, you should be proactive and smart and try to fix small problems before they transform into big and expensive solutions. Some small roof problems are not just aesthetic but may also lead to more serious roof issues. For example, a roof that develops black streaks can be an indicator of the presence of mold or mildew. This is because water collects on the roof and leaves behind residue from mosses that grow fast in moist environments.
Inspecting your roof while standing on the ground may allow you to spot big problems with your roof, but for detailed analysis, you will have to get your hands dirty. You will have to climb up the ladder and onto your rood to inspect it properly. It often requires a thorough inspection from both on top of the roof and on the underside of the roof. Sometimes, you may even have to examine the walls and other areas of the home.
It obviously requires years of experience to identify what is wrong with a roof. But a few chapters down this guide, we will share the tips and tricks to finding the problems with your roof and the best ways to repair the damages. However, for now, you must realize that roofs are constantly under attack by weather elements, and small issues may arise even when they are invisible to you at the moment.
The primary reason to repair a roof is to save yourself from spending a fortune on roof replacement. Roof repairs, on average, can cost around $400. However, if you leave them untreated, they would come back bigger and stronger, and a complete roof replacement would cost you a couple of thousand dollars.
Regular maintenance and taking care of minor problems as they come up is the wise approach. Be proactive rather than reactionary. Maintenance will address the value of the roof and impact its lifespan. Asphalt shingle roofs will normally last 15 to 25 years. Not effectively dealing with little problems means you can bet on it being closer to 15 years.
So, you should decide. Whether you are willing to take a gamble and leave your roof on its own, or you want to increase the expected lifespan of your roof and save some money by regularly maintaining and repairing your roof?
Roof repair vs. Roof replacement?
When the possibility of roof replacement arises, many homeowners start questioning whether the problem can be solved via simple roof repairs. Roof replacements are quite expensive, not to mention the hassle of selecting the right materials as well as hiring the right professionals for proper installation.
This is why roof repairs can sometimes be a better option than roof replacement because they are less expensive and they offer a prompt solution. However, sometimes a roof replacement is unavoidable. The following are some signs that your roof might be better off getting a roof replacement.
Your roof is too old.
If your roof is a typical roof, then there is a very high possibility that it is covered in asphalt shingles. If this is the case, then you should keep in mind that asphalt-shingle roofs last around 12 to 15 years. This means that if your roof is around 15 years old, then it is time to start thinking about a complete roof replacement. On the other hand, if your roof is not too old, then a simple roof repair can fix the problems you might be experiencing.
While deciding whether your roof is too old or not, you must make also keep in mind that different roofing materials have different expected lifespans. Metal roofing, for example, might last around 50 years.
Shingles are visibly worn and damaged.
Roofs are constantly exposed to the elements of nature. Over time, this constant exposure can wear down the shingles, giving them a distinctive look as they age. Some may be broken or missing entirely, while others might seem buckled or curled up at their edges.
If you spot granules from your shingle in your gutter, that’s not something that should go ignored. Granules in your gutter could mean that your shingles are being compromised and are in urgent need of roof repair.
Flashing is broken beyond repair.
Roof flashing is a material that keeps moisture out of the joints in your roof. Your roof may have places where flashing is installed, such as the place where the chimney and roof meet. If the flashing has broken or deteriorated beyond repair, then roof water may leak into your attic space. It is important to inspect this area for leaks and perform necessary repairs as soon as possible.
You have ice damming.
The icicles that hang from your roof in the winter are not as pretty as they seem. While an ice dam may look good, it is a sign of some major issues with your roof.
When your roof isn’t properly ventilated, heat in the attic melts snow on top of the roof, and the water slides into gutters where it immediately freezes again due to cold air. This is called an ice dam. This ice dam will then cause the next spell of melted snow to freeze, which will ultimately form icicles along your roofline.
This is a huge issue that can literally pull apart your roof. The best way to treat this is via roof replacement, and make sure to get your roof installed by true professionals this time.
Your roof, ceilings, and walls look discolored.
The sound of water dripping on a roof is one that can never be mistaken for anything else, and if you hear it or notice unexplained stains in the ceiling or walls, then the chances are that there is something seriously wrong with your roof. Check for the roof insulation in your attic. If it’s wet and soggy, there are high chances that you have a leak.
Similarly, you should inspect your roof from the outside. If your roof appears discolored and you see algae staining that won’t clean up, then the best way to restore the curb appeal and functionality of your home is by getting a new roof.
You have uninvited animal guests.
If a sneaky raccoon or squirrel has taken up residence in your attic, it is highly likely that they have found their way into your property through your roof. Raccoon, squirrel, bats, and birds are always on the lookout for a warm and comfortable place, especially during summers. It is very much possible that these uninvited guests have entered through weak spots on the roof. They are not afraid to chew their way into insulation, wood beams, and even electric wiring if given the chance.
If you enter your attic and an animal welcomes you, this means that the damage is already done. Sometimes the damage is beyond repair, making roof replacement the only valid option left.
Your neighbors are getting new roofs.
If your neighbor is getting a new roof, you should definitely consider getting a roof replacement as well. This is because homes in a neighborhood that were built around the same time usually have similar roofing materials, and if your neighbor’s roof is being replaced, your roof replacement is probably due as well.
You are experiencing multiple leaks.
A roof is not only the shingles. The underlayment, flashing, and other components are part of an entire system that protects your house from water damage. A single leak is repairable; however, if you are experiencing multiple leaks, then repairing every single leak is not a logical option. For maximum protection, one should get their roof replaced.
The roof has experienced major damage.
If a storm or hail has damaged your roof, then repairing your roof can turn out to be a costlier as well as more time-consuming option. Considering the size and nature of the damage, a roof replacement might be the best option available to you.
If you notice one or more of the signs mentioned, then you should stop reading the article right now because this roof repair guide does not apply to you. The best option for you is to get your roof replaced right away. On the contrary, if you notice none of these major issues, then a simple roof repair will definitely do the trick!
Is it possible to repair the roof instead of replacing it?
It’s understandable that homeowners prefer fixing their roofs over replacing them completely, and sometimes it is actually possible to repair a part of your roof rather than replace all the damage. Whether you can skip a roof replacement and go for simple repairs depends on how much of your roof has been impacted by and what is the nature of the damage. The following are some of the roof repairs an average homeowner can perform.
If you notice after a storm that a few of your shingles are damaged, broken, sagging, or are missing, then it is possible to just replace the ones in need. If this is not enough and there’s damage beyond what can be fixed with simple repairs, then you should ask your roofing contractor to replace your roof professionally.
Once the damaged shingle has been identified, you will want to find a matching color and replace it with one from your extra supply of roofing material. A good idea might be to take some time and replace any other shingle that may have developed chipping or cracking over time.
Patching damaged sections
If you have noticed a hole in your roof, then it is practical to patch the damage on your own. However, if the degraded or damaged section of your roof is large, then it is best that you let a roofing expert take care of all the repairs in a way that does not compromise the integrity of your roof.
Overlaying is the process of adding a layer of shingles over the existing layer. If your current roof has not been overlaid, then you should consider doing it since it is a great way to prepare your roof for a storm. Overlaying is also allowable by most local building codes.
Overlaying is a temporary fix, and it is not recommended, especially if you are looking for a more permanent solution. This is because the damage still lies underneath the new layer, and if left untreated, the damage could worsen over time. Apart from this, you will also have to pay more in time and labor costs when you finally decide to replace your roof since the roofers will now have to remove two layers of shingles instead of one.
Top causes of roof leaks and other damage
Water can be your worst enemy if you are dealing with a damaged roof. A constantly leaking roof can cause a lot of damage and frustration. Roof leaks are a serious inconvenience. Not only can they ruin insulation and damage interior walls and ceilings, but they may also become a breeding ground for mold.
Before you learn how to repair your leaky roof professionally, you must understand why a roof leaks. So, we have listed down some of the most common culprits that cause your roof to leak.
Roofing materials that are typically used on residential roofs will not last forever. Materials like asphalt shingles can lose their strength and functionality over time. They constantly expand and contract due to the change in temperatures, and this causes them to crack. Roofs are also exposed to ultraviolet rays of the say, and as a result, they age faster than expected.
Compromised flashing is another common cause of a leaky roof. Flashing is basically thin strips of metal that are installed around chimneys and windows in order to protect your home from water intrusion.
The flashing is the most important part of weatherproofing your roof, so it needs to be sealed all around. Even if you install everything correctly and correctly position it, there’s a chance for rust or cracks. The flashing on your roof is often compromised by corrosion or rust. This can lead to water intrusion and expensive repairs.
Loose or Missing Shingles
If you discover a shingle in your backyard, chances are the next rain will leak into your home. If you are missing shingles or they are cracked, it means the roof has been compromised.
Roof holes can be sneaky. You wouldn’t know that they exist until you finally decide to inspect your roof. They could have been leftover from a former antenna mounting bracket, or an animal, or perhaps a recent storm caused it. Whatever the reason is, this hole can be a reason for water penetration if left untreated.
Punctures, Cracks, and Tears
Whether you have a tile roof or a shingle roof, your roof is vulnerable to harsh weather conditions. The most common problem is blisters and raised ridges that cause cracks in your roofs. If the roof is badly ripped or punctured, then these will also need to be repaired as soon as possible before they cause more damage to your roof.
If you want your gutters to work as they’re supposed to, it’s important that the water is able to travel away from them. If there are any obstructions in the way of this process, then bad things will happen! Make sure that the gutters are not too gummed up with junk, or else the water will not flow away efficiently and can cause serious damage to your property.
What’s not to love about a skylight? They can instantly transform any room or interior space! But if your installation wasn’t done right, it could end up being more of an issue than you bargained for. Leaks are notorious around poorly fitted windows. Apart from this, the rubber seals surrounding the glass can also dry out over time which can literally invite water to enter your property.
Wind and Hail
Roofs are the most prone section of any building to climatic factors like strong winds, hail storms, and heavy rainfalls. All these conditions damage the roof both cosmetically and functionally as they can cause broken edges or small punctures that may result in a severe condition over time if not fixed soon enough. It is advisable to check for granules on your shingles after an event such as a windy storm with accompanying hail just so you know how much work needs to be done sooner rather than later – whenever it comes up again!
How does weather affect the life of a roof?
Roofs are always being impacted by the elements, but your roof will be more susceptible to these issues during certain times of the year. Here are some of the common weather-related issues that you must keep an eye out for in order to save yourself a lot of money down the line.
Sun is great for your health, but it can be extremely troubling for your roof. The summer heat can be tough on roofs and can lead to severe roof damage. Excessive heat can cause wear and tear. This degradation gets accelerated, especially if the ceiling is painted with dark colors because dark colors absorb more heat.
According to a recent study it was found that a poorly ventilated attic’s temperature can rise up to 140°F on a 90°F day. Constant heat over time can cause your roofing materials to degrade. Strong UV rays can also severely damage your shingles, thus reducing their expected lifespan.
If you want to save your roof from further damage during summers, it is important that the roofing materials you use are able to withstand UV rays. You can also apply UV-resistant coatings on your roofing materials in order to prevent them from cracking during summers.
In the winter, roofing materials can freeze and then expand. This expansion leads to cracks in roof tiles or shingles, which causes a leaky roof. Furthermore, you should also be aware of the potential damage the weight of the snow and ice can cause to your roof. When compared to dry and fluffy snow, wet snow is quite heavy. The weight of wet snow is a serious concern which is why it should be removed promptly and thoroughly.
The formation of ice dams is yet another problem that you must worry about during the winter season. Ice dams can form on your roof when you don’t have the proper ventilation in your attic. This happens because the snow that melts from indoor heating will refreeze at the edges of roofs – leading to icicles forming along the edge of a home or building’s roofline.
Process of roof repair
When you notice new water stains appearing on your walls and ceilings, or you suddenly start hearing strange water dripping sounds, your natural instinct might be to pick up a bucket and start searching for a possible leak. Obviously, roof replacement would be the last thing on your mind, given how replacing a roof could cost thousands of dollars. It’s a good thing roof repair is much more affordable than roof replacement. This is why the majority of homeowners who are on a budget prefer going for roof repairs.
A fallen tree branch or a leak does not always mean that it is serious damage. Minor roof damage can be easily be fixed with roof repairs. Sometimes all you have to do is locate and replace a few shingles. According to a recent study, the average roofing repair costs about $800, and this is a lot more affordable than a roof replacement that could cost homeowners more than $7000 on average.
Working on a roof is very dangerous and must not be taken lightly. If you are not confident and comfortable climbing up the ladder to perform the necessary repairs, then you can always contact a roofing contractor who would be happy to do the repairs on your behalf. However, if you have finally decided to take matters into your own hands, then the following guide can help you repair your roof more effectively.
Roof repairs start with a thorough visual inspection
Were you just hit with the tell-tale signs of a leaky roof? The drywall is stained and wet. Or water is making its way through your ceiling and dripping onto whatever lies beneath. That’s definitely an issue, but you shouldn’t panic and instead prepare yourself for a visual inspection of your roof.
Regardless of the roofing materials used on your roof, roof repairs start with a thorough visual inspection. Start by visually inspecting your roof from the ground. Don’t be ashamed of using binoculars as well. Or you can always climb up a ladder and onto your roof to identify any problem areas or leaks. Check for cracked shingles as well as places where the plywood has buckled or shifted so that water can seep through it easily.
Your roof protects you from the elements, which is why leaks should be fixed immediately before it does any more damage.
Finding a Roof Leak
When you look at the area of your ceiling from where the water is leaking, you should know that it is not always where the roof is damaged. Determining where the leak is can be quite confusing, but you can be sure of one thing that the leak is definitely above the entry point. Water usually finds an opening such as a missing or cracked shingle or a damaged flashing and then runs downhill.
Once the water has penetrated through the roofing materials, the next thing it attacks is the top of the ceiling drywall. Water will soak the drywall until it has done enough damage that allows it to drip down on whatever lies beneath. Now that you know the anatomy of roof leaks, here are some tips that will help you find and locate a roof leak more accurately:
- Although leak repairs should begin from the outside, the best way to locate a leak is to take a look at the entry point, typically your ceiling.
- Measure the exact coordinates of the water’s entry point and take the measurements to the top of your roof.
- This location should be the starting point of your search for the damage.
- If you are lucky, you shall find the damage right above the entry point. The damage may a cracked or missing shingle.
- If you do not find the damage right above the water’s entry point, then you should carefully continue your search towards the slope. Make sure that you are examining each and every shingle for cracks and tears.
- Don’t forget to examine vent pipe boots for cracks and damage.
In most cases, you will be able to successfully locate the damage. While one may want to patch up their own leaky ceiling themselves so they save money or avoid having someone else work around their property, sometimes repairs can be tricky and complex, and to avoid further complications, you should trust a professional roofer to take care of all your roof repair needs.
Repairing the leak
Once the leak has been located, the next step is to prepare yourself for the repairs. However, the process of roof repair may vary depending on the type and nature of the damage. To make things simpler, we have discussed some common roof damage scenarios and the best ways to deal with them.
Scenario #1: If the leak is caused by damaged shingles
Replacing Damaged Asphalt Shingles
The best long-term roof repair is always to replace rather than fix damaged shingles. Hopefully, you will have leftover shingles from when your roof was originally installed. Don’t worry. If you do not have leftover shingles, then you can always grab one of the broken ones and take it to the home improvement store. This way, you will be better able to match the best roofing material. Trust the top brands or whatever the store person recommends. Most of the lines of shingles available in stores are being sold for more than a decade, and you will not have any trouble with the quality of the material.
Shingles are being sold in bundles of about 28 shingles that cover approximately 33 square feet. A bundle of shingles can easily cost somewhere between $25-$75, depending on the quality.
Once you have bought the shingles, the next thing you will need from the home improvement store is roofing nails. Roofing nails are approximately 1.25″ long, and a box can cost you around $5-$10. A single box of roofing nails should be enough to carry out the necessary repairs. Additionally, you might also need a flat prybar that can also cost around $5-$10, along with a roofing hammer that should cost you about $25 to $45.
Now that you have all the necessary tools and materials, you can begin the process of replacing damaged asphalt shingles with new ones. Just follow the simple steps mentioned below, and you will be good to go:
- To repair a leaky shingle, insert your prybar beneath the shingle and above the damaged area. Pry open each damaged shingle one at a time using the flat end of the prybar.
- This will expose the top nails. Now you can raise the shingles using the prybar and then pull them out using the claw on the hammer.
- The next step is to slip the replacement shingle into place.
- Align the replacement shingle with the shingles around it and then secure it with at least four nails.
- Repeat this process with every damaged shingle until you there are absolutely no cracked, damaged, or missing shingles on your roof.
Repairing a shingle without replacing it
Whether a tree branch has fallen on top of your roof or your house was struck by lightning during a recent storm, if your roof has a cracked shingle or two, you can always repair them without having to replace them.
For this purpose, you will require a tube of roofing sealant along with a caulk gun. This combination of tools and roofing materials will cost around $25 to $55, depending on the quality of the products.
Once you have bought the materials mentioned above, you are ready to perform the necessary repairs. Follow these simple steps for the best results.
- The first thing you should do is clean the damaged area of the roof. Remove any debris or dirt that may have accumulated on top of it.
- While doing the cleaning, make sure to collect some shingle granules either from the damaged area or from the gutter. We will use the granules in the last step.
- Once you have cleaned the area, you can gently lift the damaged shingle and apply the sealant to the crack from underneath.
- Gently place the shingle where it belongs on the roof.
- Now apply the sealant to the crack from the top side.
- Now for the last step, you should sprinkle the shingle granules onto the sealant in order to perfectly hide your roof repair.
Repairing curled or cupped shingles
Older shingles tend to curl or cup at the edges. This can be dangerous as it can literally invite rainwater into your property. Although it is quite simple to repair this issue, it will fix the problem temporarily. This is because a curled or cupped shingle is a sign that the rest of the shingles are also on their way to being curled. If you notice a curled shingle, you should definitely think about a complete replacement rather than repair. However, if it’s a rainy season and you need a temporary solution, then we can help you perform repairs on your cupped shingles.
In order to repair your cupped shingles, all you have to do is apply a quarter-sized dab of sealant on the cupped corners and edges. After the roofing sealant is applied, you should firmly press the shingle on the roof.
The bottom line is that repairing curled or cupped shingles is possible, but it is not effective in the long run. Always consider replacing your cupped shingles rather than repairing them.
A few vs. many shingles
Roofs can be very expensive and time-consuming to repair, so it is best not to take chances with your roof. When a couple of shingles are damaged, it makes perfect sense to repair them. On the other hand, if more than a few shingles are damaged due to a storm or a fallen tree branch, then you should consider getting your roof replaced.
In other words, if you find that more than 25% to 50% of the shingles are damaged on your roof, then investing in a complete replacement might save you money and have a much quicker turnaround period while protecting against leaks or further damage for years down the line.
Scenario #2: If the leak is caused by damaged flashing
As a homeowner, you want to be aware of the flashing around your chimneys and skylights. Flashing is basically a material made from metal or plastic sheeting that is wrapped around chimneys and skylights. Over time flashing can get damaged and cracked, or sometimes they become loose because they were not installed properly. Whatever the case is, if your flashing is not doing what it is supposed to do, your home will be at high risk of roof leaks and water damages.
A flashing installed around skylights, windows, or chimneys should be inspected as they could develop cracks and rust due to various weather elements. Sometimes the sealant used with flashing and around the skylights gets cracked or worn out, which can ultimately result in a leak. Other times you might have to remove the entre flashing with new flashing.
If the flashing sealant is all worn out, the repair could be as simple as purchasing a fresh tube of flashing sealant for around $6 to $10 and gently applying the tube around the areas where the old sealant was applied.
On the other hand, if your entire flashing is cracked or damaged, the cost of removing and replacing old flashing with new flashing could easily be several hundred dollars per major penetration. The cost depends on the size of the job, the area where the flashing is being installed, as well as the type of materials used.
While it may be tempting to use caulking and roof cement in combating faulty flashing, this would only serve as a temporary solution for situations where the need of replacing the whole roof is imminent.
Scenario #3: If the leak is caused by holes or punctures
There are countless things that can cause a hole and a puncture on your roof. Maybe your home was struck by a bolt of lightning that created a hole in your roof. Or perhaps a huge branch of a tree crashing on top of your roof was a cause of a hole. Or maybe an animal chewed its way into your home in search of a warm and dry place during winters. Whatever the cause is behind the hole on your roof, it is entirely possible to repair it.
You may be tempted to fill the hole using cement or seal it up with roofing caulk. A temporary fix for a leaky roof is not going to work. That’s because moisture will seep through and cause larger problems down the line.
The right way to repair a hole or puncture involves more complex steps like reframing part of the roof itself. This is why it is better to let experts handle this type of repair.
After your roofing contractors have done any necessary reframing, they will install a thick layer of sheathing, which will be followed by felt paper and shingles. Your roofing company should charge somewhere around $400 to $800 that should include both labor and materials.
Scenario #4: If the leak is caused by a damaged vent boot
Just like flashing, vent boot seals the area around your vents in order to prevent moisture from coming in. If your vent boots are damaged, they can easily become a source of the leak.
The process of repairing a damaged vent boot is quite simple and straightforward. All you have to do is remove and replace the vent boot. To do this more properly, you will have to lift away the surrounding materials. The cost of this useful repair could range from $10 to $20.
Scenario #5: If the leak is caused by corroded vertical slits
The slit between your roof’s tiles is a vulnerable area that can easily corrode due to weather elements. As water runs through these spaces, the underlying materials of your home become more exposed. This can easily result in roof leaks.
If you are dealing with corroded vertical slits, you can easily repair them by replacing the corroded shingles with new ones. A bundle of shingles can easily cost somewhere between $25-$75, depending on the quality.
What are major and minor repairs?
Now that we know the process of repairing, starting from inspecting the roof and spotting the problem to actually performing the repairs, let’s divide the roof-related issues into two categories: minor and major. We will indicate if the problems are minor or major and what parts of the roof they affect.
In roof repair, you should know the difference between minor and major roof repairs. Minor roof repairs are relatively easy to identify and fix. It does not matter if you have the roofing skills and expertise or not, you can easily perform these types of repairs. On the other hand, roof repairs that are major in nature require roofing skills and expertise, and it can be really challenging for an amateur to fix these problems.
The purpose of this categorization is to give you an idea about the scale and nature of the repairs so that you can make a better-informed decision about whether to do the repairs on your own or hire a professional.
Leaking is without a doubt one of the most common roof-related problems homeowners experience. Leaks can occur in countless ways. However, it is very rare that your roof has a hole from the outside to the inside that you can see through. The most common reasons for a leak include problematic flashing or damaged and missing shingles.
The following are some of the common causes of a leaky roof that require minor repairs only.
Damaged flashing around the chimney
If your chimney has been leaking water for some time, then it might be due to corrosion or cracking in the flashing. If so, this is a significantly minor repair, assuming that the chimney itself is in top condition. You can easily fix this problem by re-sealing the joints using some kind of roofing sealant or silicone caulk.
Damaged or missing shingles
Leaks are also caused by damaged or missing shingles. If a few of your shingles are missing, cracked, or worn out, then this is a minor repair, and you can easily avoid any potential leaks by replacing the old or missing shingles with new ones.
Damaged flashing around vents
Flashing is installed around all types of roof fixtures. Sealing or flashing around vents are prone to damage which can ultimately result in a leak. When your vents are in good shape, and just the flashing is causing the leak, then you can easily perform the repairs by applying roofing sealant around the joints. If you know how to re-seal the flashing, this job can be categorized as a minor repair.
Cracks in sealing material used around skylights
Skylights can allow water to be trapped along the edges of its sealing material, which can lead to cracking and corrosion. If just the sealing material is cracked or worn out, then it is a minor repair.
Many problems with damaged shingles and flashing call for minor repairs unless the damage is affecting a large portion of the roof. If it is affecting the entire roof as well as your home’s walls or ceilings, then you may have more serious issues that need professional assistance. Some of the common causes of a leaky roof that require major repairs are:
Roof valleys are gutter-like areas on the roof, and their core purpose is to transport water to drainpipes. Roof valleys are usually lined with metal or vinyl strips. Damage to your roof valleys can result in a leak. This job could become a major repair as you will not only have to fix the roof valleys, but you will also have to replace nearby shingles.
The icicles dangling off the side of your roof are beautiful, but they represent a problem. Fixing this issue is not easy, and sometimes the only solution left is an entire roof replacement.
A relatively new and durable roof can handle ice damming. But an older roof may not be able to handle it, and it can easily result in bigger problems.
Replacing multiple shingles
Roofing materials have an expected lifespan. If your shingles have crossed their expected lifespan, then you will have to replace them all. This means that a roof replacement is well overdue. Replacing a few damaged shingles can be categorized as a minor repair, but when the damaged area encompasses your entire roof, then it becomes major.
Roof Repair Cost
When homeowners are deciding whether to repair their roof or not, they are basically calculating whether the cost of the roof repair is worth doing, or it is better to replace the entire roof.
Our goal is to share all the information you need to carry out the roof repair, this includes the cost factor as well. Before we discuss the costs associated with different roof problems, it is important to understand that not all roofs are the same. This is why in order to give you a general idea, we are using a medium-sized home that is around 1,500 sq. ft. as an example.
Costs associated with common roof-related problems
Let’s begin by giving you a ballpark figure for different types of roof repairs. The expected cost of a typical roofing repair will lie somewhere in the following range:
- Minor repairs: $150 to $400
- Moderate repairs: $400 to $1,200
- Major repairs: $1,200 to $3,500
This also means that roof repairs cost $650 to $850 on average. However, if your roof repair cost is going beyond $3,500, then it is better for you to go for an entire roof replacement. The cost of removing your current roof and replacing it with a new one can cost $7,500 on average.
When we talk about minor repairs like replacing a few shingles or sealing a leak, then the cost will be comparatively low. You can finish the job in less than $150, and this cost includes all the necessary materials and tools you will need to complete the job.
On the other hand, if you are replacing all shingles on a particular section of your roof, the cost can rise quickly. Since it is a moderate-major repair, you can expect to spend $400 to $3500 on materials and tools.
When it comes to roof repair, avoid trying roofing jobs that are beyond your skills and expertise. You can save a lot of money if you hire professionals for the job instead.
Cost based on the roofing materials
There are many variables that can make your roof repair cost vary from the rest. One of these variables is the roofing material used on your property. Different roofing materials have different problems, thus their repair cost may vary as well.
In general, asphalt shingles is one of the most commonly used roofing material in the world. Asphalt shingles, when compared to other roofing materials, are the cheapest to replace. Typically, asphalt shingles cost somewhere between $550 to $1,500 to replace or repair a 10×10 sq ft roof section. The price may increase or decrease depending on the nature and complexity of the repair.
When we talk about metal roofs, they cost around $550 to $2,000 on average. Metal roof repair includes fixing loose seams as well as fixing the improper installation.
Cedar shingles or wood shakes suffering from moss build-up or insect attacks can cost $500 to $1,200 to repair.
If you have a flat or single-ply roof that is suffering from minor sagging or other kinds of water damage, then the necessary repairs could cost somewhere between $400 to $1,200.
Concrete, clay, and slate tiles are quite expensive to repair. To repair improper installation or any other kind of minor damage, you can expect to spend somewhere between $550 to $2,500 on average.
Costs associated with roof fixtures
Chimneys, vents, and skylights are valuable features on your roof. Not only do they offer beautiful aesthetics for your home, but they also help with ventilation by allowing air to escape in the event of an emergency like a fire or high winds. Unfortunately, these fixtures can be very costly when it comes time to repair them from leaks that occur over time due to age or weather conditions, such as ice dams formed during snowstorms.
It is not easy to perform repairs on and around these fixtures. You will have to fix the flashing installed around these fixtures. You will also have to remove and replace shingles installed around them. Apart from this, you will also need roofing sealant and other materials and tools to finish the job properly. In general, the cost of repairing leaks in your chimneys, vents, and skylights can start from $450 and can quickly go up to $1000.
The best way to fix a leaky skylight is by re-sealing it using a silicone seal. If the damage isn’t too bad, this will solve your problem, and you can go on living in peace without having to worry about water getting inside of your home anymore. However, if your skylight is suffering from major damages, then these fixes won’t work. You will then have to either reflash the entire skylight, or you will have to buy a new one.
A complete skylight reflashing or a complete skylight replacement will cost somewhere between $1,500 to $3,500. All the old shingles around the skylight will need to be removed, and then your old skylight will be either reflashed or replaced. Once that is done, the area around your skylight will be prepared in order to welcome new shingles.
Damage to flashing in roof valleys means that you will have to remove shingles around it, repair or replace the flashing, and then re-installing the shingles. This is another major repair that can easily cost anywhere between $500-$1,500 depending on how long the valley is as well as other factors such as the slope of the roof and the number of shingles removed.
If your roof has multiple fixtures that are in need of repairs, then the costs can rise very quickly. Not to mention the hassle of repairing every single one of the fixtures. This is why hiring a roofing contractor can be a better option. A contractor generally reduces their rate if there are multiple problems with your roof. The roofing contractor can also offer you a full roof evaluation to find any other potential problems with your roof. In the long run, this will save you from paying for future repairs that may be needed. Roof inspections are usually priced at $150-$250 for an average size roof (3000 sq ft).
Hire a Professional Vs. Do-it-Yourself
Go with a Pro
If you are an amateur repairing your roof, you might be able to finish the job faster than a professional, but there is a huge possibility that you might have missed some of the important things that actually needed some repairing.
On the other hand, when a professional roofer does the roofing repair, they not only cover up and fix what’s broken but also make sure that all of your roof is in good condition. They do this by properly assessing the condition of the entire roof. Not just that, but they also conduct a thorough examination of your house’s exterior walls and its foundation.
Why hire a professional roofer?
The following are some other reasons why you must only trust a professional.
- Value for money
Many homeowners will only choose an option where they are saving money. However, it is important for them to understand the difference between price and value for money. A roofing repair that is done by an amateur will definitely save you some money, but will it provide you a value for money?
Since your roof is your first line of defense against weather elements, you should not cut corners when deciding to repair it. Instead, you should do everything possible to make sure that your roof continues to protect you, your family, and your belongings for years to come.
No matter how tempting it is to perform the repairs on your own and save some money, it might not be best for your roof. A low-cost, quick fix may not work when your roof is in need of moderate to major repairs. This is why you must only trust a professional. A professional roofer might cost you some extra money, but it will definitely provide value for money.
If you’re considering getting your roof repaired, it’s important to know that there is a cost-saving feature of hiring professional contractors. They provide warranties on their work for the duration they specify, which can be up to two years. In contrast, if anything goes wrong with the repair as a result of your inexperience or carelessness, then all bets are off. That means not only do repairs get more expensive and time-consuming, but you will also have to deal with the hassle of major roof repairs, or sometimes a complete roof replacement.
- Licensed and insured
You should trust a professional roofing company not just because they say they have the right skills and expertise but because they have a proper license that confirms their claims. A professional roofing company is properly licensed and authorized to perform roofing services by law.
Apart from this, a professional roofing company is also insured. This means that if anything goes wrong with your roof, then you have the right to claim compensation from them. With this insurance, you will stay protected if somehow the roofers end up damaging themselves or your property during the course of your roofing project.
You might think it’s a good idea to fix your roof on your own, but you risk hurting yourself. A professional team will make sure that they do the work in a safe and professional manner. You should hire professionals because not only does their job include safety precautions like ladders but also ensuring no harm comes to anything inside or outside of the home – including you.
- Quality Materials
A professional roofer’s expertise lies in the quality of materials and installation. They have the knowledge to choose the best-quality goods that will last, ensuring your investment is worthwhile. Furthermore, they know all about what makes a job shine. Their professionalism goes beyond just installing material on top of another. Professional roofers will also conduct research to find out which type of products best suit your needs so there won’t be any regrets after their work has been completed.
- Aesthetics are important too.
A professional roofer’s job is not just about installing or repairing shingles, it’s also about making sure that the roof looks aesthetically appealing. When the repair job is done professionally, those who come to view your house will see and admire the value in what has been done. This will definitely result in a higher price for your home, and more people interested in buying it.
- Professional advice and recommendations
When you work with a roofing professional, they can provide more helpful advice on how to maximize the performance of your roof. Depending on what type of installation or repair is needed for your specific needs, their suggestions will help ensure that you get exactly the outcome that satisfies all your needs.
Tips on hiring the best professional roofer
There are a number of qualities to look for in a professional roofer, with the most important being:
- Experience: One of the first things you need to check about a professional roofer is their experience. You want to make sure that they have been in the business for a long time. This will give you an idea of whether they can truly deliver what they advertise.
- Membership: You must also make sure that your roofer has memberships or associations with professional roofing organizations like NRCA.
- Licensing/warranty/insurance: The majority of professionals have licenses, roofing warranties, and insurance. This is so important because if something goes wrong with the roofing job, you will have some type of recourse to get compensated for any damages.
- Customer reviews: Make sure to visit their websites and search for customer testimonials. This will give you an idea of what their customers have to say about their service. Choose the roofing company that has more favorable responses.
You can easily find this information from their official website; if not, then don’t be afraid to ask. It is your right to know all about the company that you wish to hire. Make sure that you have shortlisted at least 3 to 5 roofing companies. It is always best to invite multiple quotes for a job. Once you have finalized a roofing company, make sure to schedule an inspection appointment. Given how thorough these inspections are, you can expect the company to charge a small fee as an inspection cost.
The Do-It-Yourself Approach
These days, you don’t have to be a professional roofer in order to fix your own leaky roof. If it’s just one or two damaged shingles that need replacing or if you are going to apply some roof sealant over an area of leaking water, then fixing this sort of thing yourself might not seem like too much trouble at all.
Sometimes a few of your shingles are loose, missing, or simply curling up. Maybe a couple of them are cracked. If the damage is limited to only a few of the shingles, then this means that it is a minor repair job that even an amateur can handle. Of course, we are assuming that the slope of your roof is not too steep and you are comfortable climbing up the ladder in order to repair the roof yourself.
If you have recently remodeled your home, then you might have some leftover shingles or other materials stored somewhere in the attic. It can save you hundreds on repair costs and help you avoid paying someone else for their time by doing something yourself. However, all of these problems could signal something big. This is why it is always a good idea to ask a professional roofer to take a thorough look at your roof. A professional eye can spot problems with your roof that you might not be able to see.
We have already discussed the costs you can expect to pay for different roofing materials and tools. And if you already have the leftover materials, then it is icing on the cake. But you must understand that repairing a roof professionally and safely requires skills, expertise, and years of training and experience.
Have a look at the pros and cons of choosing the DIY approach.
Pros of DIY Roofing:
- You can save money
Many homeowners find the DIY method a lot helpful and cost-effective. This is true, especially if the repair job is as small as repairing or replacing a couple of shingles. If you have the tools, materials, and stamina to take matters into your own hands, then maybe you should.
- You can do the work according to your schedule.
Some professional roofers can take weeks to get back to you. The DIY method can help you avoid frustrating delays when it comes to roofing. You’re able to work on your own schedule, so nothing is standing in the way of getting things done as quickly or as slowly as you like.
Cons of DIY Roofing:
- It requires a long-term commitment
Performing major repairs on your roof demands a long-term commitment. Considering how much time it would take to do this work on your own, hiring a professional could make more sense.
- Safety issues
Climbing up the ladder and work on a roof with steep slopes is a dangerous job. When you’re considering a roofing project, don’t forget to consider your safety. Thousands die or injure themselves from falling from their roofs or while working on them because they are not protected properly. It is a dangerous job, and it is best for everyone to let the professionals take care of it for you.
- Roofing tools can be expensive.
If you’re thinking about saving money by doing your own roofing job, think again. Tools are expensive, and, in some cases, they will cost a lot more than hiring someone to finish the work for you. Not only that but if you don’t already have them, then they may never be used after this one project is complete.
- It demands physical strength.
Climbing up a ladder with heavy gear and shingles is no easy task. And doing all this physically demanding work for hours under the hot sun presents risks, like dehydration or even heat stroke. But professionals are trained to handle these intense challenges.
- No warranty
If you finally decide to go down the DIY road, you can say goodbye to warranties. Your DIY roof repairs will definitely not have any warranty. If anything goes wrong or causes more problems due to your inexperience, then you will have to deal with it on your own. On the other hand, a professional roofing contractor always offers warranties on the repairs they perform.
- It may lead to other problems.
The DIY approach to fixing a problem might be tempting because it looks like the most cost-effective option. But if your problems are more serious than you realize, then this could actually make them worse rather than better and end up costing you even more in due time. Sometimes you are merely putting a patch to cover a deeper problem that your untrained eyes cannot spot. This can lead to bigger and more expensive roofing problems.
If you finally decide to choose the DIY approach, then at the very least, you should consider hiring a professional for a general inspection before or after your repair job. This way, you can rest assured that there are no hidden issues with your roof.
Maintaining your roof
The first step towards keeping your roof in great condition is knowing exactly what to look for whenever you conduct a visual inspection of your roof. You should check the shingles around and see if any of them have come loose or fallen off, as well as checking the compound below for any that may be lying there.
Apart from this, you should also check whether the nails attached to the shingles are loose. To see this, you will have to climb on your roof. A visual inspection from the ground will not do the job.
Make sure to inspect the flashing, especially in areas where your roof fixtures and roof meets. This is the point that causes leaks and water damage. If you notice any missing caulk, rusting metal, or a crack, then it is a sign of damage.
Did you know that debris accumulation on the roof can prevent the water from draining properly? Your roof can quickly become a breeding ground for pests and rodents. Apart from this, debris accumulation can even cause your tiles and shingles to rot, which can significantly reduce their expected lifespan. Therefore, you should always climb up your roof once in a while to remove any debris you see. This simple maintenance task can prevent potential damage and increase the overall lifespan of your roof.
Clean the gutters
If you notice that your gutters are not properly draining water, then it means that it has accumulated some debris that is not allowing the water to drain. This is why you should inspect your gutters and clean them on a regular basis. Failing to do so can risk serious damages to the structural integrity of your property.
Cleaning gutters can be a painful task, but it’s less expensive to clean them than have roof repairs. Cleaning your gutter pipes also helps prevent pests and rodents from invading the home. So don’t wait until you need costly repairs or pest infestation.
Check for signs of leaks and water damage.
As a homeowner, you should know how to identify a possible leak. An attic is a place you should always inspect if your home has water damage. Check for discoloration or staining on the ceiling and walls, which could be an indicator of leakages in the roof.
While water damage may seem harmless, it can lead to other issues like bugs and rodent infestation. Save yourself from such an inconvenience and repair the leaks as soon as you see them.
Get Rid of Moss
Moss is an invasive roof pest that can cause significant damage to the roof membrane. Moss will grow on roof surfaces with a lot of moisture, humidity, and sunlight. If you notice signs of moss growth, it is important to take action quickly in order to avoid roof leaks.
Trim Overhanging Branches
Tree trimming is one of the best ways you can make sure that your roof remains well-maintained and in good health. Ensure your roof is free of leaves and debris by trimming trees near the exterior. Tree branches and leaves on your roof can erode your shingles, especially in high winds. This can be catastrophic for the health of your roofing material.
Overhanging branches will also provide squirrels and other rodents easy access to your roof. This is why it is important to make sure that the branches are at least 10 feet away from your roof.
Prevent Ice Dams
As we already learned that the icicles that hang from your roof in the winter are not as pretty as they seem. Ice damming is a sign of some major issues with your roof. The best way to prevent ice dams is by rechecking your insulation and ventilation system. In winters, make sure that your attic remains as cool as the weather outside in order to keep ice dams from forming.
Roof repair does not need to be difficult or expensive. This blog post should arm you with the knowledge and understanding of roofing repairs so that your next roof issue is a much less stressful experience than it could have been otherwise. If you think you have the skills, time, patience, and stamina to do the job, then maybe you should.
With that said, you must also understand the safety issues associated with climbing the roof to repair the roof on your own.
Sometimes, roof repair can be a source of needless hassle. Therefore, it is always better to let the professionals do the job for you. An added benefit of hiring a professional is that they have the experience to spot the problems that your eyes are not trained to spot. Not only that, but they can also analyze if your roof needs a complete replacement or not.
If you think you can handle the job on your own, then at least consider hiring a professional for a general inspection before or after you have finished your repair job. This way, you can rest assured that there are no hidden issues with your roof.
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