How Much Does It Cost to Repair a Leaky Roof?

A strategically placed bucket to catch drips may be an effective leaking roof repair for the short term, but the damage could soon shift from a simple repair to requiring a total replacement.

It doesn’t take a home improvement expert to know that a leaking roof is a problem and the steadfast approach of “do nothing and everything will take care of itself”, unfortunately doesn’t apply in this situation. 😉

When water is dripping through your ceiling it means that the protective barrier of your roof has been compromised. This usually results from shingles that have blown off in extreme winds, worn-out or failed roof flashing that has allowed rainwater to seep behind, or a roof membrane puncture (or roof seams becoming unglued / coming apart) that is opening an unwanted access point to rainwater.

When water has made its way to your ceiling however, it means it has already passed the plywood sheathing under the roof, the insulation in your attic, the sheetrock on your walls, etc. Nobody wants to pay for a roof repair – but it sure is less expensive than sheathing, insulation, drywall, and flooring replacement! 😉

As you can probably imagine, many homeowners despise paying for a new roof because it offers little enjoyable value as a project. Well, besides avoiding getting wet, not having the wood in your house rot, fending off mold and mildew growth, providing energy efficiency, etc.

Average Cost To Install a new Roof Typical Range: $4,593 - $7,479
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Did you know? Many homeowners don’t perceive their roofs as something that can offer a quality of living upgrade, like a new hot tub or a big screen TV would. This is why so many re-roofing projects get put off until the very last minute! 😉

Replacement procrastination is one thing; however, repairs should be addressed immediately. If you know your roof is nearing the end of its life cycle, you can budget for a new one – but repairs might strike when least expected. Here is a cost guide on repairs, what they consist of, and what you can expect to pay to get back ‘in the dry’.

Average Roof Repair Costs

The national average cost most consumers reported paying for a minor roof repair was between $350 to $1,100, or about $750 on average for a minor roof repair project.

Major repairs, however, can easily cost $3,000 or more.

As expected, some repairs can cost a bit lower than the average, requiring only a simple application of caulk or roof cement to seal the source of a leak.

On the other hand, some roofs can be so badly damaged by storm winds or hail that they require a complete replacement, which could cost as much as $9,000 – $15,000 or more, depending on the size and type of roof, local real estate values, and other variables.

The size of the total roof area to be repaired/replaced will dictate how much the repair will cost. Other variables include roof accessibility and pitch, the choice of replacement material, and the amount of labor required based on the scope of the problem.

  • Roof Size – As long as problems are limited to a small area, roof size doesn’t necessarily affect repair costs. If wind, rot, and other issues attack a whole side of the roof however the higher the prices.
  • Roof Pitch – Roof access will increase the costs of the labor required to repair the roof. Quite simply put, work goes slower on a high, steep roof and requires harnesses, the rental of special equipment, and often times, a larger workforce to lessen the points between crew on the roof, middlemen, ground workers, etc. Some roofing crews will bid up to double their hourly rate ($50-$100 per hour normally) for very steep and difficult roofs, almost as a way to ‘hope’ not to get the job.
  • Materials and Labor – Professional labor and materials are going to be your two major cost points in a roof repair (with the possibility of building permits (up to $400), disposal fees ($200 min for 60ft3), and a few other miscellaneous line items). Just as material costs will dictate how much a new roof installation is going to cost, the same logic applies to repairs, with repairs generally costing more on a per square foot basis. If you need to purchase replacement materials, it can cost: asphalt ($100-$250 per square), metal ($250-$650 per square), wood ($350-$450 per square), tile ($300 to $850 per square depending on concrete or clay), slate ($550-$1,100+ per square).
  • Scope of Work – You’ll also need to know the scope of the work if it involves simply replacing a few shingles and applying caulk or replacing rotted plywood sheathing ($25-$50 per sheet) and other repairs.

Types of Commonly Occurring Roofing Problems

Finding your leak is one thing, determining what has caused the leak and evaluating for the proper solution is another. Some of the problems that can occur across different roofing material types include:

  • Asphalt Shingles – as asphalt shingles wear over the years of weather exposure, the granules start to erode, and the edges of the pieces start to curl. High winds can also rip asphalt shingles from the substrate, especially if they were fastened too high above the nailing strip. When an asphalt roof fails due to age and wear, there are generally no repair options besides a complete replacement. When sections of the loose or damages shingles blow off or become badly damaged due to storm winds or hail, replacement costs about $450 to $800 per square or more, depending on the size of the area (the smaller the area the higher the costs per square foot will be).
  • Metal Roofs – the biggest problem befalling corrugated and ribbed metal roofs with exposed fasteners, is the fasteners working themselves loose after years of expansion and contraction. This is generally an easy solution requiring the attachment of a new fastener and some caulking (labor). Metal flashing around chimneys, end-walls such as dormers, skylights, and level changes, can also often become an issue if the job wasn’t done carefully. The ribs of the metal panels can also become dented and damaged if hit by an object such as a falling satellite dish or trees. Replacing sheet metal panels is rarely done because of the difficulty in matching colors of new with UV exposed products.
  • Wood – cedar shakes and other wood roofing types are very apt to deterioration and breakdown from mold buildup, mainly in areas of the home that are heavily shaded. A lack of sealing and other required maintenance may also leave some wood roofs prone to insect infestation. Replacement is generally the best repair costing about $750 to $1,450 per square.
  • Tiles – tiles, especially clay, are most often damaged by foot traffic when accessing the roof. Although they are durable against normal weather, the tiles are also very brittle against collisions and impact. Tiles can also become damaged when freezing after becoming wet or can simply slide away from the roof if not fastened properly. Repairs are very difficult because of the fragility of walking on the tiles, possibly causing more damage than initially sent to repair. Damaged tiles will need to be replaced at $1,200-$1,800 per square or more.
  • Slate – some slate types (Buckingham) have a life expectancy of up to 100 years, but others (Ribbon) can be as low as 20 years. It’s important to know what type of slate is installed on your roof before you determine that it is a ‘lifetime material’. Slate tiles become soft and soggy as they are nearing their end of life. Slate can become cracked or de-laminate which will require a replacement as will pieces that slide after becoming disconnected from a nail. Costs will vary greatly depending on finding a matching material type.
  • Flat Roofs – another roof type needing frequent repair is a rubber or membrane surface. These are generally installed on flat roofing surfaces, so even the slightest of issues, such as seams becoming unglued and coming apart due to freeze and thaw cycles can cause leaks. Most small tears and holes can be fixed with a roofing cement as can corners that lift. A substrate that sags will collect water and leave the different roofing types more apt to rot from mildew growth. Patching and the application of a new seal will cost a varying amount in material in labor costs.

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How Much Do Seamless Gutters Cost Fully Installed?

Most homeowners choose seamless gutters because of the value and home protection they provide.

Copper Seamless Gutters via Advanced Seamless

Without seams, seamless gutters are better looking and eliminate much of the leak threat posed by the sectional gutters with multiple seams on each side of a house.

Cost

Aluminum offers the best combination of cost and durability, which makes it the most popular choice with a cost of $6.50 to $13.50 per linear foot installed including downspouts, brackets, and endcaps.

Copper is the upscale choice at $20 to $30 per linear foot and often includes the maintenance cost of polishing it unless a natural copper patina is preferred.

Coated steel is the budget choice at $5.85 to $10.15 per linear foot installed including downspouts, brackets, and endcaps.

Average Cost To Install Seamless Gutters Typical Range: $825 - $1,459
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Common Seamless Gutter Project Scenarios

We’ve configured a 2,000 square foot home in three different ways to show how the linear feet of seamless gutters are affected. Each hypothetical house in the examples below has an attached 2.5-car garage (approx. 22 x 26 feet).

Home #1: 36’x56’ ranch

Home #2: 25’x40’ saltbox two-story

Home #3: Bi-level

House type Ln. ft. Aluminum Steel Copper 6″ gutters Hip roof 3×4 downspouts
Ranch 206 ft. $1,926 $1,473 $4,944 Add 12% Add 20% Add 5%
Bi-level 146 ft. $1,365 $1,044 $3,504 Add 10% Add 17% Add 5%
Two-story 132 ft. $1,234 $944 $3,168 Add 8% Add 15% Add 3%
For premium colors, add 5-10% for any home style.
Typical gutter installation project costs

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Top 10 Winter Home Maintenance & Weatherization Costs

Maintaining your home’s weather protection is very affordable compared with the high costs of repairing the damage caused by water leaks, insect infestation, and the effects of allowing moss and debris to remain on roofs and in the gutters over winter.

Getting your home ready for winter
via ChenArch.com

Home weatherization is also great way to improve your home’s durability and lower you heating and home energy consumption costs.

Let’s explore these essential home weatherization and maintenance updates and their costs:

  • Roof Inspection and Repair
  • Moss Removal and Roof Cleaning
  • Gutter Cleaning, Repair and Replacement
  • Exterior Caulking of Windows and Doors
  • Adding Weather Stripping to Windows and Doors
  • Adding Insulation to the Attic
  • Exposed Pipes Insulation
  • Chimney Cleaning
  • Furnace and Water Heaters Maintenance Check
  • Lawn and Garden Winter Prep

Note: handyman services and contractors often have minimum fees of up to $150 per visit to your home. For that reason, whenever possible, you will want to group these home maintenance and repair items when contacting service professionals for estimates.

Roof Inspection and Repair

Your roof is your home’s most important defense against the elements. When it is compromised, your home is susceptible to water damage, structural rot and weakening, mold and mildew problems and infestation from insects. That list of horrors is good motivation to keep our roofs in good health.

Your options include roof inspection from the ground using binoculars (good), on a ladder with friends holding it steady (better), or hiring a home inspector or roofing contractor (best).

If you have an attic, it the underside of the roof and attic walls should be checked for water stains. Roofs should be inspected twice a year and after major storms and wind events. Look for missing roofing material, cupped shingles, cracked shingles and shakes, loose flashing – any sign of damage.

  • Roof inspection cost: $125-$275
  • Roof repair: $7-$15 per square foot

Repairing a roof costs more on a per square foot basis than installing a new roof, and that’s why roof replacement rather than repair starts to make sense when 25% or more of the roof is damaged. This is especially true when the roof is 12-15 years old or older.

Most minor roof repairs will cost in the range $350 to $1,500, and most roofing contractors will have a minimum repair outcall fee of $250 or more.

Moss Removal and Roof Cleaning

Algae stained roof

Moss, algae and debris on roofing material, collecting in roof valleys and against dormers and upper stories is more than just an eyesore. They hold water against your roof and are acidic, a combination that can cause asphalt shingles to cup and fail, wood shingles and shakes to rot and metal roofing to corrode.

Living plant material must be gently removed from the roof with a stiff broom, starting at the top, to prevent roof damage. Stubborn moss and algae can be loosened with cleaners like Wet & Forget and Spray & Forget before brooming the roof.

If you’re not a DIY enthusiast, hiring an experienced professional for the job is the best way to ensure a clean roof that isn’t damaged. Hiring a pro will also keep you safely on the ground.

Home improvement professionals estimate costs based on the size of your home, whether it is a single-story or multistory home, the roof’s pitch and related factors.

  • $32-$45 per gallon | Roof cleaners for DIY cleaning, 1,000-1,250 square feet per concentrated gallon
  • $300-$800 | Professional roof cleaning cost

Gutter Cleaning, Repair and Replacement

clogged gutters

Gutters easily clog with leaves, pine needles and debris. When they do, water will overflow them or cascade over them and fall next to your home causing problems such as a flooded foundation, stained or rotted siding and garage door damage.

  • Clean gutters as needed: Gutters need cleaning frequently, perhaps twice in the fall and once in the spring, where large trees tower above them. They might never need cleaning in treeless landscapes.
  • Inspect gutters: It’s wise to check gutters twice a year and after heavy hail and wind storms. Look for missing, loose and separated sections or downspouts coming loose from gutters.
  • Replace gutters as needed: If you’ve already made significant repairs to your gutters, it might be worth replacing them before the next winter or rainy season hits your area.

    It only takes one big storm for a gutter to come loose and dump hundreds of gallons of water next to your basement.

  • Gutter cleaning cost: $0.75-$1.50 per linear foot
  • Gutter repair cost: $8.00-$12.00 per linear foot of damaged gutter
  • Gutter replacement cost: $6.50-$9.00 per linear foot

Exterior Caulking Repair and Replacement

Loose and missing caulk allows moisture and insects to get into your home’s framing and possibly into your living space. The situation also allows warm air to escape in winter and penetrate in summer.

Your HVAC system will work harder, and your energy company will be happy to bill you for it. Inspect for loose caulk visually and by brushing it with a stiff brush.

Remove any loose caulking when it is found. If the caulk is more than 15 years old and some of it is loose, consider re-caulking the area. All loose caulk, dirt and debris should be removed before new caulking is installed.

  • DIY caulk repair and replacement: $2-$5 per window or door for materials, more for garage doors
  • Professional caulk repair and replacement: $6-$15 per window or door, up to $40 per garage door

Adding Weather Stripping to Windows and Doors

Effects of air leaks

Loose-fitting windows and doors are like loose caulk – a waste of energy and a potential entrance for moisture and bugs. Weather stripping is affordable and has excellent ROI in the form of lower energy bills and home protection too.

  • DIY weather stripping: $0.25-$0.55 (25-55 cents) per linear foot for the various types of material
  • Pro weather stripping: $4-$10 per window or door, up to $35 for a garage door

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