Roof leak repair costs and types of repair
A leaking roof is always a concern for any homeowner and the priority is to repair the roof and make it watertight again as soon as possible. The cost of a roof leak repair can vary due to its severity but you are most likely looking at £400 to £800 if it's more than an easy access problem. However, most small roof leaks can be fixed for under £150.
Last Updated: October 2022
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What causes a roof to leak?
Roofs can leak for a number of reasons:-
- Wear and tear over time which has not been addressed so leaving a roof in a poor state of repair
- Missing, slipped or cracked tiles or slates
- Cracked flashing around chimneys, roof lights or Velux windows – these areas are a favourite source of water ingress
- Storm damage – damage to the roof caused by high winds dislodging or stripping off roof tiles, or falling trees and branches which create holes in the roof
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How much will the roof cost to repair?
The cost of repair depends wholly on the nature and extent of the problem. There are several factors which can influence the cost including:-
- How easy is the access is to the roof
- The number of tiles or slates to be replaced
- How difficult it is to source replacement tiles – with a period or listed properties where it may be necessary to source replacement tiles or slates from architectural salvage yards, this can be very challenging and costly. If the property is listed then it will be essential to get a match
- Whether the roof tiles are cemented in place or not
- Where you live in the UK as there is a distinct regional variation in the cost of roofing works
Here is some guidance on the potential costs:-
- Storm damage – this usually forms part of a claim under buildings insurance. The damage is inspected by a loss adjuster or a loss assessor and the insurance company may require two or three different estimates for the work before they approve the repairs
- Slipped, cracked or missing tiles or slates – to replace anything up to around five tiles or slates will cost in the region of £150-£200, often these can be done quite simply and quickly by a roofing contractor with a ladder if access is straightforward which keeps the cost lower. The time spent is usually around a couple of hours
- Cement bedding – if cement bedding is needed for the tiles then there will be an increase in cost both for the cement and the additional labour time so you can add between £50-£150 to the basic cost for five tiles
- Scaffolding – if scaffolding is needed due to access issues or the roof height then to replace around five tiles or slates will increase in cost to between £400-£500 to reflect hire charges and additional labour time to construct the scaffold
It is always possible that once repair work starts, more serious problems which are not visible from the ground may be uncovered.
More serious repairs
If water has been penetrating perhaps unnoticed over a period of time, then damage can be caused to the roof trusses or joists. Sometimes this can be a small problem which persists over some years and only comes to light when patches appear on the walls or ceilings of upstairs rooms or the main roof structure starts to sag.
Rotten beams can be repaired if the damage is not too extensive. A baseline figure would be between £250-£500 per beam. The rotten sections can be cut out and new timber secured in place with either plates or steel rods. A new roof can cost anywhere from £2,000-£4,000 depending on the height and complexity of the design and the roof materials chosen. If therefore your roof is in dire need of repair and the work is extensive, it can be better value for money to consider replacing the roof in its entirety.
Funding expensive roof repairs
Unexpected storm damage is usually covered by the homeowner’s building insurance policy and a poor roof on a house purchase can be used as a negotiating tool to discount the price. Hidden rot, however, can sometimes catch out the householder and find them looking at either expensive repair costs or an entirely new roof for which there is no budget. So, how can you raise funding for comprehensive repairs or a new roof:-
- Some roofing contractors partner up with financial services companies and can offer finance subject to status. If you do need to finance in this way then it might also be a good opportunity to consider other work like a loft conversion if you are going to the expense of having major works done or a new roof. A new roof can be designed to accommodate the additional accommodation and feature roof lights and dormer windows and if you are not opting for expensive interiors like bathrooms and kitchens, then it won’t be nearly as costly as you might think
- Some homeowners approach their mortgage company particularly if they have a lot of equity in their property and secure funding against this. These schemes are usually called Further Advances or Home Improvement Loans. Borrowers still have to demonstrate that they can satisfy the lender’s affordability criteria and meet the increased monthly payments which are usually spread across the remaining term of the mortgage
- Equity Release Schemes are popular with older people who have paid off their mortgage. These funds are not specific to home improvement projects and can be used for lots of purposes but this is a popular way to raise money to improve a house you don’t want to sell
To keep your roof in good order, always deal with damage or repairs as promptly as possible. Have the guttering cleared at least twice a year to ensure rainwater can get away – remember, water is the main culprit when it comes to leaking roofs and persistent damage caused by condensation and rot. Replace old and leaky guttering and use this opportunity to check the roof for any obvious problems and inspect the end of the roof timbers and the area under the eaves.
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If you have a leaky roof, there are a number of types of roof repair you might need to have carried out by a professional. Let’s take a look at some of the most common roof leak repair types now, along with some of the costs you can expect to pay out for each.
Types Of Roof Leak Repair
Tile Replacement Costs
Even in the most simple case of a leaky roof, you are probably going to need one or more tiles replaced. This could either be because a tile or multiple tiles are missing or it could just be that they are damaged - even a small amount of damage will generally require replacement, as it could easily lead to a leak. It can often cost around £200 if you need a roofer to replace a few tiles, whether they are cement, clay or slate. However, it is a quick fix, normally the work of a few hours only, and the costs are generally included in the overall tiled roof repair costs.
Flat Roof Repair Costs
Things are a little different when it comes to a flat roof repair. Often, even simple and small patches for flat roofs can cost a few hundred pounds. These roofs will generally be on garages, extensions or outhouses, for instance. Depending on the nature of the problem and its severity, it is commonly a better idea to simply replace the entire roof, rather than having, say, half of it repaired. For a basic felt roof, you might only be paying out £50 or so per square metre, or if you want something like fibreglass you could be paying out £90 per square metre. Add labour on top of that, and you could be looking at a total replacement cost for a flat roof of over £1000.
Sagging Roof Repair Costs
It is quite common amongst many homes for the roof to develop something of a sag. This is just where the ridge bows somewhere in the middle, below the height of the gable ends. As you might imagine, this can cause a number of serious ongoing problems, leaking being one of them. There are many reasons a roof can sag; sometimes it’s a case of the wrong tiles being laid down on the roof, which are too heavy; sometimes it’s just one of those things that happens over time.
If you have a sagging roof, you will certainly need it to be repaired as soon as possible. The costs behind this kind of repair can vary quite dramatically, depending on the severity of the situation. If the problem is one of too much weight being put on it, you might need additional joists or rafters, and that can cost up to £2000, depending on how many you need. If the problem is waterlogging, and the internal structure is damaged, the entire roof might need to be replaced, which can cost from £5000 to £12000, depending on size.
Flashing Repair Costs
Flashing is used on roofs of many kinds to help protect its edges. It is usually made of lead, and put into place where tiles meet brickwork - such as with a chimney or skylights. If the flashing becomes damaged, which can happen in a number of ways, it can cause a lot of problems, in a similar vein to missing or broken tiles. Ultimately, this would allow rain into the property. The cost of fixing flashing is similar to the cost of fixing tiles - replacing around a square metre of it costs about £100-£250, on average.
Where To Look For Roof Leaks
As well as knowing the costs and types of roof leak repairs, it’s useful to have some idea of where to look for roof leaks in the first place. There are a few main places you should look, as detailed below.
If you have a skylight, you should keep an eye on it to check whether it is leaking. If it turns out to be leaking, normally you can repair it with silicone sealant. Sometimes the flashing around the skylight is damaged or has corroded, in which case it will simply need replacing in its entirety. That might cost between £20-£80. Another common problem to look out for is a crack in the skylight glass.
As with skylights, chimneys also require flashing around them to help keep water from getting into the home. This flashing usually costs around £20, or you can get masonry caulk and flashing for about £5 each, which will be necessary if the caulking is corroded (which will be clear by sight alone). Otherwise, there might be fractures in the chimney itself or missing mortar, which could cost a little more.
If there is a problem with the valley of the roof, the repair for this is normally somewhere in the region of £30 for a 10 ft. roll. The valley is simply the place where two roof slopes meet in the middle, and of course it is somewhere that water can collect. That’s why this will have a lead flashing installed by a roofer, but if there are any gaps in the flashing then there could be leakages.
You find lead flashing in many places around the roof, as we have already seen in some detail. It’s important to bear in mind that flashing with leaks or gaps in it is one of the most common causes of leaks in roofs, so it’s worth considering on its own and checking all of the flashing on the roof regularly. Lead flashing repair normally costs about £20 for a smaller job, and that price can rise if there are numerous parts of the flashing that need repair or replacement.
Armed with this information, you should be able to keep on top of your roof leak repairs, and know when repairs are necessary and how much they cost. You should also make a point of looking out for those common problem areas on your roof, to avoid any issues worsening.
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