• Home  / 
  • Blog
  •  /  Everything You Will Ever Need To Know About Roof Repairs

Everything You Will Ever Need To Know About Roof Repairs

By tim / July 4, 2017
Roof repairs

As far as home repairs and maintenance goes, if there’s one thing you can’t afford to neglect, it’s the roof. Indeed, too many homeowners make the mistake of ignoring small roof repairs- only to have potentially catastrophic consequences during storms or heavy rainfalls. This is why it’s crucial to immediately undertake proper repairs and/or maintenance work at the first sign of trouble. Besides, the roof is what ultimately sets off the aesthetic tone of your house as a whole so it does pay off to ensure that it’s always in pristine condition.

Maintaining a sound roof has also been shown to drastically increase the overall value of your home if you ever decide to sell one day. More importantly, a sound roof will keep rainwater from seeping through the wood, potentially causing rot and toxic mold. Ensuring that your roof is properly repaired and maintained can also prevent further damage which will be quite expensive to fix in the long run. Ignoring minor issues may actually mean that you’ll need to replace the entire roof in the future, which is extremely costly. Therefore, be sure to tackle any roofing problems- as small as they may be- as soon as possible. On a more positive note, rest assured that it’s quite easy and straightforward to undergo any minor repairs by yourself: all you need is some equipment, a basic knowledge of construction and plenty of patience.

Can you fix the roof by yourself?

Fixing the roof by yourself largely depends on your own capabilities and experience as well as the intensity of the damage. But the first thing you have to realize is that a complete reroofing should only be undertaken by a professional and experienced licensed contractor- or the repercussions can be quite dangerous. Small-scaled repairs, however, can certainly be undertaken by anyone who wants to indulge in some DIY.

The most common issues that arise with roofs are broken shingles, slates or tiles which normally result from general wear-and-tear or because of poor weather conditions. Damaged valley structures can also result from storm-related damages. If you like to repair your roof shingles yourself, remember that asphalt shingles can easily be cut and removed using any regular utility knife. On the other hand, shakes and wooden shingles do need a saw while you may need to resort to an angle grinder when dealing with concrete or clay tiles.

Having said that, it’s quite important to know what you’re doing when undertaking roof repairs. DIY websites and guidebooks can certainly help you- but only to an extent, especially if you’re a complete novice. If you happen to have chimneys, pitch changes, dormers, hips, dead valley, steep roofs or features like roof to wall, you might be better off with an experienced roofer who will be in a better position to address these issues.

Bear in mind that some insurance companies may not even cover the full claim unless you hire a qualified contractor. If you plan on working on your roof during summer, don’t forget that shingles bundles can weigh around 80 pounds each, so working with them can be quite tedious in hot weather.

If you do decide to choose a contractor instead of repairing the roof by yourself, make sure that the person you hire has the proper experience and credentials. Don’t hesitate to ask for references prior to hiring anyone to work on your roof.

How much does a roof repair cost?

According to Home Advisor, the exact price depends on different factors, including:

  • Additional features such as plumping pipes, skylights and chimneys
  • Code requirements
  • Location
  • Number of roofing layers
  • Materials needed
  • Modes of applications
  • Roof pitch (steeper roofs require more materials and time)


According to Home Advisor, the national average for roof repairs is around $714, with the low end at approximately $150 and the typical range between $316 and $1115. The high end costing is around $2500.

Roof repairs versus new roof?

Bearing these costs in mind, you do need to ask yourself whether it’s worth it to invest in some repairs or simply get a new roof altogether. Homeowners will have to face cost consequences either way but taking the proper decision can make all the difference when it comes to how much you’re going to spend. It’s important to take this decision prior to hiring a shingle manufacturer or contractor.

If you only need to replace some shingles after a fallen limb or wind damage, rest assured that it’s quite a straightforward and inexpensive issue that can be fixed with some DIY. All you need to do is carefully remove the damaged shingles and slip new, sturdier ones in their place. If your roof is relatively new, you might actually have some extra shingles on hand but even if you don’t, these pieces are not at all expensive to buy. Still, if you’re planning on selling your house soon, it’s best to hire a contractor who will ensure that the shingles are as closely matched as possible in order to inspire your buyer’s confidence.

If you’re facing significant damage (for example, if a large portion of your roof caved in), it might be more cost-effective for you to go for an entire new roof. Homeowners should know that partial reconstruction can be extremely expensive- even more than building a new roof altogether. For example, a four-sided hip roof may cost around $2800 to repair (on one side) while a new roof can only cost you around $2500 per side.


Is roof repair tax deductible

The costs associated with any repairs that occur on your rental properties are deducted from your property’s yearly tax income. However, it’s important to know that there is a major difference between ‘repairs’ and ‘improvements’ as far as your tax returns are concerned. When it comes to improvements, homeowners are not allowed to immediately deduct the overall expenses.

As a result, it’s quite important to learn the major differences between improvements and repairs. Improvements, for example, basically refer to any kind of home repair or work that extends the overall value of your home. These are commonly categorized as ‘capital expenses’ and as a rule, these are depreciated over the course of several years. Some common improvements refer to kitchen and bathroom renovations or roof repairs. If you have trouble differentiating between repairs and improvements, follow this rule of thumb: if you’re upgrading any existing feature or adding a new item, then it counts as an improvement, rather than a mere repair. Improvements steadily grow in value which is why they’re not deducted at once and certainly not as a whole. This is why you can’t expect to deduct 20k on kitchen renovations in a mere year. It is highly recommended to keep a record of all receipts in order to make it easier for you to pay taxes on the depreciated amount of your renovation cost.

Repairs, on the other hand, can be considered as one-off work undertaken on any part of the roof in order to keep it sound and in proper condition. Repairing leaks or replacing shingles are examples of common roof repairs that are deductible in your yearly tax returns. According to the IRS, repairs refer to anything that “in most cases, do not add significant value to the properly or extend its life”.

How to finance roof repairs?

There’s no denying that repairing a roof can be a costly business, especially if you’re working with a limited budget. Financing it isn’t always easy but then again, you can’t exactly spend your time under a leaky roof just because you can’t afford to have it repaired. Fortunately enough, there are quite a few financing options out there to make it easier for you to work on your roof. Here are a few alternative options for anyone who’s trying to curb their expenses as far as roof-related work and repairs are concerned.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • HELOC and Credit Cards: A non-interest credit card can go a long way in helping you finance your roof repairs and renovations. Just be sure to avoid charging any other expenses to the card in order to contain your spending. Another great way to facilitate roof financing is to make sure to pay the total repair-related expenses within a year. Basically, all you need to do is break up the total amount in twelve and pay it on a monthly basis. Some homeowners also prefer to go for a HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit) which turns your home into a collateral. This is best used for extensive roof repairs or reroofing.
  • Use your savings: As soon as you purchase your first home, it’s not a bad idea to put some money aside every month. Simply saving $75 per month can go a long way into financing future roof repairs and improvements without having to resort to loans or credits.
  • FHA Loans: Also known as Federal Housing Administration loans, these can be used to make any necessary changes to your roof in order to make your house more habitable and comfortable. To apply for this loan, you should be a property owner with limited home equity and good credit. The FHA has been also known to insure lenders against potential losses. Along with roof works and repairs, FHA loans can additionally be used for fireplaces, swimming pools and other luxury additions.
  • Use a contractor: A professional contractor can help you get the best deals on roof repairs. However, to save- and not lose- money, it’s crucial to book the services of an honest agency or contractor. Some agencies also offer payment facilities. To check on a contractor or agency, you can check with your local Consumer Protection Agency, State Attorney General, Better Business Bureau or local Chamber of Commerce. If your contractor can provide payment facilities, be sure to enquire beforehand what lender he’s planning on using.

At the end of the day, before financing improvement or repairs, be sure to measure the pros and cons of delaying your home repair against getting a loan or tying yourself up in credit. When applying for a loan, it’s important to make sure you understand all the terms and conditions of your contract prior to borrowing the money. Loans can normally cover inspection fees, appraisal fees, title examination costs, building permit fees as well as engineering and architectural costs when it comes to your roof repairs and improvements.

Common roof problems and how to fix them

There’s no denying that while they make up the vital part of any home architecture, roofs are prone to various types of issues. Debris, ice, snow, rain, wind or even hail can all cause moderate to severe damage, often resulting in rot and leaks. In some cases, improperly installed flashing can also result in severe roof damage.

Again, the type and cost of repair largely depends on the kind of roof problem you’re facing. Below are some of the more common issues and a few tips on how to fix them.

How to repair roof trusses

A roof truss is basically a structural framework that is specifically designed to support a roof while bridging any extra space above room ceilings. Trusses are normally linked by timbers such as purlins. Vital to roof support, a damaged truss can easily result in problems such as sagging ceilings or collapsing roofs. This can also become quite an issue if you ever decide to sell your house because contractors normally inspect roof trusses for damage.

Before you embark on any sort of repair, bear in mind that your roof truss should first be analyzed by a Licensed Professional Engineer, preferably one with experience in modifying or redesigning trusses. This is especially important if you would like to increase your building’s overall value over the long run. Most wood roof trusses are made of smaller members known as webs and chords. These are held together by a series of metal plates. Because of how solidly the majority of trusses are built, it is important to use materials such as OSB (Oriented Strand Board), plywood or lumber to ensure that the parts fit well together. In some cases, depending on the severity of the damage, structural screws are also used.

One of the most common type of truss damage is related to leaks and moisture, as well as temperature fluctuations and insect infestations. This is why it’s important to ensure that your roof is always waterproof and repair any leak as quickly as possible. If your roof trusses only present light to moderate damage, you can easily brace it using reinforced steel. Again, only a licensed professional will be able to analyze the scope of the damage. If you’re dealing with rotting wood, you might need to make a neat cut around the rot and replace it with fresh wood.

How to repair roof sheathing

Contrary to popular belief, roof sheathing refers to more than panels upon which you attach the shingles to protect your roof. In fact, roof sheathing serves to hold the entire ceiling together while ensuring that the rafters are adequately spaced. Roof sheathing also ensures that the trusses hold in place, even during windy weather conditions. It is important for roof sheaths to be spaced and structurally sound in order to accommodate the natural contraction and expansion that may occur as a result of climatic fluctuations.

Unlike trusses, it is not necessary to have your sheaths appraised prior to repairs, but if you’re a novice, a professional can guide you through the process. Before you embark upon any repair work, make sure that you properly mark the rafter tail with chalk in order to ensure that all of them are uniform in size. It’s also important to inspect the roof for rot to know what kind of problem you’re dealing with. If the rot measures more than 2 inches deep, you can cut the damage area and replace it with fresh plywood. Alternatively, you can also use liquid wood hardener over the rooting area. In this case, be sure to keep an eye over the wood during the next few days to make sure that the hardener actually works.

Sheathing can be installed on rafters that are spaced between 16” or 24”. Most roof sheathing measure 4 by 8 feet. If this is your first time repairing a sheath, you might want to opt for OSB roofing sheets that bear specific nail guides. Additionally, you can check your local code for the nailing patterns.

How to repair roof capping

Roof capping is another issue that home owners often have to deal with. Capping basically covers the entire ridge as well as the point where roof surfaces meet. Missing mortars as well as broken or cracked roof caps can cause serious leak-related damages because water can filter down to the ceilings and the overall structure of your house.

The good news is that roof capping is quite easy to fix, provided you know what you’re doing. It is vital to undertake repairs at the first sign of damage since un-ridged roofs are extremely fragile and vulnerable. In more dangerous cases, the roof can actually cave in and collapse if the capping isn’t properly fixed. Additionally, a sound roof cap also improves the house’s aesthetic value while protecting the interior from snow, water and even dust.

It’s best to use 3-tab shingles to repair roof caps since these have been shown to be extremely durable and practical. More importantly, they also have the advantage of being extremely easy to procure in just about any hardware store. The first step is to use a utility knife to cut along the edge of the shingle, making sure to make a cut of approximately 30 degrees. Afterwards, you will be able to bend the shingle so it fits perfectly with the roof’s peak. The next step is to hammer nails on both sides of the shingles, making sure to overlapping them.

Some home owners prefer to use bedding frames to ensure that the ridge cap remains uniformly aligned. The last step is to fill every crevices, no matter how small they seem, in order to ensure that the roof tile, mortar and ridge capping are perfectly adhered to each other. This also improves the overall aesthetic appeal of the building.

How to repair a roof leak

Any leaky roof calls for fast and preferably immediate action. In fact, most of the roof-related damages often result from leaks so at the end of the day, it does pay off to properly treat this issue- no matter how small and insignificant it may seem now. Roof leaks can also create a breeding ground for black mold along while rotting the overall framing and creating significant damage to the walls and ceilings in general.

Before you undertake any repair, it is important to pinpoint the source of the leak. As a first-aid measure, tape neodymium magnets across the roof’s underside. This will contain the leak while you get started with the repairs. In most cases, you might need to pull out the shingles and for this, you will undoubtedly require pry bars. It shouldn’t be too hard for you to remove nails on newer roofs. However, if your home is on the older side, you might need to put in some effort and, in some cases, remove significant portions of the shingles. Be sure not to cause any damage to the underlayment or you might need to replace the whole thing.

Afterwards, you will need to maneuver fresh tarpaper under the existing underlayment. This will easily take care of your leaking problem, provided that you don’t forget to generously spread several coats of roofing cements under any cracked shingles.

How to repair roof leak around chimney

However, repairing roof leaks around the chimney area can be slightly more complicated than any regular leak. Unfortunately, the roof flashing that’s commonly found around chimneys are prone to quite a lot of wear and tear, which can allow rainwater under the ceiling, hence causing both rot and black mold. Before you repair leaks around the chimneys, it’s important to clean out any debris or leaves in the gap between the chimney and the flashing. Roofing cement can easily be removed by using a chisel. Afterwards, you can apply as much roofing cement as you need right behind the flashing before reattaching the flashing to the chimney by using screws or masonry nails (depending on the exact structure of your roof). For aesthetic purposes, you can cover the exposed screws or nails with roofing cement, making sure to apply a generous coat in the space between the brick and the flashing. The last step is to use a putty knife or a paint stirrer to smooth out and even the roofing cement over the leak.

How to repair roof felt under tiles

Repairing roof felt that’s located under the tiles can also be quite problematic for anyone who’s not handy with tools. In fact, if you’re a complete novice at roof-related repair work, this is best left to professionals since it’s quite a delicate task. If the repair is minimal, you simply need to insert small patches of felt in a V-shape before stapling them to the roof trusses. Be sure to keep the staples internal. For a more solid support, you might want to staple underneath the upper strip as well as the lower strip.

If your roof felt is completely damaged, it might be more cost effective- not to mention easier- to just replace it altogether.

How to repair roof shingles blown off

Shingles- especially older ones- are quite prone to being blown off, especially in stormy or windy weathers. Fortunately enough, they are quite easy to repair. In fact, all you need is a nail puller, silicone caulk, caulking gun, roofing cement, utility knife, roofing nails, hammer and a pry bar. And of course, matching shingles. If you can’t find an exact match, be sure to get shingles with approximately the same shade and texture prior to starting the roofing works.

Before replacing the roof shingles, here’s your chance to remove any loose-looking ones before they get blown away too. You can easily prise them off but be careful to avoid damaging the others when you’re removing them. When replacing a new shingle, it’s also important to overlap the one that lies just below it in order to ensure a homogenous look. You can use galvanized nails to secure the shingle on the roof. Since you will need to smear roofing cement on the back of the shingles to adhere them to the roof, be sure to work on moderately warm days since hot weather can make both the cement and the shingles harder to manipulate.

How to repair roof valley

Older houses normally sport valleys made of multi-layered roofing paper which is prone to weathering and gradual deterioration. To repair this, you need to install a metal flashing all the way from the top to the bottom of the roof valley. In some cases, you might also need to remove some shingles so make space for the sheet metal flashing. While it’s quite an easy task for experienced DIYer’s, you might need to solicit additional help otherwise it can be quite time-consuming.

First, be sure to position the sheet metal in such a way so that the valley’s lower raised center is perfectly aligned with the roof’s lower edge. Afterwards, make a cut on either side of the lower-end flashing to make it fit around the roof edge. You can use roofing nails (preferably 11/4-inches) to secure the valley in place. If you’re working with a longer valley, it’s better to install the lower part of the flashing first. In such cases, you should overlap the edge of the next piece across it.

How to repair roof felt

Very often after heavy rainfall, home owners find that their roof felt has been damaged, causing leaks, rot and other such issues. This calls for an immediate repair or replacement to avoid serious roofing issues which may result in you having to pay for a complete reroofing. To repair a roof felt, you will need felt adhesive, wood nails, felt nails, roofing felt and a claw hammer. To begin with, home owners need to remove worn or old felt by using the claw hammer which will help you get rid of the existing nails. As always, clear away any debris to ensure you have a smooth canvas to deal with.

Next, cut or trim the replacement felt to fit under the damaged area. Don’t forget to also cut a piece that will overlap the panels on the side. When you’re applying the replacement felt, it also pays off to keep the nails 30cm apart to ensure that it’s properly adhered and secure. Once you’ve installed the side panels, you can now work on adding the upper section of the felt.

What products and tools will you need for the repair?

Like it or not, roofing is quite an intensive job and you will need quite a lot of tools and products to ensure a successful repair or restoration. Of course, the exact things that you will need depends on the type of work that you need to do.

If you’re a novice to roofing, you can actually pick up Roofers Kits from most hardware stores: these usually include equipment compliant with protection acts such as harnesses, snap hooks, vertical rope lifeline, storage buckets, utility knives, coring tools, different types of wrenches, punches, chisels, screwdrivers, hacksaws, mallets, hammers, and the likes. For more intensive roof repair, you might also need a wheelbarrow. Home owners working on larger-scale repairs may also find roof hoist handy since these can help you easily lower and raise various types of equipment on the roof.

Safety equipment

The basic safety equipment for roofers include- but are by no means limited to- the following:

  • Hardhats
  • Guardrail systems
  • Roof anchors with fasteners
  • Ring harnesses
  • Lifeline with thimbles/Zsnaphooks
  • Trailing rope
  • Non-slip shoes
  • Ladder

Remember to stay safe on the roof. For more advise we suggest you watch the video below



About the author


    Click here to add a comment

    Leave a comment: