Your roof is probably the most expensive part of your home, so when it fails, it can be a bit unnerving (to say the least). During the winter months roof damage occurs quite frequently in colder climates. In many cases, repairing the roof damage can save thousands of dollars as opposed to doing a complete re-roof. It’s good to have an idea of what to expect before the roofing contractor inspects the damage and gives you an estimate.
Types of Damage
There are several types of roof damage common during the winter. Damaged shingles or tiles can occur during blizzard conditions, but this type of damage isn’t the most common type of winter roof damage. Snow and ice are the biggest culprits in this case.
As snow piles up on the roof, it can put a significant amount of extra weight on the roofing structure. The type of roof damage to watch for in the case is roof sagging and leaks.
Ice buildup along the gutters and other parts of the roof can also add quite a bit of weight to the roof. Ice damming is caused by poor roof insulation that allows heat to escape through the roof. This heat melts the snow on the roof, which then trickles down and pools along the gutters and other obstructions. The water freezes, causing an ice dam.
Ice dams not only put stress on the roofing structure, but it’s also a sign that you may need additional insulation in the attic to help prevent heat from escaping. Not addressing the problem right away can lead to roof leaks and more expensive repairs down the road.
Cost of Re-roof vs. Roof Repair
The cost of any re-roof or roof repair depends upon the following factors:
- Your location
- Type of roof
- Complexity of the job
- Type of roofing material used
A complete re-roof, meaning tearing off the old roof and replacing it with a new one, can range in cost from $4,000 up to $20,000 or more. Minor roof repairs, such as patching up a small leak on asphalt shingle roofs, typically runs $100 to $300.
It’s far more cost-effective in the long term to repair the roof as soon as you notice the problem (leaking, ice damming, etc). The typical asphalt shingle roof, which is used on 80-percent of homes in the U.S., will last 17 to 20 years if proper roof maintenance guidelines are followed and roof damage is repaired right away rather than putting it off.
Cost of Roof Repairs
Asphalt shingle roofs are quick and easy for licensed roofing contractors to patch up in most cases. These are also the least expensive types of roofs to fix; however, they’re also the least durable compared to slate, concrete, clay, tile, shake, rubber or metal roofing.
A leaky roof repair often consists of inspecting the roof sheathing for water damage and possibly replacing the damaged board(s), inspecting the metal flashing in the area for damage and leaks, and replacing the actual roofing material.
A minor repair on less than a 5 square (50 square feet) area of the roof will typically cost less than $1,000, even as little as $100. Larger repairs, or slate and metal roof repairs, may cost $1,000 to $2,000. A quick note on slate roofing: It’s usually more cost-effective to completely replace a significantly damaged slate roof instead of trying to patch it up due to the labor intensive nature of these repairs.
Keep in mind that these are ballpark figures that can vary based upon the previously mentioned factors. The good news is that any licensed, insured and credible roofing contractor will offer free estimates and consultation, so you can get an accurate quote before you decide to go ahead with the repair.
Joseph Eitel is a blogger and editor for HometownRoofingContractors.com, a free online service helping connect people with licensed and insured roofing contractors in their hometown.