Regular roof maintenance protects your home and keeps it looking great. The average lifespan of an asphalt roof is 15 to 18 years. During that lifespan, your roof may sustain damage from high winds and hail and endure other common roofing problems, like broken shingles or tree damage. However, this doesn’t mean you have to replace the entire roof. Learn more about DIY roofing repair or hire a professional roofing company to help.
When to Repair vs. Replace Your Roof
Whether you repair or replace your roof depends on several factors, including the type of damage and the overall percentage of the total roof surface in need of repair. Here are some signs that your roof needs to be repaired:
- Curled, cracked, or missing shingles—This indicates that the shingles are nearing the end of their lifespan and need to be replaced. This is typically a problem with older roofs.
- Dirty or dark shingles—This usually indicates trapped moisture on your roof and may be a sign of mold or mildew.
- Shingle pieces or granules in gutters—As asphalt and composite shingles start to wear out, they will shed their granules. These granules will look like coarse, black sand laying in your gutter.
- Deteriorated flashings—Check the flashing at the edges of the roof and around skylights, chimneys, and plumbing vent pipes for any signs of damage or deterioration.
- Water stains on interior ceilings or walls—Water stains on interior walls or ceilings are common signs of a leaky roof. This may be caused by water trapped in your roof’s underlayment.
- Damage in the attic—This includes any signs of water damage, visible light on the roof, or sagging decking or rafters.
- Higher energy bills—If your monthly energy bills are higher than normal, it’s time to inspect your roof for damage.
Get your roof repaired today:
How Much Does Roof Repair Cost?
Keeping your roof in good repair can prolong the need for full roof replacement. On a moderate-sized home of 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, the average homeowner can spend between $300 and $1,100 to repair an asphalt-shingled roof. There are several other factors that impact the final cost of a roof repair:
- Where you live, zip code
- Type of roof
- Size of roof
- Pitch and slope of the roof
- Underlayments and flashing
- Existing water damage
- Chimneys and skylights
- Cost of permits
As with any DIY home repair, the full extent of damage can not always be determined before you start the job. The biggest hidden cost is extensive water damage. Often, water damage isn’t noticed until after the shingles are removed and the deck is exposed.
Before you tackle a repair, conduct a thorough inspection of the damaged area. Do you see flashing? Are shingles missing or damaged? Look in your attic and check for signs of leaks.
Taking the time to access the damage will determine if the job needs to be completed by a professional or not.
Roof Repair Costs by Material
The final cost of a roof repair will depend on the type of roof and other architectural elements. Here are the common repairs and average costs for popular roofing materials:
|Roof type||Common repairs||Cost|
|Slate||Broken roof tiles||$200–$300 per square foot|
|Metal||Cracked flashings and/or loose seams||$400 for flashing|
$45–$75 per hour to repair seams
|Asphalt (3-tab or architectural)||Wind and hail damage, loose nails, and curling||$150–$400|
|Wooden and shakes||Rot, moss build-up, splitting, and leaks||$650–$1,100 per square foot|
|Composite, synthetic, or plastic polymer||Color fading and brittleness due to UV rays||$450|
|Solar glass||Broken glass||$400–$600|
How to Repair Your Roof
A roof will experience natural wear and tear over the course of its lifespan. By keeping up with roof repair maintenance, you can prevent major structural problems in your home. However, there are some repairs that are best for professionals to handle. Slate, composite or rubber roof, wood, and metal roofs require additional tools and skills and it’s recommended that you hire a professional to make repairs to those roofing types.
Asphalt shingles are the most popular used material in residential roofing. The good news is there are several minor DIY roof repairs you can do on an asphalt roof. For minor repairs like replacing a shingle or patching a hole, you’ll only need an afternoon to complete the job.
Before you begin any repair work, have a professional inspect your roof. This will help determine if the underlayment or decking is damaged. If the damage is extensive, it’s more cost-effective to replace the entire roof.
- Roof jack and harness
- Tool belt
- Pry bar or shingle ripper
- Asphalt shingles
- Shingle/roof cement
- Cement adhesive
- Never do roof work alone.
- Wear the proper safety gear to prevent injury.
- Have your tools within reach to avoid awkward body positions.
- Use a secure, sturdy ladder when climbing up to the roof, and have a helper secure the ladder at the base while standing on it.
- Always walk slowly on a roof and secure your footing before taking another step.
- It’s hot on the roof—pick a cool morning (or find a time when the weather is cool) to work if you can.
How to Replace a Damaged Asphalt Shingle:
- Secure your ladder and roof jack—Make sure your ladder is level and secure before climbing onto the roof. Secure your roof jack in place before you begin working.
- Assess the damage—Find the damaged shingles to determine how many new shingles will be needed. Look around the roof to check for cracked or loose shingles. Secure these in place with a cement adhesive.
- Check the damaged area—Check the area for seepage or pooling water signs.
- Loosen the adhesive—Start two rows above the damaged roof area. Use the pry bar to loosen under the tabs.
- Remove the exposed nails—Use the pry bar or hammer to loosen and remove the nails.
- Work your way to the damage—Continue to loosen and remove shingles until you get to the ones that need replacement. Remove the damaged shingles until you’ve removed all the shingles.
- Inspect the underlayment—Make sure there’s no extensive water damage in the area under the shingle.
- Install the new shingle—Lay a new shingle in place of the shingle you removed. Glue or remove the adhesive strip from the back of the shingle and push it into place. Nail the shingle into the roof for optimal sturdiness (most shingles have pre-cut holes for nails.)
- Seal the edges—Slightly lift each tab and apply a one-inch dab of shingle cement under each tab. Press the tabs to secure the shingle into place.
- Continue installing shingles—Repeat until you’ve installed all the damaged shingles and replaced the shingles in the two rows above that you removed.
Common Roof Repairs and the Cost
|Broken or missing shingles||$30 and up (depending on the type of shingles)|
|Flashing around the chimney||$200–$500|
When to Hire a Roofing Contractor or Company
The decision to hire a roofing contractor isn’t always an easy choice. Whether you repair or hire depends on various factors like the location of the damage, the time and skill needed to do the repair, and the overall percentage of damage. Most insurance companies advise that if more than 25% of your total roof surface is damaged, you must replace the whole roof (which will require a contractor).
Not taking the time to find the best contractor can result in a poor job and costly roof repairs. Consider these questions before making a hiring decision:
- What is the roofing company’s full name and address? A reputable company will have a physical location.
- Is the roofing company insured? The contractor should have workman’s compensation and liability insurance to protect the homeowner in the case of an accident.
- Does the contractor use subcontractors? Find out if any or part of the job will be performed by a subcontractor. If so, the subcontractor needs to be insured.
- Does the roofing company have references? A reputable contractor will gladly give you as many references as needed.
- Is there a roof warranty included? A good roofing company always guarantees their work.
How to Keep Your Roof From Getting Damaged
Once your roof is repaired or replaced, you should carry out regularly scheduled roof inspections and maintenance to catch problems before they lead to major ones. Here are a few ways to maintain a healthy roof:
- Look for missing or damaged shingles and repair them as needed
- Replace the roof sealant as needed
- Keep branches away from the roof and trim them on a regular basis
- Keep gutters clear and clean
- Maintain your chimney and skylights
- Prevent ice dams (ice build-up on the eaves of sloped roofs)
- Look for any signs of rust on metal components
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the average cost to repair a roof?
The average cost for minor roof repairs ranges from $200 to $300 for an asphalt roof. Other materials such as metal, slate, wood, or glass solar panels can cost more.
How much does it cost to replace an entire roof?
The average national roofing cost to install a new asphalt roof is about $6,000–8,000 for 1,500 square feet.
How much does a roofer typically charge per hour?
The average hourly rate for roofers runs from $50 to $80 per hour, depending on the complexity of the job.
Is a roof leak considered an emergency?
Discolored ceilings and walls from water seeping into your home from the roof is a sign that your roof needs to be repaired. You need to take immediate action to avoid further damage to your home.
Can you fix a roof from the inside?
You can temporarily patch a hole in your roof from the inside (usually in the attic). This works only in the event of an emergency and is a temporary fix. You will need to hire a professional to inspect the leak to determine the extent of the damage.
What kind of roof damage is covered by insurance?
Most homeowner insurance policies provide coverage for roof damage caused by unpreventable reasons such as vandalism or fire. Other natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, wind, rain, and hail are also covered. Coverage will depend on the age of your roof, the area you live in, and other factors—refer to your policy for the extent of coverage.
Today's Homeowner Roofing Methodology (Roofing Type)
Arranging for a home repair of this scale is going to be a fairly involved project. If you haven’t conducted renovations like this – either via a contractor or on your own – then it can be a bit overwhelming. At Today's Homeowner, we pride ourselves on being able to take all of the guesswork out of the equation for you.
We’ve thoroughly evaluated each roofing type to make your selection process easier. Through exhaustive research into hundreds of different roofing providers throughout the United States and analyses of thousands of individual homeowner experiences, we’ve broken our roof rating system down into the following categories.
All roofs receive an aggregate rating between (0.0) and (1.0). This rating is comprised of six key evaluation criteria, which we’ve outlined below. The rating between (0.0) and (1.0) will correspond to a secondary rating out of five stars, which is displayed more visibly in our articles across this category.
- Durability (.40): With roofs being constantly exposed to the elements, different materials’ relative durability is a key metric that must be considered. If you’re planning on conducting such an extensive upgrade to your home, then your roof’s expected lifespan should be among your primary concerns. We’ve weighed the relative effectiveness of all roofing materials, from asphalt shingles to corrugated metal roofing from different manufacturers in order to determine the most long-lasting options.
- Cost (.25): The nationwide average cost for replacing a 1,500-square-foot roof falls between $6,500 and $16,000. Across the board, you should expect to pay between $4 and $11 per square foot of roofing material. This range will account for your location, material choice and availability, ease of access to and installation of your roof, and far more.
- Contractor Availability (.13): Different roofing contractors in different locales will have varied service offerings. For example, not all roofers are equipped with the requisite skillset and knowledge to install metal roofing. Depending on the kind of roof you want to have installed, your contractor options may be somewhat limited.
- Warranty Offerings (.12): Aside from workmanship warranties, many roofing manufacturers will offer warranties for the panels themselves. Structural failure should be covered by any manufacturing firm for at least 10 years after the installation has been completed, at the panel or shingle’s full value. We grade each roofing type by standard warranty offerings to ensure that you’re covered in this case.
- Ease of Future Maintenance and Upgrades (.05): You should always have contingency plans after any home upgrade. Maintenance is inevitable, no matter the material you use. Whether you’re installing solar panels on a functional existing roof, or are simply replacing a defective panel or shingle, certain materials will be easier to work with than others. Typically, less durable materials will score higher in this category due to their better pliability and workability.
- Customization Options (.05): Any exterior and visible home upgrade is going to have an aesthetic element, aside from functionality. A roof replacement should be an upgrade to the curb appeal of your home. Different types of roofing materials will have varying numbers of style and color options, which factor into our rating.