A leaky roof isn’t always an emergency, but it’s never something you should ignore. Even a small leak can create big problems, such as wood rot, mold and sagging ceilings, if left unattended to. Only minor reinforcement of the roof covering may be needed to patch a leak, but many leaks can be difficult to find. That’s a good reason why it’s usually a better idea to give the job to a pro than it is to do it yourself.
ESTIMATING THE ROOF LEAK REPAIR JOB
Type of Roofing
Repairs to asphalt and metal roofs tend to be less costly unlike those covered with concrete tiles or clay, wooden shakes and slate tiles. The average repair to an asphalt or metal roof is about $750, while the average cost of repairing a tile or shake roof can be as much as $900
Extent of the Damage
Leaving a leak unattended for a long period is almost sure to cause damage to the roof joists, decking, and other parts of the roof except the covering itself. When the damage makes the roof to sag, the repair can add up to $800 — on average — to the cost of the job.
Hazardous Working Conditions
Repairing a leak on a steep, high roof needs safety equipment, including harnesses and roof jacks, which increase the cost of the repair. In addition, scaffolding may be required for repairs to tile roofs to keep workers from walking on the tiles.
WHAT A LEAK REPAIR INVOLVES
Locating the Leak
Water can penetrate a fair distance under the roof covering before it finds a crack through which it enter. Once it enters you house, it can continue to seep along the roof joists and decking, and ultimately, the place where it drips can be several feet from original leak. Given this, locating the original leak needs knowledge of roof structures and a detective’s eye for details.
Assessing the Repair
After spotting the source of the leak, the roofer decides what it will take to fix it. It may be simply an application of roofing tar or some other sealant, but mostly, some part of the roof covering or flashing must be changed. In some cases, part of the roof has to come off to expose rotten plywood and change it.
Determining the Repair Materials
The choice of materials is determined by the type of roof and the extent of the damage. The materials may include flashing, sealants, replacement roof covering and, in some cases, lumber for repairing the roof substructure, including rotting trim and fascia.
PREPARING FOR THE ROOFERS
Try to find the Leak Yourself
When you go into the attic, you can locate the place where the water is seeping through the roof decking. Even though this may not coincide with the actual location of the leak in the roofing material, it’s important information, because it keeps roofer aware of which section of the roof to focus on.
Vet Your Roofer
Leak repair is a job for an experienced pro that can be very sure of. You may pay a qualified worker for hours of labor only to figure out that the actual leak hasn’t been fixed. Once you have found an experienced roofer, ask for an assessment of the work involved before you give out the job.
Find a Roof Repair Contractor
You can avert damage to your house and keep the repair costs to a minimum by doing what is required to fix a leak as soon as you are aware of it. If you can’t do the job yourself, contact a roofer immediately. There’s nothing like a solid roof over your head to ensure a restful, sleep-filled night.