When you discover a freshwater stain on your ceiling or you hear a loud thump on your roof, your first instinct may be to curl up under a soft blanket, or grab a bucket or bowl and look for a possible leak.
Replacing a roof costs thousands of dollars and most homeowners haven’t budgeted for a problem that size, but it is important to address whatever issues arise overhead.
A leak or a fallen tree branch doesn’t always signal extreme damage. Your fix could be as simple as installing a few new shingles or replacing the flashing. According to a survey of more than 38,000 homeowners, the average roof repair costs about $800. This is much more affordable than the $7,000 average for an entirely new roof. Depending on your issue, you could pay as little as $10 for the material.
Take a look at the following guide to mendable roof damage, then check for yourself or call a professional to see if yours is an easy fix.
Disclaimer: Working on a roof is very dangerous and must be handled with extreme caution. If you are uncomfortable and don’t feel safe, it is always worth it to hire a contractor.
Flashing is the material that protects the crease between fixtures like chimneys or skylights and the roof. It is usually made of sheet metal or plastic. There is also flashing for the venting pipes under your roofing material. If the flashing is cracked, loose or worn, the area around these fixtures will be vulnerable to rain and moisture.
Solution: ($20) Remove and replace with new flashing. Some surrounding materials, such as shingles, will need to be lifted away for removal and installation.
A sealant is used with flashing and around the edges of skylights. Cracked and aged sealant will not be able to do its job, resulting in a leak.
Solution: ($6 per tube of flashing sealant) Re-caulk or apply new tar. You will likely need to remove surrounding materials temporarily, to effectively apply the sealant.
Weather, falling branches and animals can create significant holes and punctures in your roofing material. These repairs are best handled by professional roofers, as they involve more steps and may demand to reframe part of the roof itself.
Solution: ($300-$1,000 labour and materials) After your roofer has done any necessary reframing, they will install a layer of sheathing, then felt paper followed by shingles. You may be tempted to cover the hole with a temporary material or, if it is small enough, seal it up with roofing caulk, but this will only allow moisture to seep through and create larger problems.
Damaged Vent Boot
This component seals the area around your vents against moisture, much like flashing seals other parts of your roof. A damaged vent boot could be the source of your leak.
Solution: ($10-$20 materials) Remove and replace the vent boot. This will involve lifting away surrounding materials, as well as nailing and caulking the boot.
Damaged or Missing Shingles
It is common to discover a few damaged or missing shingles, as a number of external factors act against them.
● Strong weather blows them off or pries them loose.
● Their protective surface granules wear away.
● Animal activity cracks and breaks them.
● Hail cracks and breaks them.
● Ice dams and pooling water weigh on them.
Solution: ($30 per bundle) Remove the old shingles and replace them with new ones. In the case of ice dams and pooling water, once you have replaced your shingles, you’ll want to be proactive to prevent future damage. Remove snow to prevent ice dams and keep your gutters clean for proper drainage.
Corroded Vertical Slits
The slit between each roofing tile is a vulnerable area and can easily corrode. As water runs through these slits, it exposes the underlying roofing materials more and more.
Solution: ($30 per bundle) Replace the corroded shingles as soon as possible to prevent further damage.
Leaks and aesthetic damage can usually be fixed without overhauling your entire roof. However, there are times when installing a new roof is a wise investment—such as before listing your home. You should have your roof inspected for quality if it is 20 to 25 years old or if it is leaking in multiple places.