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Picture this: You come home to find a puddle of water on the floor.

First, you get some towels to sop up the mess. While you’re cleaning up, you feel something drip right on your head. It’s obvious now — your roof has a leak.

At first, it may not seem like a huge problem. After all, most leaks show up as a slow drip you can catch in a bucket. You may see a tiny hole in your roof. But more often than not, the opening is barely visible.

A quick fix like caulk and other types of sealant might fix the problem, but only for a short time. In just a few months or weeks, continuous rain or snow can wear away at the sealant and open the hole all over again (sometimes worse than before).

By the time you notice a roof leak inside your house (or even in your attic), it has likely penetrated through your shingles, underlayment, and roof decking. That’s three layers of roofing that need to be replaced, and a simple patch job isn’t a long-term solution.

In order to properly repair a roof for longevity, you’ll want to call a professional roofing company. But how much is that going to cost you? As with any home improvement project, it depends. There are plenty of factors that can influence the cost of roof repair. It’s important to understand the details of your unique situation so you can get your home fixed while still keeping an eye on your budget. Let’s break down the cost of repairing a roof leak in 2022 ‌so you know what to expect.

How much does it cost to repair a roof leak?

Repairing a roof leak in 2022 can cost anywhere from $600 to $3,500. As an average figure, you could expect to spend around $1,950 to repair a roof leak.

However, from 2020 to 2022, the price of goods and services increased by about 10% across the board. But that isn’t the whole story. Roof repairs can be radically cheaper or more expensive than the average because of several factors. The best way to figure out how much it will cost to repair your roof is to get a professional roof inspection from a trustworthy roofing company.

Factors that influence roof repair cost

There are plenty of variables when it comes to estimating the cost of a roof repair job. When you get an inspection from a trusted roofing company, they should provide you with a clear scope of work and upfront pricing so you know what to expect next.

Roofing labor cost

All materials aside, roofers still need to get paid. You will need to pay for labor and materials (and perhaps other fees) for any roof repair.

Roofing labor cost will typically start at $600. This is an average price range for a licensed, insured roofing contractor that knows what they’re doing.

You may find a lower labor cost from a cheap roofing contractor. But ask yourself: how can they afford to charge so little? Any contractor who offers a lower price will most likely only do a glorified patch job. That won’t fix the problem for very long, and you’ll still be out hundreds of dollars for something you probably could have done yourself.

Roof material cost

Roofing materials also drastically affect your roof repair cost. If you have a standard asphalt shingle roof (like most homes in the United States), your repair cost is likely to be lower, depending on the severity of the leak. Premium materials (like cedar shake or synthetic roofing) are going to be more expensive to repair. Here’s a breakdown of the average material costs for fixing a roof:

  • Asphalt: Asphalt roofing is the cheapest to repair. Most of the time you can expect to pay between $5.50 and $12.50 per square foot for asphalt shingles, plus labor.
  • Cedar shake: Wood shakes are a bit more luxurious and require expert roofers to install them correctly. You can expect to pay $15.00 to $25.00 per square foot in materials alone to repair a leak in a cedar shake roof.
  • Synthetic: Synthetic roofing material is made of recycled plastics and other substances, and typically lasts a long time. Since synthetic shingles are a higher-grade material than asphalt, you can expect to pay $16.00 to $27.00 per square foot for this material.
  • Metal: Metal roofs rarely ever leak, but when they do, repairing them can be expensive. You can expect to pay $18.00 to $28.00 per square foot for materials alone to repair a metal roof leak.
  • Slate: Slate roofing is heavy and difficult to install and repair. If you do have to repair a slate roof, you can expect to pay anywhere from $29.00 to $57.00 per square foot in materials alone.

Severity of the damage

The most important factor in determining how much it will cost to repair a roof leak is the severity of the damage to your roof. The more damage, the more extensive and difficult the repairs will be, which drives up the cost for materials and labor.

Minor damage

If you only have 1-2 small leaks, it probably won’t cost that much to repair your roof. Minor repair jobs include things like:

  • Replacing missing shingles
  • Repairing broken flashing
  • Re-sealing vent boots and skylights
  • Gutter Repair

Since these jobs won’t cost too much as far as materials or labor, you can expect to pay somewhere between $650 and $1,200 for minor repairs.

Moderate damage

Moderate damage is typically less than 1 roofing square (a 10ft x 10ft section on your roof). If your roof has a large leak or more than two leaks at the same time, but there isn’t extensive damage to the underlayment or decking, this will require moderate repairs. For these, your roofer may need to:

  • Replace several shingles
  • Replace a full piece of flashing
  • Replace a large section of underlayment
  • Replace a section of roof decking

Since these jobs require slightly more materials and labor, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,200 to $3,000 for moderate repairs.

Major damage

If you have several bad leaks across your roof and severe damage to the roofing structure, this will require major repairs. Typically, this means replacing multiple roofing squares (each 100 feet square) or other big structural elements.

In this case, your roofer may need to:

  • Replace more than one roofing square
  • Replace multiple pieces of flashing
  • Repair an entire roof valley
  • Replace half of the roof decking or more
  • Fortify a sagging roof by replacing rafters and decking

If your roof is damaged to this degree, it’s usually best to just replace the whole thing. Major repairs can run between $3,000 and $5,000, but the cost can be more depending on the height and pitch of your roof and other factors.

It is typically not worth the cost just to delay the inevitable need for a replacement. With such widespread damage, the integrity of the roof may also be compromised (even after major repairs are complete). That said, you may need to do major repairs in urgent situations when a full replacement isn’t possible (like the middle of winter), just to keep your home dry until you can replace your roof properly.

Roof pitch and height

Certain roofs are easier to repair than others. If you have a low-pitch roof, it’s easier for roofers to walk around on your shingles. However, if your roof is more steep (45° or more), it will sometimes require extra equipment for roofers to safely repair. The same is true for two- or three-story homes. Steeper or taller roofs can increase the price of your roof repair project by anywhere from 15 to 50%.

Location

Depending on where you live, repairing a roof leak may be more or less expensive. Things like climate, cost of living, local legislation, and permit fees are all things to consider when it comes to repair costs. You don’t want to hire someone that cuts corners to save money. A trustworthy roofing company will obtain the proper permits and complete the project in accordance with local regulations.

There are no clear rules for how location will affect your repair costs, but costs in major cities are higher on average than repair costs in more rural areas. In Chicagoland, you’ll likely see roof repair costs range anywhere between $650 and $5000 per roofing square.

Time of year

Winter is a bad time to do roof repairs for several reasons. But sometimes, winter repairs are necessary. It will probably be more expensive if you need to complete repairs in winter, due to factors like:

  • Ice. Ice can make your roof very slick in winter, which presents a dangerous repair job. Roofers will need special equipment to stay safe on your roof, and they will most likely charge you for that equipment.
  • Brittle shingles. Shingles become more brittle in extreme cold and may tear or crack more easily. You may need to pay for extra materials that get broken during the repair process.
  • Time. Your roofer may also charge more for winter repairs simply because they take longer to complete. Roofers need to move slowly and carefully to stay safe and avoid splitting the shingles when nailing them into the decking. This would make their hourly wage lower if it takes longer to do the same job effectively.

How to get the best value from a roof repair

Quality roofing work isn’t cheap. So any time you spend money on your home, you want to make sure you get the most value out of the project. You don’t want to pick the lowest bid only to get a poor repair job. But you don’t want to pay more than you have to for good quality work.

Here are a few ways to ensure you get the best value roof repair:

  • Schedule the job early (if possible) – If you already know that part of your roof is compromised, but it hasn’t started leaking yet, it’s a good idea to go ahead and schedule a repair job for the future. For instance, if in winter you notice a few missing shingles, a broken gutter, or a slight sag in your roof, you will want to call a roofing company to do an inspection and schedule a job for spring. This will likely allow you to lock in pricing and also save you money by having the job completed in spring instead of winter.
  • See if your insurance will cover repairs – If you suspect your roof is damaged due to external factors (such as wind, hail, or a fallen tree), your homeowner’s insurance policy may cover the costs of the repairs. You’ll want to contact a trustworthy roofing company to do an inspection and document the details of what you believe caused the leak. At Baltic Roofing, we can help you through the entire insurance claim process to help you get what you need to repair your roof effectively.
  • Hire a trustworthy roofing company – The only way to guarantee a high-quality roof repair job is to hire a professional roofing contractor with a reputation for great workmanship. Cheap roofing contractors may only charge a couple hundred dollars for a roof repair. But cheap work will only delay the problem (or even make it worse). You also don’t want someone to install a new layer of shingles over the old ones. While that may have been common in the past, it’s known among professional roofers to be poor practice today. Water can get trapped between the layers and create major damage, destroying the integrity of your roof in just a few months. Instead, you want to hire a roofing company that regularly studies and practices current roofing techniques.

Signs and causes of roof leaks

How do you know if your roof is truly leaking? If water is dripping from the ceiling or wall, it could be a busted pipe. While nothing replaces a proper roofing inspection, there are telltale signs of roof leaks you can spot on your own. If you see things like dark stains on your ceiling, excessive moisture or humidity near your attic, a sagging roof, or a clear hole in your roof, these are signs of roof leaks.

Most importantly, you want to understand common causes to prevent future leaks. You can help to lower your risk of leaks with proper installation and maintenance. Here are the top 10 reasons roof leaks occur and how to fix them:

  • Missing granules – The minerals embedded into asphalt shingles (usually limestone) do more than just add texture. They also protect the asphalt from UV damage. But small impacts from hail or debris can knock these granules loose from the asphalt. When these granules are missing, heat can warp your shingles and weaken them, allowing water to easily break into your roof’s underlayment and decking. It’s important to replace shingles that are missing granules as soon as possible.
  • Missing/broken shingles – If shingles are broken or missing entirely from your roof, this leaves your underlayment and roof decking vulnerable to water penetration. You’ll want to replace these to prevent leaks.
  • Broken/missing flashing – Flashing is installed specifically to prevent water from leaking through your roof in key areas. Roof penetrations like chimneys and skylights are trimmed with flashing to keep water from leaking between the edges. Flashing is also installed at the edge of your roof (specifically called drip edge) and in roof valleys (valley flashing). If flashing is broken or missing from these areas on your roof, that opens your home up for rain to pour right through. You’ll want to make sure your flashing is properly installed and replaced whenever necessary.
  • Broken fascia – The fascia is the board that runs parallel with the edge of the roof, facing outward. It typically connects to the rafters and provides structure to your roof. If your fascia is broken, this can allow water to run over the edge of your shingles and inside your attic. You’ll want to replace these boards if you notice cracks or missing pieces.
  • Ice damsIce dams are very common in Chicagoland and surrounding areas in the Midwest. It occurs when water freezes in a solid layer that hangs over the gutters. The main problem with ice dams occurs when they start to melt. Snow can cover the ice dam and provide a layer of insulation, while a large pocket of water melts inside of it and sits on your shingles. If the ice dam isn’t removed quickly, that standing water will weigh on your shingles and likely break through your roof decking in the form of a leak. You can prevent ice dams by cleaning your gutters and following other best practices for roof maintenance.
  • Clogged gutters – If your gutters are clogged, water can’t drain properly from your home. Instead of running down the spout, water will run back over your shingles and into your home. Clean out your gutters regularly to make sure water is directed away from your roof as much as possible.
  • Poor attic ventilation – If you find excessive heat or moisture near your attic, this could mean your attic is improperly ventilated. Without proper attic ventilation, rising heat can warp your shingles from underneath, weakening their integrity and making them vulnerable to leaks. To prevent this, make sure attic vents are clear of debris. You may also need to install new vents or an attic fan to increase ventilation.
  • Improper roof installation – If the initial roof installation isn’t done correctly, your roof won’t hold up for its full lifespan. It may fall apart in as little as a few months! Shingles may come loose without proper fastening, or water may get trapped beneath your roof flashing if not properly layered. Improper roof installation presents a lot of other problems that can leave your home vulnerable to leaks. Be sure to hire a professional roofing company that is known for providing high-quality work any time you need to do a repair or replacement.
  • Improper roof maintenance – After a new roof is installed, it’s still important to take proper care of it so it lasts as long as possible. This means regularly cleaning your gutters, removing debris from the shingles, and resealing exposed nails. While this can be difficult to do on a regular basis for many people, your local roofing company may offer roof maintenance services for an annual fee. A roof maintenance program like this often also gives you access to discounts and priority customer service.
  • Age – The fact is, every roof eventually needs to be replaced. Sometimes, leaks form slowly over time. Other times, they pop up all over your roof at the same time. Age will inevitably deteriorate your roof, but the best way to help it last as long as possible is to make sure it’s installed properly and to perform regular maintenance.

When should you repair or replace your roof?

A roof replacement costs a lot, but sometimes the cost of major repairs may come close to the same amount. If this is the case, you might as well go ahead and replace the whole roof and get several more years of protection. There are other situations where replacing your roof (instead of repairing it) may be more valuable to your home overall.

Let’s look at a few cases where this applies:

  • Severe damage across your roof – If damage is found across more than one roofing square (10ft x 10ft of shingles), you may want to replace the whole roof. In this case, the cost of repairs will be very high, and the integrity of your roof will likely be compromised. Replacing your roof in this case is a safer decision.
  • Your roof is nearing the end of its lifespanAn asphalt roof typically lasts between 12 and 20 years. If your asphalt roof is over 15 years old and you have to perform moderate repairs, it might be more cost effective in the long run to replace your entire roof. You may pay more than $3,000 to repair a large section of your roof, only to tear it off and replace the whole thing just a few years later. You could save that $3,000 and apply it to a replacement right away and not worry about your roof again for several more years.
  • The cost of repairs comes to 20% of the replacement cost – Once you get a professional roof inspection, the roofer will often give you options for repair or replacement and an estimate for how much each option might cost. When comparing these figures, consider the price difference. If repairs would cost 20% or more of what it would cost to replace your roof instead, it’s likely more cost effective to have it replaced.
  • You are planning on selling your home soon – If you have a roof leak right around the time you plan to put your home on the market, you’ll need to at least repair it before you put a sign in the yard. However, a house with a brand new roof is often much more valuable than a house with a repaired roof. You can provide tangible resale value to your home by replacing your whole roof before you list it for sale.

Final thoughts

So, how much does it cost to repair a roof leak? The answer depends on several factors. The best way to get a solid estimate is to contact a trustworthy roofing company for an inspection.

In any case, repairing a roof leak is never fun. There’s a lot to consider when scheduling the job, saving money, and allocating time to make sure you’re ready for the interruption. One thing you shouldn’t have to worry about is whether the job is done right.

At Baltic Roofing, we aim to give you value and peace of mind above all else. We know that high-quality, trustworthy roofing is hard to find — but it shouldn’t be. Since 2004, we’ve been providing high-quality roofing repairs and replacements to Chicagoland that are worth boasting about. See what your neighbors are saying about our work.

We practice the most up-to-date roofing techniques in our training facilities, instead of on your roof. You’ll know the roofing work you pay for is backed by years of experience and rigorous testing.

If you have a roof leak, there’s no need to worry. Contact Baltic Roofing today for a roof inspection and repair estimate. We’ll look at your roof in detail and provide you with clear, honest options for repairing your home for the best price possible.

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