Even the smallest of roof leaks can be stressful. But it's not the actual roof leak that causes the worrying. It’s the damage that the water may cause if it doesn’t get attended to fast.
If you are like most homeowners the first thing that pops into your head when something around the house breaks is, “How much is this going to cost me?”
Here’s the thing, we see several marketing companies talking about leak repair costs. Throwing random numbers out here, numbers that aren’t even close to the costs. They probably do it because hardly any roofing companies discuss their prices online. So we decided we'll tackle this one, right here, with you today.
Here at RoofCrafters, we want to be upfront and address all the questions and concerns you may have about roof leaks. Being transparent with our clients is how we stayed in business for 3 decades.
In this article, we'll cover the following:
What causes roof leaks
What impacts the cost of roof leak repairs
The 7 most common roof leaks
What’s required to repair those 7 roof leaks
How much a roof leak repair should cost you
And by the end of this article, hopefully, you’ll have a better understanding of roof leaks and what you may need to pay to get your roof leak taken care of.
What Causes a Roof to Leak?
Many factors can lead to a leaky roof. Improper installation, age of the roof, debris, and storm damage are the main factors that we see that cause leaks to occur. We'll cover these causes in the sections below, so keep reading to learn more.
It starts at the beginning, the day your roof was originally installed. If the roofers who installed the roof didn't install it properly the chances of the roof developing a leak in the future become extremely high. Even if they made the slightest of errors. This is why it is so important to only trust a local reputable roofing company to handle your new roof or replacement project.
Signs of improper roof installation include:
Gaps in the roof
Lack of symmetry
Holes in roof
It's also common now to drill holes through roofing to mount satellite dishes, solar panels, or rooftop HVAC units. In any case, these holes allow moisture to seep into the roof and collect below the shingles, causing mold, mildew, and leaks.
Age of Your Roof
Another cause of roof leaks is the age of your roof. Just like people, roofs have their prime years too! The changes in weather cause expansion and contracting and that can have a toll on an aging roof. Once they extend past the timeframe in which they're fully functional, you can expect a rapid deterioration of the roofing materials and components. This can cause your roof to spring a leak.
Debris and Lack of Roof Maintenance
Falling objects, debris, and build-up on your roof are bound to cause a leak. When heavy objects are left to sit on your roof for a considerable amount of time, they begin to cause premature deterioration and damage.
Storm damage is one of the most common causes of roof leaks. Heavy winds, rain, and hail can cause roofing material to decompose and eventually collapse. After a big storm, be sure to check your roof for any damage in order to prevent a possible leak.
As homeowners, it is important to properly maintain our roofs. If we don’t take care of our roofs, they’ll stop taking care of us. Leaks are common when your roof isn’t properly maintained. Your insurance policy doesn't cover poor maintenance. So, remember to do routine roof maintenance at least once or maybe even twice a year, and reach out to a professional if you suspect a leak.
What Impacts the Cost of Repairing a Roof Leak?
It's important to understand what type of roof you have before understanding the cost of the repairs. Broadly, there are two types of roofs; low-slope roofs and steep roofs.
The expenses incurred fixing a roof leak greatly depend on the material used. The square footage that needs to be repaired and the time or labor required to fix it. All of these factors combined will impact the cost of the repair.
Roofs are of different materials such as:
Each roofing material has a different installation and repair cost. The type of material on your home and the condition of that material. The difficulty or the steepness of the roof, and the complexity are the main factors that change the cost to repair your leaky roof.
The most common material used in residential homes is asphalt shingles. We’ve compiled a list of 7 common causes of roof leaks on asphalt shingles and the average cost to make the repairs needed to stop those leaks.
7 Common Causes of Roof Leaks (how to repair and the cost)
Pipe boot failure
Metal pipe collar failure (gas vents & hot water heaters)
Skylight Failure (seals broken or improperly flashed)
Roof-to-wall flashing leaking
Nails pop (nails backing up through the shingle)
1. Pipe Boots Leaking
Pipe boots are flashings that are installed around plumbing pipes that come out through the roof. These special boot flashings are designed to seal around the pipe and flash the roofing materials.
Most pipe boots come in a plastic or metal base material with a neoprene rubber gasket that seals the pipe. Lead pipe boots are another popular choice because they don’t require rubber gaskets that fail due to dry rot.
How is the pipe boot leak repaired?
Depending on the material and what is causing the leak; the rubber gasket can be replaced separately if it's failing. If it’s leaking at the metal or plastic boot that flashes the shingles, the entire pipe boot will need to be replaced. This means removing a few shingles around the pipe boot flashing. Installing a new pipe boot and installing new shingles.
How much does it cost to repair a pipe boot?
You can expect to pay between $750 and $1,250 for most pipe boot repairs. The cost will vary depending on how steep or difficult it is to walk on the roof. Also, depending on which type of service you need. A complete replacement of the pipe boot with shingles or replacing the rubber gasket.
2. Metal Pipe Collar Failure
Metal pipe collars are used to vent gas furnaces, hot water heaters, dryers, and other mechanical equipment. This equipment is usually located inside your home in the attic. Metal pipe collars consist of four parts; the base flashing, a metal pipe, a storm collar, and a rain cap. One or all of the mentioned parts can fail to cause a leak.
How is the metal pipe collar leak repaired?
The rain cap, storm collar, and metal pipe can be repaired separately as needed. By removing those parts individually and replacing them with new parts. If the base flashing is leaking all of the parts will need to be removed along with the shingles around the metal pipe collar. Install a new base flashing and new shingles. Then replace the metal pipe, storm collar, and rain cap. Apply sealant to the storm collar where it meets the pipe.
It’s also very important that your roofer goes inside the attic to make sure the pipe is connected to remove dangerous carbon monoxide fumes.
How much does it cost to repair a metal pipe collar?
You can expect to pay between $950 and $1,650 for a metal pipe collar repair or replacement. The cost varies mostly depending on the steepness of the roof and the condition of the shingles around the pipe that your roofer will need to repair.
3. Leaking Valleys
.A valley is where 2 sections on your roof intersect. This creates a path that allows water to shed off the roof freely. It is a very important part of the roof being able to function properly. Valleys get a high volume of water every time it rains
How is a leaking valley repaired?
A valley can be patched by removing the shingles on the left and right sides of the valley. Starting at the top of the roof and working down to the edge of the gutter or roofline. Remove any metal flashing, underlayments, and rotten wood decking. Then to put the valley back together; replace the wood as needed, install new ice and water shield underlayment, and install new shingles. It’s extremely important that you pay close attention when tying into the old shingles.
How much does it cost to repair a leaking valley?
You can expect to pay between $1550 and $3200 to repair a leaking valley. The length of the valley and the steepness of the roof will impact the final cost of this roof patch.
4. Chimney Leak
A leak happening around a chimney can be multiple things. The sealant that seals the flashing to the exterior of the chimney could be failing. The exterior material of the chimney itself could also be the cause of the leak. Exterior materials such as rotted wood siding, cracks in the stucco, or missing brick mortar. The flashing where the shingles meet the base of the chimney is one of the most common areas where a chimney fails. A chimney leak could be coming in from a rusted chimney cap.
Because a chimney can have multiple things fail. If the source of the leak is not clear, it’s best to perform a water test. By starting at the base of the chimney flashing and shingles and slowly working up to the exterior materials and lastly the cap.
How is the chimney flashing repaired?
There will be multiple ways to repair a leaky chimney depending on what is the cause of the leak. The chimney cap can be replaced. The flashing can be resealed. The exterior siding can be replaced, painted, or resealed depending on which material are on the chimney. The shingles and flashing at the base of the chimney can be removed and replaced.
How much does a chimney leak repair cost?
Chimney repairs range between $1,650 and $4,200 depending on all the different factors discussed above. The complexity of the repair will have the greatest impact on the cost.
5. Skylight Failure
Skylights can be your best friend letting much-needed natural light inside a dark room. Or the fresh air. However, they can quickly become your worst nightmare should one leak. The majority of skylight failures are from poor installation. The flashing gets improperly installed or the roofer will make an error where the shingles meet the flashing. However, the seal on the skylights does go bad too.
How is a skylight leak repaired?
Depending on the cause of the leak, the skylight will either be repaired by removing the shingles at the flashing. Then repair the flashing and install new shingles as needed. Or it can be repaired by replacing the entire skylight. This requires removing the shingles from around the skylight and removing the old skylight. Furnishing and installing a new one to fit the hole and new shingles.
How much does a skylight repair cost?
You can expect to pay between $1,825 and $3,900 per skylight. Skylight comes in a variety of sizes. It varies because skylights can be ordered with features. Such as manual or solar-powered remote control blinds or opening skylights for venting purposes.
Roof leaks often happen at roof-to-wall transitions. This could be around dormers or sections of a home with an upper and lower roof section that is separated by walls. Between your home and garage is an area that sometimes creates a roof-to-wall transition that we get called out to inspect because of leaks.
Any area that has a wall detail that requires a roofer to install metal flashing. Sometimes the metal fails because of rust. Often times its human error when a roofer is installing the flashing or shingles.
How is a roof-to-wall flashing repaired?
The shingles and flashing have to be removed. If the wall has cedar, Hardi-plank, or vinyl siding this requires removing the siding first. With stucco or brick, the repair can be done by using 2 pieces of flashing and new shingles.
How much does a roof-to-wall flashing repair cost?
You can expect to pay between $1,550 and $3,800 for this repair. It will vary depending on the difficulty, the size of the wall, and the type of siding that you have on the wall. If it is a very small wall and not a steep roof, it could be less.
7. Nail-Pop Leaks
Nail pops occur when our homes have a lot of thermal movement. As the weather goes from hot to cold and back to hot the roofing materials expand and contract. This thermal movement can cause nails to back out.
Improperly driven nails can cause nail pops too. Nails that have been under-driven, put in sideways or crooked, can back out causing damage to the shingles. They cause smaller leaks but over time water will find its way in through these nail pops if they are not fixed.
How is a nail pop leak fixed?
Nail pops will need to be pulled out. This will require breaking the seal on the shingles and prying the nail the rest of the way out. Depending on the extent of the damage it caused to the shingle, the shingle may need to be replaced. However, if the damage is minimal a repair can be done by applying roofing cement under the shingle directly over the nail hole.
How much does and nail pop cost to repair?
You can expect to pay around $550 for this repair. However, if the roof has extensive damage due to nail pops this number will increase. Improper nailing can also result in the roof needing to be completely replaced instead of repaired.
Can I Afford to Repair My Roof Leak?
Obviously, roof leaks are a pain to deal with. They’re untimely, expensive, and can cause interior damage to your home. Roof leaks are all of these things and more, but that doesn’t mean you have to let the cost of their repairs cause you stress. Let’s face it, life is already stressful enough without things going wrong.
Your budget should always be important when it comes to any big home improvement project. Any reputable roofing company will allow you to finance your roof repair if you don’t have the funds available to pay in full right away. It is important that the leak gets fixed properly, right away.
Hire an Experienced Roof Repair Contractor
Whatever the reason may be, there is nothing wrong with wanting to fix a problem on your own, we’ve all been there! However, for your safety, as well as the safety of your home, it may be best to call in a professional to come and help you instead. Think of it this way: would you trust someone not trained in your field of interest to take over your job? You wouldn’t, would you? At RoofCrafters, we feel the same way.
Additionally, roof repairs done by professional roofers come with a workmanship warranty. Say the repair doesn’t last as long as stated by the professionals. Any issues that occur within the workmanship warranty period will be addressed for you free of cost. While doing it yourself might seem like a good idea. You could potentially lose your insurance coverage as well as the peace of mind of having a warranty on the repairs.
In the long run, it’s better to leave any roof repairs to experienced professionals. You can save yourself time, money, and possible injuries and instead contact our family at RoofCraftersfor all your roof service needs. We are always here to help, whether it's just answering a few questions you may have, or coming out for a repair inspection.
We’ve also put together a hiring checklist to help you better understand the qualities so that you know what to look for in a roof repair contractor. It also has some questions along with the answers so you can better interview your potential repair contractor.
My name is David Toth and I am the lead estimator in North Florida with RoofCrafters Roofing. Originally from New Brunswick, I have called Florida home for the past 47 years. I enjoy cooking along with traveling to different historical areas in Florida when I have free time.