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How Do I Know if My Roof Is Leaking?

A small leak in a roof may seem to be a minor problem, but it can easily develop into something more complex with time.

The main concern with leaks is that most homeowners aren’t aware of them until the leak directly impacts the house (water stains on the ceiling, dripping water, moisture build-up, mould growth), and the problem has progressed further and created severe structural damage.

One of the most damaging weather elements for roofing materials is rain. Rain is the catalyst for a variety of roofing problems, and without an adequate drainage system, it can cause significant leaks.

Once rainwater enters the roofing system, a leak may come to the surface in many different forms. There are many reasons for a roof to start leaking, and the cost to fix a roof leak will depend on how the leak presents.

Roof leak repairs become more complicated with the extent of water damage. Water damage plays a huge role in determining the cost to fix a roof leak, as higher levels of water infiltration will demand increased professional attention.

Water damage can take months to develop and ultimately will compromise the structural integrity of a roofing system. Engaging with a professional roofing contractor is paramount to the success of a roof leak repair. The type of roof repair needed will depend on the problems your roof is facing.

If cracks or holes in the roof caused the leak, the roof repair will involve patching these tiles and replacing any missing flashing or materials. If an inadequate drainage system caused the leak, the repairs would improve the roof’s drainage slopes. Check out our range of roof restoration services here. 

When the symptoms of a leak aren’t from visible damage, it may be that there are problems with the membrane beneath roofing tiles. Often roof leaks aren’t directly related to the leak’s cause but a more significant problem.

These repairs are trickier as the roofing contractor will have to correctly identify the source of the leak and ensure there are preventative measures in place to hinder the leak from coming back.

Where to Look for Roof Leaks

Roofs come in many styles and are made of many different materials, but some common areas are prone to leak across the board. Here are the most common places to check for leaks:

  • Flashing: Repairing costs $10 to $20. The metal that connects vents and other ducts to your roof can age, corrode and crack. This is one of the most common failure points on a roof. Plumbing vents have rubber gaskets that can deteriorate in 10 years. Inspect these for cracking. Gas appliances commonly use B-vents and often use a metal storm collar that can come loose and cause leaks.
  • Vertical Slits: New tiles cost about $30 per bundle. Found between shingles, these slits are prone to corrosion. Water can run between the slits causing issues, particularly in the top three inches. Pros will likely need to replace the corroded tiles.
  • Missing Granules: Shingles average $30 per bundle. The stony surface of shingles helps protect shingles from UV rays or wear and tear. Granules can wear off over time. If you notice bare patches on your shingles, you can have them replaced.
  • Skylight: You can patch a skylight with a $5 tube of clear silicone sealant. Replacing corroded flashing costs from $25 to $80. Water can run down your sloped roof, hit the flat upper edge of your skylight and become trapped. Or, the window portion of the skylight can become cracked and let water inside.
  • Valleys: Flashing used to protect valleys costs around $20 for a 10-foot long piece. Angles formed when two sloped panels come together perpendicularly are valleys. Pros must cut shingles to fit the shape of the valley. Roughly cut valleys can cause gaps that allow water under the shingles.
  • Chimneys: Chimney flashing costs around $20. Flashing sealant and masonry caulk cost about $5 each. Old caulking and corroded flashing can cause leaks from your chimney. If both of those are fine, then the chimney may have fractures that allow water in behind the flashing.

How to Fix Common Causes of Leaks

  • Cracked flashing: Flashing is the metal strip that creates a water-resistant barrier between joints. Metal can crack or corrode from the page or deteriorated sealant. To fix, gently pry up the material and remove nails. Nail a new strip in place and reseal.
  • Broken or missing shingles: High winds can break or remove shingles. If broken, lift the shingle with a pry bar until the nails holding it pumps up. Gently remove nails and old shingles. Replace with a new one and nail in place.
  • Cracked vent booting: Vent booting is a gasket used to seal roof vents. To repair, cut away the old boot with a knife. Install the new one over the vent and under the shingles. Secure with nails and seal with caulk.
  • Ice dams: If snowmelt on your roof refreezes, it can create ice dams that hold snow to your roof. The weight can cause damage. Use a roof rake to fix it and remove the first four feet of snow from the roof edge. Then use ice melt product per manufacturer’s instructions. Consider investing in a roof heat cable to prevent future issues.
  • Skylight leaks: Skylights can trap water, and the frame seals can crack and form leaks. If there’s a problem, clean off debris and repair cracks with clear silicone sealant.
  • Clogged gutters: Clean these out properly to prevent water from pooling up. Otherwise, clogged gutters will prevent rainwater from running off efficiently.

How Much Does Roof Repair Cost?

The roof repair cost depends on the type of repair and the type and height of the roof. A gently sloping roof on a single storey house will cost less than a steep roof on a single storey house, and if you have a two-storey house, the cost can be even more. Top Glaze has the best range of services if you’re looking for Melbourne roof repairs.

These are some of the roof repair costs you may expect to pay for major repairs on a 10-metre roof at the height of 3 metres:

  • A normal slope will cost around $4500
  • A steep slope will cost $5400 for a moderate slope or $6300 for an extremely steep slope.
  • Zincalume or Colorbond roofing will cost around $6300
  • Terracotta tiles will cost around $7200
  • These are approximate costs only and will depend on the amount of damage that has to be repaired.

For minor damage, such as roof leaking repair, a roof repairer will usually charge by the hour, plus a possible fee for travel and other expenses. A roof repairer can charge anywhere from $45 to $100 per hour, and these charges may depend on the roof because they will charge more if they have to take more safety precautions on steep or high roofs.

They also have to look into access problems and whether they have to hire equipment to access a leak. Other cost issues can include replacing tiles, flashing or other jobs they may have to do. For example, roof leak repair may also involve cleaning the roof and removing fungus or mould. Each of these jobs will have a different cost, for example:

  • Roof maintenance cost is between $38 and $50 an hour
  • Removing fungus and algae and gutter cleaning may cost around $1300
  • Cleaning a terracotta roof and doing some repointing, rebedding, and capping may cost $1500
  • Cleaning the roof of a three-bedroom house might cost $1200

These roof repair costs are approximate prices only and will depend on the factors listed above and the size of the roof. You won’t have a clear idea of your roof repair cost until you get quotes from roof repairers. When you get online quotes, list the:

  • Size of the roof
  • Materials
  • Height of the roof
  • Steepness
  • Access issues
  • Number of leaks

Roof repairers can give more accurate quotes if they have more details to go on, but they may have to come to your site to give an accurate quote. The more details you can give them, the more accurate your online quote will be. You may also want to send a photograph of your roof to give them a better idea of its size and complexity.

How Much Does Roof Replacement Cost?

In some cases, a roof may be too old and worn to be renovated. That’s when you need to have the roof replaced. How much it costs to replace a roof depends on the type of roof the service is replacing, with both the cost of the materials and labour factoring into the roof replacement cost.

Roof Replacement

As a rough guide, roofing materials might cost:

  • $35 per square metre (m2) for concrete tiles
  • Slate tiles cost between $125 to $200 per m2
  • Terracotta tiles cost around $150 per m2 and go up to $200 per m2 for the best quality

Prices vary for Colorbond roofing materials. At the low end of the scale, Colorbond can cost $18 per m2, but that is for basic roofing more suited to a shed than a house. Powder-coated Colorbond roofing costs around $22 per m2, and if saltwater is an issue in your area, Colorbond Ultra will protect against saltwater corrosion and costs around $37 per m2.

On average, roof replacement of a Colorbond roof costs between $10,185 and $22,874, with an average price being about $14,600. The range of costs depends on the materials used, the roof’s size, and the other factors listed above.

On the low end of the scale, roof replacement can be as little as $5000, and on the high end of the plate can be as much as $35,500. Tiled roofs will cost more, and you have to consider the materials, too.

Roof replacement may be a wiser choice than roof restoration because the new roof will look better and can last longer than a restoration job. However, it will cost more because the materials will have to be replaced. A roofing contractor can tell you whether a roof is worth restoring or if it should be replaced. If you’re in doubt, get three quotes, and if two or three agree the roof must be replaced, you should probably return it. Check out our roof replacement Melbourne services.

7 Factors To Consider In Deciding Whether To Repair Or Replace

  • Your roof’s age is one of the most important considerations. Most asphalt shingles have a lifespan of about 15 – 30 years. If the roof is damaged but most of it is still in good shape, a spot repair may make sense. But, if the roof is approaching (or past) 20 years old, replacing it may be the better way to go long-term.
  • If there’s a leak somewhere, an inspection will help you determine how widespread it is. Often, roofs will leak along flashing points. If this is the case, and the leak is isolated, a quick repair may be all that is necessary. If the roof is leaking in several places, a roofing replacement may be in order.
  • Give some thought to how long you intend to be in the home. If you’re planning to sell in the next few years, and the roof is in generally good condition, it may make more sense to have repairs done.
  • If you opt to replace your roof, you may be able to incorporate environmentally-friendly features that qualify for local or federal tax credits to offset the cost. Also, new materials are generally more energy-efficient, last longer, and perform better so an upgrade is desirable long-term.
  • If you’re replacing your roof, you may find that the type and/or quality of roofing material you use can qualify you for significant discounts on your homeowner’s insurance policy. Materials that are more resistant to fire or wind and hail damage will often result in lower rates.
  • As you consider the costs, you may or may not be able to lay another layer of shingles over the existing roof, rather than removing the current layer and starting “from scratch”. At the same time, removing the old shingles will allow you to inspect the roof deck or sheathing, and add ice-and-water-shield membrane along the eaves (which can only be applied to a clean deck and will help prevent damage due to ice dams).
  • If you’re thinking about replacing your roof, don’t forget to consider “hidden costs”, including gutter replacement or landscape damage. A reputable roofing contractor will produce a comprehensive estimate detailing all of the project’s costs.


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