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Roof tile replacement costs in the UK

There are lots of reasons why it may be necessary to replace tiles or slates on a property. This could range from just a few tiles to a complete re-roofing job:-

  • Storms or bad weather can damage or completely lift tiles from the roof
  • Over time, tiles can loosen and slip, crack or curl
  • Weathering and wear and tear over the years take their toll on the roof covering making it less secure and weatherproof
  • A sagging roof indicates that the integrity of the structure is compromised and that water may have been penetrating over time causing rot in the roof joists

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The real cost of leaving roofing repairs

Ignoring broken or missing tiles or slates is a false economy as water will soon start to penetrate the roof and cause problems internally such as damp and mould in the loft space and staining on the walls and ceilings of the upstairs rooms.

Replacing cracked or missing tiles should be a priority to ensure the integrity of the roof is maintained and to keep it weatherproof.

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How much will it cost to replace tiles on the roof?

The cost of roofing repairs will depend upon a number of factors including:-

  • Ease of access to the roof
  • Whether or not the tiles are cemented in place
  • How simple it is to source matching replacement tiles for any which are broken; this can be particularly challenging with period and listed properties where the tiles are very old and scarce and a match is essential
  • Where you live in the UK
  • The number of tiles to be replaced

If you just have a few tiles to be replaced, for example, five or less and there is no requirement for scaffolding then this should only take a roofer a couple of hours and will cost in the region of £150-£200. Most quick jobs like this can be completed just using a ladder providing access to the roof is straightforward. If cement bedding is needed then this will increase the price by perhaps another £50-£100 for the cost of the cement and the additional labour time as it will take much longer. For a similar number of tiles and a requirement for scaffolding then the price will go up again to between £400-£500. This reflects the cost of hiring the scaffolding and the additional labour time taken to install it.

Because of the difficulty of thoroughly inspecting a roof from ground level, you may find there are other problems once a contractor takes a proper look. Not all storm damage is immediately visible and a thorough inspection of a roof which is just suffering from old age and wear and tear may reveal other problems like rot, loose or cracked chimney flashings and blocked or leaking rainwater goods.

How much will it cost to completely re-tile the roof?

Sometimes, the damage caused by bad weather or the general age and condition of the roof means that completely re-tiling the roof is the only option. If the roof is in poor repair then constantly patching it up will prove to be a false economy in the long run and a waste of money. The cost of re-roofing the house will depend on a number of factors:-

  • The choice of roof tiles and their quality or scarcity. It may cost more in terms of labour to carefully remove and stack the current tiles before replacing them but this might be a requirement on a listed property due to the age of the tiles and the conditions stipulated in any planning permission. Non-standard or reclaim tiles from architectural salvage can be very expensive
  • The size of the tiles – larger tiles are quicker to install than smaller ones which take longer and will increase the labour costs
  • The size and complexity of the roof – the number of roof planes
  • Whether you are adding any structural features like dormer windows for a roof loft conversion, a chimney, rigid eaves or tile vents
  • The height of the house and the ease or difficulty of access
  • Whether the condition of the roof means it requires structural work on the supporting joists which have deteriorated over time due to damp and rot
  • Where you live, all building works tend to be more expensive in cities and urban areas and particularly in London
  • Whether or not the roofing contractor charges VAT which will automatically increase the bill by 20%

An average price for a complete re-tiling project would be in the region of £4,000-£9,000 depending on all the different factors.

What should the quotation look like?

Quotations are a full and detailed description in writing of all the works to be undertaken. They should be broken down into labour and materials costs with additional charges such as the hire cost for scaffolding and a skip to collect the waste material from the old roof. Materials should include:-

  • The choice of roofing materials, the type and thickness of the underlayment, the location and amount of flashings, nails and fasteners
  • Sealant costs if you are choosing to have the new roof sealed after installation
  • Plant hire, usually the scaffolding charges and skip costs for rubbish disposal
  • Warranties and guarantees, these will include manufacturer’s warranties for the actual roofing materials and a separate guarantee issued for the entire job by the roofing contractor

How can I lower the cost of re-tiling my roof?

If you have the luxury of time, i.e. you are not in a hurry, then do your homework. A thorough understanding of what is involved will help you have intelligent conversations with roofing contractors when it comes to sticking to a budget and assist in identifying where you can save money and what might be a false economy.

Always shop around for different quotations and don’t feel rushed into accepting the first one you receive. You are more than likely to find a better deal or a better price (not necessarily the same thing) if you just take your time.

Have a frank conversation with roofing contractors about ways you can lower the cost and ask them to prepare different estimates which reflect adjustments so you can consider the options carefully. Most roofing contractors are happy to advise on alternative materials which may be cheaper and fall within your budget.

If you have any choice of lead-in time, then consider doing the works at a less popular and busy time of year. Sometimes, you can find more competitive quotations when roofing contractors are less busy. Typically, the busiest time of year is late spring and throughout the summer when the weather should be more favourable and there are longer daylight hours.

What are the choices of roofing materials?

Some people opt for a new roof covering when they have their property re-tiled. If there are no particular restrictions that affect your project then this can be an opportunity to give your home a completely fresh look and perhaps use roofing products which are more in keeping with the style of the property than the one that is currently there. What are the main choices of roofing materials available?

  • Pantiles – these are an enduringly popular design for both period and contemporary properties and can be made of either clay or concrete
  • Interlocking roof tiles – one of the most economical options and made of concrete. They are large and easy and quick to fit because they don’t require much overlap
  • Slate – used extensively during the Victorian era as the industrial revolution and new transport routes opened up access to slate quarries in Wales and the North of England, it meant that this roofing material could be used almost anywhere. Enduring popular, slate is the best and most appropriate roofing material for Victorian properties but is also hugely favoured for modern, contemporary builds due to its sleek lines and good looks. There is a huge choice of different slate on offer to suit all budgets, styles and colour choices. Natural slate in the UK attracts premium prices but there are cheaper imported alternatives available from Spain, Brazil and China and also pseudo-slate or synthetic options
  • Plain tiles – usually made from clay, these tiles are small and can give a real tailored and bespoke finish to a roof. The tiles usually vary very slightly in shade and colour and this can create a wonderful effect on a large roof plane, perfect for older, character properties but also for contemporary builds. They can be time-consuming to install
  • Stone belt roofing – the stone belt is the area of England where stone is a natural, local resource and was commonly used to build properties and to roof them. Stone belt roofing is found in the north of England and the Cotswolds. If you have a period or listed property then local planning regulations may require that you re-roof using local stone only. There are synthetic alternatives made from reconstituted stone which are cheaper but certainly for a period or listed house, usually planning officials will stipulate that only the real thing will do
  • Metal roofs – more commonly seen on agricultural and industrial buildings with the most prevalent materials being copper or zinc. There are steel alternatives which can give the appearance of a standard tile but are actually made of metal. These are a good sensible option in very exposed, windy locations where traditional tile or slate is vulnerable to continued weather damage
  • Green roofs – a new reinvention of an old idea which was used in Scotland and parts of Scandinavia for centuries. Green roofs are a specialist construction requiring a build up of layers and are usually only see on modern new build properties. It requires significant and specialist skill and for a standard residential property would probably not be the first or best choice of roofing option. Most properties that have green roofs are specifically constructed for this type of roof feature and are sheltered and designed to fit into a particular landscape

What are the restrictions on changing the roofing material?

If your home is a listed property or located within a conservation area then the planning restrictions may not allow you to change your roofing material. The finished product must be in keeping with both the age and style of your own house and those which surround it. The other possible restriction is if you opt for a heavier roofing material than you have currently and whether or not this requires any upgrading to the main roof structure to support this additional weight.

When is a re-tiling job likely to turn into a complete re-roofing job?

This will usually be self-evident and will depend upon the age of the roof and how much money you are already spending to keep it watertight. It can be uneconomical to constantly spend on costs of roof leak repair for an old or failing roof. Bad storm damage will make it obvious whether the roof needs replacing subject to the report issued by a loss adjuster or assessor as this is likely to form part of an insurance claim. As the insurer will be funding the repairs, then they will have the final decision as to the scope and cost of the works.

Sometimes you can find that a few missing or slipped tiles can turn into a more expensive job purely because the contractor discovers more problems when he conducts a roof inspection. It always pays to have your roof checked as part of an annual maintenance programme perhaps when guttering is cleared as this can alert you to any problems which may be brewing and which are not visible from the ground.

What happens during the re-tiling process?

Scaffolding is erected and then the old roof covering is removed and either stored ready to be re-used or discarded. The old felt is removed if required and any repairs made to the wooden structure if there is evidence of rot. New battens and felt are added if necessary and then the roofing material added. New flashing is installed around chimneys and roof lights and rainwater goods either replaced or renewed.

How to find a good roofing contractor

Finding a good roofing contractor can be tricky – the names you hear recommended time and again always seem to be booked up and too busy. It is always important to get a variety of quotes for your roofing job as this can significantly impact on price particularly if you end up having more substantial work done. Here are some good methods to find a professional and reliable roofing contractor:-

  • Ask around, friends, family, work colleagues or neighbours for a recommendation
  • Put a post on a local community forum or neighbourhood group, people are usually only too happy to share their experiences, good and bad
  • Use a designated online platform which can take all the legwork and hassle away by providing several quotes from a bank of trusted tradespeople. All you need to do is key in a few details such as your location and the type of work you want to be done and then you will be contacted by three or four roofing contractors who will come out and survey your home and provide you with a written quote. These services are usually provided for free by the website but always check that the contractor’s estimates are supplied completely without cost and obligation

In the aftermath of a storm, expect roofing companies to be extremely busy. It can be helpful if you have a good relationship with a roofing contractor who regularly inspects your roof and undertakes repairs as they are more likely to come out to you quickly as one of their valued customers.

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1. Tell us some details of exising roof

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Frequently Asked Questions 

Do you need planning permission for a completely new roof?

You do not need planning permission to re-tile or slate your roof unless you are going to materially change the height or structure of the roof design. This includes adding dormers or a mansard loft conversion where the windows project more than a permitted amount beyond the roof plane.

If your house is listed or in a conservation area then you may need planning permission to re-tile the roof particularly if you want to alter the roofing material or you are replacing all the tiles.

What is the best choice of tile to re-roof my home?

This will depend on the style of your property largely and your budget. A roofing contractor can advise you of the different and most appropriate options and prepare individual estimates for each roofing material. The base cost of the tile or slate may vary but can also impact on labour as some take much longer to install. As a general principle, smaller tiles require more overlap and are more fiddly to fit which takes longer and also any roofing material which requires a lot of cutting.

Can I repair the roof myself?

Replacing the odd slipped or missing tile is a perfectly straightforward job for many people. Usually, the biggest challenge the is lack of appropriate equipment to work at height and the dangers associated with doing this even if you have decent ladders. Professional roofing contractors use safety equipment like crawl boards and cat ladders which not only protect themselves but prevent any further damage to the roof by spreading their weight. If you do replace a couple of ties yourself, you will need a safety ladder with a secured base as a minimum. Most people can replace a couple of tiles or slates if they are secured with a hook or nail fixing. Cementing them into place is a bit more specialist and a more skilled job working at height. Most roofing contractors would use a scaffold or access tower to do this safely.

How can I fund an expensive re-roofing job?

If your roofing project is not caused by storm or weather damage and falls within your buildings’ insurance policy then funding lengthy repair work or even a completely new roof can be a headache. Some people turn to their mortgage lender for extra finance via a Home Improvement Loan or Further Advance. This is extra borrowing secured against the equity in the property and will be subject to meeting the affordability criteria of the lender. Sometimes a re-mortgage to a new lender is a good way to secure extra funding for household improvements as well as bagging an advantageous interest rate deal.

For those homeowners in middle or old age and who have paid off their mortgage, Equity Release Schemes are an attractive option to fund works on the property as well as other projects. Some roofing contractors will offer finance packages through an intermediary in the same way that you can obtain finance to buy a new car or three-piece suite. Eligibility is usually subject to status and the monthly repayments and applicable interest rate will depend on this and also how much deposit is contributed.

Will repairing or re-tiling my roof improve the value of my home?

A sound, watertight and weatherproof roof will always maintain the value of your property and the integrity of internal decoration and furnishings. A complete overhaul including re-tiling and any upgrades to flashings and rainwater goods will uplift the value of your home and be very attractive to any potential purchasers. The roof is considered part of the essential fabric of the house and so its condition will always impact on value, either positively or negatively.

What is the best time of year to replace or re-tile the roof?

The answer to this is immediately if your house has suffered damage due to a weather-related event. If you are planning works then usually most roofers do the bulk of their work in the late spring through to early autumn. This is not just to take advantage of longer daylight hours but also the weather. From mid to late autumn onwards through to late winter/early spring, the weather is often too wet and windy to be working at height. This is not to say that re-roofing cannot be done at this time of year but unless it is an emergency repair or replacement, then it is better to wait until the weather is more settled. The work can take longer in the winter months due to a combination of shorter days and either high winds or freezing temperatures and this can end up costing you more money.

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