Right off the bat, it will cost anywhere from $350 to $3,200+ to identify and fix the common causes of roof leaks. Granted, this is a rather wide range, but the cost of most roofing repairs depends on the overall scope and complexity of the job.
For example, fixing a small leak and replacing damaged shingles will typically cost between $350 to $1,500, depending on the size of the area affected, and whether the impacted shingles are made of asphalt or wood/cedar.
Repairing a roof flashing around a chimney, skylight, or other protrusion typically costs $400 for a “spot fix” to $1,500 or more for total flashing replacement. Re-sealing a skylight costs around $600 to $900.
When water damage occurs and the roof deck must be repaired before the roof covering above it is replaced, the cost ranges from $1,800 to $3,200 and possibly more. The best approach for you is to catch a leak quickly to minimize the damage and expense.
Cost to Repair Roof Leak and Repair Options
Roof leaks have many causes and costs, though a rough breakdown in cost looks like this:
Minor Repairs / 2-5 hours: $375 to $950
Average Repairs / 4-8 hours: $750 to $1,900
Major Repairs / 1-3 days: $1,450 – $3,200
Repairing Damaged or Missing Shingles, Shakes or Tiles
Wind, hail, failing or blowing debris and poor installation are all causes of damaged and missing shingles, wood shakes or clay/concrete tiles.
All affected shingles or tiles should be removed and replaced as soon as possible.
Short-term: However, if an autumn storm does the damage, and you’re planning to replace the roof in the spring, covering the damage in roofing tar as a temporary fix might work. Some contractors might also suggest tarping the roof, when the damage is widespread, until a new roof can be installed.
Long-term: The most reliable repair is to remove all damaged materials and replace them “right now.” The risk of tarring or tarping the roof is that it might leave the area susceptible to further damage from water penetrating the quick fix. And water damage makes any home repair cost skyrocket.
The roofing underlayment should be carefully inspected for damage – and replaced if so.
The cost to repair damaged or missing shingles, tiles or shakes is $350 to $1,500, with most homeowners paying $450 to $1,000.
The cost factors are the type of roofing material and the size of the damage. In order of cost from least to most expensive repairs are asphalt shingles, composite or metal shingles, wood shakes and concrete or clay tiles costing the most to fix.
Cost per square foot is $25 to $40 plus materials. Most roofing contractors have a minimum fee of $250 to come to your home for any size repair. The fee typically covers the first hour of labor.
Repairing Roof Flashing Leaks
Metal flashing is one of the most critical defenses against roof leaks. You will find flashing around a chimney, skylights, dormers, and where an upper story wall and the roof join. It extends up the vertical surface, bends, and travels beneath the roofing by several inches.
The flashing blocks water and channels it away from openings in the roof that allow for chimney, dormer, or wall installation. Age, the house settling, storms and failing tree debris are causes of damage.
Flashing that is bent out of its normal shape must be replaced. Loose and displaced flashing in good condition can be put back in place.
Once the flashing is in place, it is held to the roof deck with roofing cement and might be caulked at all seams.
If roofing material around the flashing is damaged or must be removed to install fresh flashing, there will be additional costs.
Replacing a small section of step flashing starts at about $350 for a couple hours of work. If the flashing all around a chimney or dormer or along the full length of an exterior wall must be replaced, cost ranges from $800 to $1,500 on most homes.
The cost is based on the total amount of flashing plus the cost of the roofing material. In other words, replacing flashing on an asphalt shingle roof costs less than if the roof material is costlier wood, metal, or slate.
Replacing Cracked Vent Boot
Most roofs have at least a few vents that are surrounded by a rubber boot that extends under the roofing material. They’re essential to preventing water damage.
Vent boots dry out and crack with age. Falling limbs and animals will damage them too.
Repair is not an option – only replacement. The roofing shingles or shakes covering the boot are removed along with the damaged boot. A new boot is installed and fastened to the roof deck. The best practice is then to replace the material you removed with new material.
Total repair cost is $350 to $500 based on the roofing material and cost of the boot. Boots range in cost from $20 for a basic boot to $100 for a high-temperature boot for a furnace vent. Labor and the cost of roofing material accounts for the rest of the cost to replace a roofing boot.
Skylight Leak Repair
These roof structures have a reputation for leaks.
And once a leak occurs, the entire frame of the skylight should be exposed. The flashing should be examined and repaired if necessary, and the skylight resealed.
To make the inspection and seal a skylight, you’ll need to remove the shingles, shakes or tiles closest to the perimeter of the skylight.
This job offers tempting shortcuts, like caulking up the entire perimeter of the skylight and hoping that does the job. For example, Roofing Calculator suggests that doing this will cost several hundred dollars – but that will not stop most skylight leaks, at least not for long. The contractor gets paid and disappears, and a month later, you’ve got a leak again.
Flashing: But as noted, and worth repeating, the best approach is to totally expose the skylight as if you were going to remove it, and then address the various levels of moisture barriers. The roofing cement holding the flashing in place should also be checked, and loose material should be removed, and a fresh coat of cement should be applied.
Caulk: If the flashing (see repair cost above) is in good shape, then the opening might only need to be sealed with high-performance elastomeric roofing caulk.
Old, dried out and cracked caulk must be removed and the area cleaned to create good adhesion of the new caulk.
Where caulk is missing, dig a little deeper to find out if water damage has occurred in the structure beneath the roofing material. If so, check out the section below on the cost to repair and replace roof decking.
Gasket: If the skylight has a weatherstripping gasket, it should be replaced too. This might require partially disassembling the skylight, such as taking off the operable sash, replacing the weatherstripping and reinstalling the sash.
As you can see, this job takes quite a bit of labor, and material costs are significant too.
Cost for a thorough inspection and minor repairs starts around $500. When the skylight is entirely refurbished and new roofing is installed immediately around it, the cost will rise to $1,500 to $3,500.
Chimney Leak Repair (Leaks around the chimney)
The larger the protrusion through the roof, the more potential for leaks, and the more destructive they can be. And chimneys are large structures.
Any repair begins with a thorough inspection of the flashing and roofing around the chimney and the peaked chimney cricket on the upslope side of the chimney.
If displaced flashing is found, for example, the contractor notes it and continues the inspection. Repairing the flashing and calling it “good” should not be the end of the job!
The entire chimney structure should be examined whether it is brick (missing mortar, spalling/cracked bricks, damaged crown) or a steel flue supported by a wood structure covered in vinyl siding.
Price is $400 to $750 for a full inspection and minor repairs such as fixing a few areas of the flashing.
Cost rises to $1,400 to $2,500 when the entire chimney structure is exposed by removing the roof material around it, new flashing is cemented into place and caulked and new roofing is installed around the chimney. Estimates are based on the size of the chimney footprint and the type of roofing.
Chimney not included! Repairing or replacing a brick chimney is a whole separate cost, usually well above $3,000.
Roof Leaks Caused by Ice Dams
Poorly insulated attics allow heat to escape through the roof in winter. Snow melts, runs to the unheated roof eave where it freezes. And the dam is formed.
As water continues to run down the roof, it is forced back up the slope and under shingles or tiles. It saturates the underlayment and eventually penetrates through the deck and into your home.
- The immediate need is to remove the ice dam from the roof, and most homeowners aren’t equipped to do it without damaging the roof below. A shovel or pick is not the right tool for the job.If this is a first-time problem, which is unlikely, the damage to the roof might be minimal.
- The next steps can be done in any order depending on the time of year.The second step is to inspect the roof and repair any damage to the roof deck, underlayment and roofing material that is found. Ice barrier should always be run horizontally along the eaves.If the roof is clearly damaged but the contractor recommends waiting until spring to make repairs, the affected roof should be securely tarped up and over the peak to prevent further damage.
- Step three is to add insulation to the attic to prevent future heat loss and ice buildup. The US DOE recommends a minimum of R30 attic insulation in warm climates and R38 to R60 everywhere else.
Those numbers represent a boost of R8 to R11 from the recommendations the Department of Energy gave in 2009, so your home’s attic insulation might not meet current DOE recommendations.
The cost to have a roofer remove ice without damaging the roof is $250 to $500 based on roof size. If you sign a contract for a new roof or major repairs, the cost of ice dam removal might be $0.
Cost can easily rise to $1,500 to more than $3,000 when a large section of roof is impacted and rotten roof deck suffers must be replaced.
Repairing Leaks in Valleys
Steep roofs, 6/12 to 12/12 pitch for example, and heavy rains channel a lot of fast-moving water into the valleys in any roof.
Water can easily be forced beneath shingles from the side. From there, a leak is very likely, especially if the roofer cut a corner and didn’t install extra material in the valley or if the water barrier that was installed was damaged during installation.
There’s no way around it. Roofing tar in the valley is not a repair option, not even in the short run. Tarp the roof if the repair can’t be made immediately.
Instead of a quick fix, the roofing materials running along the valley have to be removed down to the roof deck. And the deck should be inspected for rot.
The entire valley, peak to eave, must be reroofed with a wider, high-quality moisture barrier.
New shingles and shakes should be used to complete the project, while slate and concrete or clay tiles might be reusable.
$750 to $1,800 per valley. This is a labor-intensive job.
Is the roof installation under warranty? Most roofing contractors with integrity offer a 12–24-month warranty on their workmanship.
Unless your leak is a result of a “once every 5- or 10-year rains,” then a poorly roofed valley should leak before the roofer’s workmanship warranty expires. In such cases, expect the roofer to repair the valley as indicated above.
Should I buy an extended workmanship warranty? That’s a fair question since some roofing companies and manufacturers offer them from 5 to 25 years.
If a 5-year warranty is less than 40 cents per square foot of roofing, then consider buying it. The warranty should only come into effect once the initial workmanship warranty of 12-24 months expires. Any issues with improper installation should become obvious within 5 years, so an extended workmanship warranty beyond 5 years is a waste of money.
Note: The warranty on the roofing materials probably won’t come into play. Valley leaks are almost always a result of workmanship errors. And we could probably delete “almost.”
Repairing the Roof Deck / Replacing Roof Deck Sheets
The roof deck is the wood beneath the material that covers your home. The decking is usually plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). An older home might have plank decking, but nobody installs it new today.
Damage to the roof deck is a worst-case-scenario result of all the common causes of roof leaks explored above. When the issue is prolonged, damage to the roof trusses can occur too, though it is rare.
The roofing materials covering and immediately around the damaged area should be removed – shingles, shakes, tiles, metal, etc. plus the underlayment.
Minor repairs: small holes can be patched and sealed. At times, even with a small hole, it is best to cut out the entire wood sheet from the center of one truss to the center of the next. Then, a new section of decking can be installed and fastened to the trusses.
Fresh underlayment is used along with fresh asphalt, wood, or metal shingles. Slate, concrete, and clay tiles can often be reused.
Major repairs: When the damage is larger, the affected sheets of roof decking should be removed and replaced.
An option here is to replace the entire roof. This would involve tearing off the old roofing material, replacing damaged deck sheets, and installing the new roof.
Replacement: $9 to $14/square foot. Depending on how much of the deck is replaced, your cost would be $9.00 to $14.00 per square foot for most materials.
Repair: $15 to $22/square foot. Repairing a smaller section and trying to blend it into the old roof structure runs $15.00 to $22.00 per square foot. Get estimates for both roof repair and roof replacement and consider the age of your roof to determine which is the right decision for your project.
Note: Any major roof repairs should be made in compliance with the latest International Building Code, or IBC.
Roof Leak Repair by Roofing Material Type
Repairing a slate or steel roof usually costs more than repairs to a roof covered with asphalt shingles. Wood, composite, and metal shakes are usually somewhere in the middle. Here are roof leak repair costs by roofing material.
Asphalt shingles: $7.50 – $15.00 per square foot
Composite shingles, shakes or slates: $12.50 – $18.50 per square foot
Steel or aluminum shingles: $12.50 – $25.00 per square foot
Wood shingles or shakes: $12.50 – $18.50 per square foot
Clay or concrete tiles: $15.00 – $25.00 per square foot
Slate tile: $15.00 – $30.00 per square foot
Steel or aluminum standing seam panel roofing: $12.50 – $25.00 depending on whether the panel can be effectively repaired or must be removed and replaced
Deck repair cost alone is $4.00 to $6.50 per square foot in addition to the costs in the list above.
How much to replace missing shingles?
$7.50 to $25.00 per square foot. Asphalt shingles are cheaper to replace than composite, wood, or steel shingles.
Can you replace just a few shingles?
Yes. When damage is limited to a small area, a skilled roofer can replace and nicely blend any number of shingles.
How much to fix roof flashing?
$350 for a minor repair up to $1,500 to repair flashing around a chimney.
How much to repair metal roof?
$12.50 to $20.00 per square foot and up to $25.00 per square foot for metal panel replacement.
How do you find where your roof is leaking?
Find water damage signs inside your attic. The damage will be a water stain or rusted nails.
The leak is likely very near that spot or up from that location toward the peak. Measure the distance from the water stain to the peak.
When on the roof, measure the same distance down from the peak, and begin looking for signs of damage there or upward toward the peak. Gently lift shingles to look and feel under them for signs of water. If you find moisture, keep working upward to determine which shingles are affected.
Also look for roofing shingles, flashing or caulk that is damaged, missing or loose.
How often should you check your roof?
Inspect your roof at least annually when it is 10 years old or less. After that, at least two inspections a year are wise.
Also check your roof after major storms involving high winds, hail, windblown debris or exceptionally heavy rainfall.
Does homeowner’s insurance cover roof leaks?
Yes, in many cases. When repair cost is well above your insurance deductible, then it is worth making an insurance claim.