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How Much to Budget for Roof Leak Repair

What Causes Roof Leaks?

A roof leak can be caused by many things, including broken shingles, improper flashing around chimneys and dormers, or ice dams. Leaks can also result from damage caused by severe weather, such as high winds or hail, that create small gaps in the shingles or flashing. These gaps allow water to seep into your roof and go any number of places before you notice it, including into the roof deck, roof trusses, attics, and insulation, causing loose seams, widespread mildew, and wood rot. The cost to repair a roof leak will depend on the size and location of the leak, as well as how long it took you to locate and report the leak. A recent leak will usually be a much more straightforward task than one that has been allowed to cause extensive damage over many weeks or months. We'll look at a few ways leaks occur and how your professional roofers will go about fixing these common repairs.

Storm Damage

Hail and storm damage usually affects the shingles and siding by causing dents and holes. Hail can be small enough to barely be noticeable, or large enough to completely destroy a roof. When this hail picks up speed as it falls, it can cause some serious damage, and unfortunately, there's not really a way to avoid this damage aside from basic maintenance and insurance coverage. It's a good practice to check your roof for leaks and cracks after any major storm that involves hail, as in some cases, you may need emergency roof repair for broken shingles that cause leaks. At the very least, after hail damage, we recommend getting an emergency roof tarp to protect you from the elements while you wait on repairs.

Ice Or Snow

It's no surprise that ice can get heavy quickly, but freezing rain and dense snow can be just as dangerous an issue. An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of your roof, preventing melting snow from draining properly. As the water backs up, it can seep under shingles and cause leaks. Snow dams are most common in areas that experience a lot of snowfall, but they can occur anywhere there is a freeze.


As roofs age, they begin to show signs of wear and tear. Shingles can curl or crack, allowing water to seep in and cause leaks. Flashing, the metal strips that seal the roof joints between different parts of your roof, can also loosen and allow leaks. If you have an older home, it's a good idea to have your roof inspected regularly to ensure that any potential problems are caught early. Roof repair cost estimators take into account the age of your roof, as well as the life of a roof's materials. Roof repairs are more often necessary than replacement, especially if you have any type of shingles or metal roofing. Shingle roofs endure an average of 20-25 years, metal roofs around 50 years, and slate up to 100 years; however, roof repair costs vary greatly.

Common Problems Or Signs That A Roof Needs Repair

In this section, we'll address some common reasons for roof leaks and give you some signs to look for through the years, so you know when your roof needs some TLC. As we address each common roof issue, we'll let you know how high the priority is and how much you can expect to pay for repair. Leaks are the most common problem associated with roofs, but they aren't always easy to spot. In some cases, you could be dealing with a leaky roof for months before you notice it inside, and by then the damage is done. If you notice any of the following, it's time to call a roofing contractor:

Shingles That Are Cracked, Curled, Loose, Or Missing

Priority: High

Shingle damage is one of the most common reasons for roof leaks. Shingles are necessary to protect your home from the elements, including the sun, wind, rain and hail, and when they are damaged, it leaves your home vulnerable. Shingles can be damaged by severe weather, age, or simply improper installation. If you notice any damage to your shingles, it's important to call a contractor as soon as possible to avoid further damage. Shingle repair will depend on the extent of the damage beneath the missing shingle but will usually cost between $300 and $1000 including materials assuming the damage covers a small portion of the overall roof.

Missing Or Damaged Flashing

Priority: Moderate

Flashing is the metal strip that seals the joints between different parts of your roof, and it's an essential part of keeping your roof watertight. If your roof flashing is damaged or missing, it can allow water to seep in and cause leaks. Flashing damage is often caused by severe weather, but it can also be due to age or improper installation. The cost to repair flashing will depend on the extent of the damage but will usually fall between $200 and $500 for total flashing repair, with much lower prices for small sections.

Gutters That Are Clogged Or Leaking

Priority: High

Your gutters play an important role in protecting your home from extensive water damage by channeling water away from your roof and foundation. If your gutters are clogged, it can cause water to back up and seep under your shingles, leading to leaks. Clogged gutters can also develop leaks over time, which can allow water to drip down the side of your house and cause extensive damage. The cost of gutter repair depends on a few factors, including the materials used and the extent of the damage, but usually ranges between $200 and $500 including labor and materials.

Gaps In Caulk Or Sealant

Priority: Mild

Caulk and sealant are used to fill gaps and cracks in your roof, and over time they can dry out or become damaged. If you notice any gaps or cracks in the caulk or sealant around your roof, it's important to call a contractor to have it repaired. The cost of caulk and sealant repair will depend on the size and location of the gap but will usually fall between $100 and $300.

Skylights That Are Cracked Or Leaking

Priority: High

Skylights are a common source of leaks, especially if they are cracked or damaged. If you notice any cracks or leaks around your skylights, it's important to call a contractor to have them repaired. The cost of skylight repair will depend on the extent of the damage but will usually fall between $250 and $1000 for total replacement.

Chimney Leaks

Priority: High

Chimneys are another common source of leaks, and they can be caused by a variety of factors, including age, damage, and improper installation. If you notice any leaks around your chimney, it's important to call a contractor to have them repaired. Chimneys most often leak because of cracks in the mortar or flashing, and the cost of repair will depend on the extent of the damage. The average cost to repair a chimney is $500 but can range from $250 to $2000 depending on the severity of the damage.

Damaged Or Cracked Roof Tiles

Priority: High

Roof tiles can be damaged by severe weather, age, or simply improper installation. If you notice any damage to your roof tiles, it's important to call a contractor as soon as possible to avoid further damage. The cost of a clay roof tile repair depends on the location and other factors but will usually fall between $250 and $500 per square foot.

Signs To Look Out For

As we mentioned before, in some cases roof damage isn't as obvious. The following are a few signs to check for regularly to keep your roof in good condition.

Granules From Asphalt Shingles On The Ground

If you notice granules from asphalt shingles on the ground around your home, it's a sign that your shingles are deteriorating and need to be replaced. These granules are made from a ceramic material and are designed to protect your shingles from the sun's UV rays. UV damage can cause the shingles to break down much more rapidly at a chemical level. Bald spots on shingles are another sign that your roof shingles are deteriorating. These bald spots leave your home vulnerable to extensive damage from the sun and wind. These granules do not come loose easily, so if you're seeing lots of bald spots, it may be time for a total roof replacement.

Gaps Around Vents Or Other Fixtures

If you notice gaps around vents or other fixtures on your roof, it's a sign that the roof flashings are loose or damaged and need to be replaced. Flashings are the metal or rubber strips that are used to seal off these openings, and over time they can become damaged or come loose, and if they're loose in one area, they could be damaged in others as well. It may be a good sign to get a contractor over for an inspection.


Moss can be a sign of roof damage, as it tends to grow in areas where there is moisture. If you notice moss on your roof, it's a good idea to have a contractor come over and take a look, as it could be a sign of a leak. Moss on its own could also be harmful for a roof's condition. While it may look nice, it can actually hold moisture against the roof and get into the roof deck and roof trusses, which could lead to wood rot or other damage.

Water Stains On Roof Or Ceiling

If you notice any water stains on your roof or ceiling, it could be a sign of a leaky roof. These stains can be caused by water seeping through the roof and collecting in the insulation. Over time, this could lead to mold or mildew, so it's important to have any stains checked out by a contractor.

Sagging Roof

If you notice your roof is starting to sag, it's a sign of serious damage and you should call a contractor immediately. A sagging roof is often caused by water damage or rot, and if left unchecked, it could lead to a collapse.

Why Repair A Roof?

A roof is one of the most important parts of a home, and it's important to keep it in good condition, but factoring in the cost of labor and materials, it's no secret that it can get pricey fast. If you're not sure the investment is worth it, we'd encourage you to think about the future.

A roof protects your home from the elements, and if it's in good condition, it can last for decades. However, without regular maintenance and minor roof repairs, your initial investment might not pay off the way you want it to. Over time, roofs will start to show signs of wear and tear, and if left unchecked, this can lead to serious interior damage. That's why it's important to repair a roof as soon as you notice any faults.

It's also important to repair a roof because it can save you money in the long run. If you ignore a small problem, it could turn into a big one, and the cost of roof repair will only go up. So, if you're thinking about ignoring a $200 problem with your roof, think again, it could become a $5000 problem within a short period. It's important to call a contractor and get an estimate for repairs as soon as possible.

We even recommend routine roof inspections rather than waiting for disaster to strike. Having roofing professionals regularly take a look at your roof will likely save you money in the long run, especially because if a roof hasn't been properly maintained or installed, insurance companies may not pay for replacement costs when you file a claim.

What To Repair?

Not all roof damage is created equal, and not every type of damage will require a ton of money. In some cases, you may just need to replace a few broken shingles, while in others you may need to repair flashing, valleys, vents, skylights, or more.

If those terms are foreign to you, you're not alone. However, it's important to be well versed in the parts of your roof so you know what's going on when you have your inspection.

There are a few basic parts to your roof's anatomy:

  • The Flashing: This is the metal that's used to seal off any openings, such as where the chimney meets the roof.
  • The Roof Valley: This is the area of your roof that's formed when two sloping sides meet, and it's often one of the first places water will collect.
  • The Roof Deck: This is the layer of wood that's attached to the trusses, and it's what your shingles are nailed to.
  • The Roof Underlayment: This is a layer that’s attached directly to the roof deck. It supplies an extra layer of protection for your roof but is not always included.
  • The Truss: This is the frame of your roof, and it's usually made up of 2x4s or 2x6s.
  • The Joints: Roof joints are the points where the roof frame comes together. These roof joints are integral to the structure of your roof.
  • The Vent: These are the openings that allow heat and moisture to escape from your home, and they're usually found near the ridge of the roof.
  • The Skylight: This is a window in your roof that lets natural light in.
  • The Chimney: This is the structure that allows smoke and heat to escape from your home.
  • The Seams: These are the places where different materials on your roof meet, and they're often susceptible to leaks. Loose seams are one of the main reasons for roof leaks.
  • The Shingles: These are the individual pieces of material that make up your roof, and they can be made from asphalt, slate, tile, or metal.
  • The Membrane: This is a watertight layer that's often used on commercial roofs, and it helps to keep water from seeping in.
  • The Insulation: This is material that's used to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and it's usually located between the rafters.

Each of these parts will likely need to be serviced and inspected multiple times throughout your roof's lifetime. While proper insulation should ensure that these all do their job well past their warranty, sometimes unforeseen events can cause damage.

When you call a roofing professional to inspect your home, they'll likely check each of these parts of the roof to ensure they're holding up well. Take it from us, it's a much simpler fix to make minor repairs before real damage adds up. A tear in the membrane, damaged shingles, loose seams and fasteners, and a leaky vent are all minor repairs that can make a big difference in the safety of your home.

What Factors Influence The Cost Of Roof Repair

Now that you know the basics of roof repair, it's time to start thinking about how much it will actually cost you. Unfortunately, there is no easy answer when it comes to the cost of roof repair. There are a lot of variables that come into play when pricing out a job, but we'll outline the most common to give you a good idea of what to expect.

Level Of Experience

Not all roofing contractors are going to deliver the same end product and choosing a well-known and licensed contractor means you're also paying for the guarantee that comes with the name, especially if they are a member of a professional roofing organization. The level of experience that a roofing company has collectively also plays into the pricing. A reputable roofing company with contractors who have been in business for 20 years is going to charge more than one who's just starting out, but they're also likely to have a better understanding of what needs to be done and how to do it quickly and efficiently.

Type Of Damage

The type of damage that needs to be repaired will also have an effect on the cost. A contractor who's just replacing a few roof shingles or fixing a minor leak is going to charge less than one who's repairing yards of flashing or fixing a roof valley. The amount of damage that's been done will also play into the equation. A contractor who's fixing a small hole is going to charge less than one who's repairing an entire section of the roof.

Cost Of Inspection

Before any work can be done, the roof will need to be inspected by a roof repair company to determine the extent of the damage. The cost of this inspection will usually be rolled into the overall repair bill. However, some roofing contractors will charge a separate fee for the inspection, so it's important to ask about this before you agree to have any work done.

Area Of Roof Damage

Another important factor to consider is the location of the damage and the overall size of the damaged roof. Materials are often charged by the square foot, so even if the damage is in a small area, it could cover several square feet.

If the damage is located in a difficult-to-reach spot, like in a roof valley, or on a steep roof slope, it's going to cost more to repair because the contractor will need to take extra precautions to avoid further damage.

Repair Time

The amount of time it takes to complete the repairs will also play into the cost. Labor is charged per hour, and for a long and difficult repair, the roof repair costs could add up. A roof repair company that can get the job done quickly may charge more for its services. However, you should be wary of any contractor who tries to do the job too quickly. This could mean they're not doing a thorough job.

Local Labor Costs

The cost of labor will also vary depending on where you live. In a rural area, the cost of labor is usually lower than in a major city. This is because there is more demand for labor in a city, and roofing contractors are able to charge more for their services. In rural areas, there is less demand for labor, so roofing repair companies often are required to pay less to secure workers, passing those savings onto the customer.

Specialized Repair And Tools

Some roof damage is going to require specialized tools and repair methods, which means the contractor is going to need to invest in additional equipment.

This will often be passed on to the customer in the form of a higher bill. If the damage is significant, it's also likely that the contractor will need to hire additional workers to help with the repair job, which will also add to the cost.

An example of a specialized repair would be fixing a hole that's been caused by hail damage. This kind of damage often requires the use of a special type of sealant that can resist the elements and prevent future damage.


Of course, the type of materials used to make the repairs will also have an effect on the cost. A contractor who uses high-quality roof materials is going to charge more than one who uses lower-quality materials.

However, it's important to remember that you get what you pay for. Choosing a roof repair company that uses lower-quality roof materials might save you money upfront, but it could end up costing you more in the long run if the repairs don't hold up.

It's also important to factor in the cost of any permits that might be needed to make even minor repairs. In most cases, roofing contractors will include the cost of permits in their estimate.


Many reputable roofing repair companies will offer a warranty on the repair just in case it doesn't hold up. They are often offered at a small additional cost, and are usually worth it, depending on the terms. If you choose to buy a warranty on the repair, you'll receive free minor repairs if the damage should occur again within a certain timeframe. These types of warranties are great for protecting the customer against improper installation. Without a warranty, you'll be responsible for paying for all future repairs.

Potential Cost Of A Leaking Roof: What It Really Adds Up To

The average roof repair cost for a leaking roof is $1,500 with the typical home insurance policies covering about $1,000 of that. So, if you have a roof leak, you're looking at an out-of-pocket expense of $500 on average. However, if you factor in the potential damage a leaking roof can cause, the $500 expense is probably worth it to get the repairs done quickly.

A leaky roof can cause water damage to your home, which can lead to mold and rot. The longer you wait to repair a leak, the more damage it can cause. Even a small problem like loose seams can cause long-term water damage to your home, the price of which can reach into the thousands very quickly, especially if the water collects beneath your roof.

What's the worst-case scenario? The trapped water builds pressure over time, leading your roof to sag. Eventually, the pocket bursts spreading water all over your ceilings, your floors, and your walls, causing potential electrical damage, fire damage, mildew, and wood rot.

Even if your homeowner's insurance policy covers the cost of a collapsed roof, you're still going to be left with a huge mess to deal with. These types of roof damage don't happen overnight, but they do happen, and they usually come with plenty of warning signs.

So, while the upfront cost of repairing a leaking roof might seem high, it's definitely worth it in the long run. The moment you notice a leak, you should call a roof repair company for an emergency roof tarp while you wait for repairs.

Types Of Repairs

There are a few different repairs that a roof repair company might need to do to fix a leaking roof. We'll outline the most common types of repair below to give you an idea of what to expect.

1. Minor Repairs

If the damage is minimal, the contractor might be able to get away with making some minor repairs. This could involve patching up a few holes or replacing a few broken shingles with a nail gun. These minor issues usually don't require any electrical work, plumbing, or engineering to complete. The wide variety of roof maintenance falls into this category, still important, but relatively inexpensive and to be expected over time.

We'll list these types of repairs below:

  • Gutter and downspout maintenance
  • Repairing loose seams
  • Complete roof vent replacement
  • Replacing missing or damaged roof shingles
  • Clearing debris from gutters, valleys, and drains
  • Inspecting and repairing flashings around skylights, vents, chimneys, and roof valleys

2. Major Repairs

If the damage is more significant, the contractor might need to do some major repairs. This could involve replacing an entire section of the roof or making structural changes to the home. These usually require electrical work, plumbing, or engineering to complete, which not all roof repair companies can handle in-house.

We'll list these projects below:

  • Partial Replacement of Roof
  • Repairing structural issues
  • Adding or removing a skylight
  • Adding or removing a chimney
  • Adding or removing a vent

3. Replacement

In some cases, the damage is so severe that the only option is to replace the entire roof. This usually happens when the roof is very old, or the structure has been damaged beyond repair. Common reasons for total roof replacement include:

  • The roof is more than 20 years old
  • More than 50% of the roof needs to be replaced
  • The roof has significant structural issues
  • The roof has been damaged by fire

Replacing an entire roof is a major project that usually requires permits, electrical work, plumbing, and engineering. The cost of replacing an entire roof can range from $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the size and type of roof.

If you're thinking about replacing your roof, we recommend getting multiple estimates from different roofing contractors. The cost of a new roof can vary widely, depending on the type of roof, roof size, and the location of the home (zip code).

Price Of Repair By Material

The type of roof you have will also affect the cost of the repair. Keep in mind that some roof repair materials are more expensive than others, and all are measured in cost per square foot. We've outlined the most common types of roofs below, along with their average roof repair costs and which types of damage they are the most susceptible to. Keep in mind that these repair costs will vary depending on the roofing company, so it’s not a bad idea to shop around for price quotes.

Roof Type

The following is a list of the most common roof types that we see, their average prices, and the current average price for repairs.

1. Tile Roofs

Tile roofs are most often made from fired clay or concrete and are usually found in warm climates. Tile roofs are very durable and can last up to 100 years, but they are susceptible to damage from major storms, wind, and debris. The average cost of repairing a tile roof is $1500 or about $300 or more per square foot plus labor and other materials. Some roof repair companies specialize in tile roofs and may be able to offer a streamlined experience.

2. Asphalt Shingle Roof

Asphalt shingle roof, or composite roof, is the most common type of roof in the United States, partially because they are durable and cheap to install and repair. They are made from a fiberglass or paper mat that is covered with asphalt and then coated with gravel. Asphalt shingle roofs are susceptible to damage from storms, wind, hail, and debris, and usually last 15 to 25 years with the proper installation and maintenance. The average cost of repairing an asphalt shingle roof is $1000 or about $90 per square foot plus labor and other roof repair materials.

3. Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are made from steel, aluminum, or copper and are popular in both residential and commercial applications. Metal roofs are very durable and can last up to 50 years, but they are susceptible to damage from hail, debris, and corrosion. The most common price quote for metal roof repair is $1300 or about $400 per square foot plus labor and other roof materials.

4. Wood Shakes

Wood shakes are made from cedar, redwood, or other types of wood. Wood roofs are very durable and can last up to 30 years, but they are susceptible to damage from storms, wind, hail, and debris. The average cost of repairing a wood shake roof is $750 or about $600 per square foot plus labor and other materials.

5. Slate Roofs

Slate roofs are made from natural stone that is split into thin pieces. This is more expensive roofing material. Slate roofs are very durable and can last up to 100 years, but they are susceptible to damage from storms, wind, hail, and debris. Slate makes for very expensive repairs, so while it’s a good investment, it will require some upkeep. The average cost of repairing a slate roofing is $2000 or about $1000 per square foot plus labor and other materials.

6. Flat Roofs

Flat roofs are more common than steep roofs in commercial applications, but they can also be found on some homes. Flat roofs are very susceptible to damage from storms, wind, hail, and debris, and usually last 15 to 20 years. The average cost of a flat roof repair is $300 or about $250 per square foot plus labor and other materials.

Does Homeowners' Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

Most homeowners' insurance providers cover minor leaks, but there are some exceptions. We'll outline some of the basic reasons for insurance choosing to allow or deny coverage but be sure to check with your own insurance company to see if your policy covers roof leaks and other types of damage.

When Are Roof Leaks Covered By Home Insurance?

Roof leaks are typically covered by home insurance when they are caused by sudden and accidental events, such as storms, strong wind, hail, or fallen trees. In most cases, roof leaks that are caused by gradual deterioration or poor maintenance are not covered. This is why it’s important to have routine inspections to ensure your roof is properly channeling water away from your home.

When Are Roof Leaks Not Covered By Home Insurance?

There are a few circumstances when roof leaks are not covered by home insurance. The most common is when the leak is caused by a gradual deterioration, poor maintenance, or improper installation. This could include things like worn-out shingles, cracked caulk, or loose flashing. Another circumstance when roof leaks might not be covered is if your policy has a separate deductible for wind and hail damage. This means that even if your policy covers roof leaks, you will still have to pay the deductible before insurance kicks in. Finally, some insurance providers exclude coverage for certain types of roofs, such as metal or flat roofs. Be sure to check with your insurance company to learn more about your roof leak repair coverage.

What Parts of the Roof are Not Covered Under Roof Leak Repair Coverage?

Just because something is located on your roof, doesn't make it a part of your roof. Solar panels, chimneys, skylights, water heaters, and other structures that are attached to your roof are typically not covered under roof leak repair coverage. In most cases, you will need to buy separate insurance policies to cover these types of structures.

What Types of Roofs are Not Covered?

There are a few types of roofs that are typically not covered by home insurance, such as older, unstable, or unreliable roofs, in some cases including mobile home roofs. In some cases, you may be required to reach a deductible before repairs, and more expensive roofing materials may make you reach this payment quicker. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if your roof is excluded from coverage.