Top Five Factors That Influence the Cost of Roof Repairs

When you need roof repairs, it might be tempting to base your pricing expectations on rough estimates or online guides that share roof repair average costs. But it’s important to remember that each roof is different, and there are many factors that influence the cost of roofing repairs.

You’ll get the best, most accurate information through in-person estimates from good local roofing contractors based on inspections of the actual damage to your roof, and even then, not all estimates will be completely accurate. That’s because, as with any type of construction project, roofing contractors can only base estimates off of a visual inspection. Once they get into the job, they may discover more problems, a greater degree of damage, or additional issues that are the cause of or have been caused by the leak.

That said, you can get an idea of roof repair costs by carefully considering the issue you believe is causing your roof leaks and the specific knowledge you have of your roof.

Here are the top five factors that influence the cost of roof repairs:

  1. Roof type and materials
  2. Scope of needed repairs
  3. Roof size and square footage
  4. Roof design, shape, and slope
  5. Existing damage

1. Roof type and roofing materials

Is your roof covered in asphalt shingles, slate or stone shingles or tiles, tile, metal, composite, wood shake, or another material? Roofing material can be the biggest factor in the cost of repairs. That’s because roofers try to match new materials to existing roof coverings, so the costs of replacing a cheaper material like asphalt shingles will generally be much less than repairs to expensive roofing like metal or stone. Along with product costs, some roof materials are more labor-intensive to repair and install, and some require additional expertise and components.

2. Scope of needed roof repairs

The scope of the repairs is another major factor in overall job expense. Small leaks are one thing, hail damage or large areas damaged by falling tree branches are another. Most roofers expect to perform repairs in 10-foot-square areas they refer to as a square. Most shingles are sold in packs that cover a square, so the price of materials is generally figured in 10-square-foot sections. However, there are some exceptions to this, such as the homeowner already having excess shingles on hand.

Additionally, replacing top-level roof coverings isn’t the only consideration when it comes to the scope of the job. Water damage from leaks, repair and replacement of underlayment and wood decking, and other repairs may be required if the leak is ongoing or there is more than just surface damage.

3. Roof size and square footage

Roof size and square footage

Large roofs with a lot of damage can require more extensive repairs. For problems like hail damage, windstorms that remove many shingles, aging roofs, and other widespread issues, the larger the roof size, the more extensive the repairs. And since roofs cover more than just the actual home, roofing covering garages, breezeways, porches and overhangs, patios, and entryways also needs to be considered in square footage calculations.

4. Roof design, shape, and slope

Very steep roofs, flat roofs, roofs with a lot of dormers or architectural details, and those with many gables and valleys can cost more to repair. Simply put, it’s harder for contractors to access and work on those roofs, so labor costs will go up. Material costs may also rise because there may be more surface area and components needed even though the home’s square footage may not seem overly large.

5. Existing damage

Roofs put up with a lot of abuse, and some of the effects of that may not be seen until the roofing contractor removes the damaged exterior. Under shingles and roof covering can hide damage, dry rot, and other structural issues. Even small leaks can cause roof joists and decking to rot, and all damaged areas will need to be removed, repaired, and replaced with new, safe materials. There may also be existing damage to the attic, walls, upper floors, and even foundations if the leak went on long enough.

Other Common Factors in Roof Repair Expenses

There are many other things that can cause the price of roof repairs to go up. While not all will apply to every situation, other factors that can influence the cost of your roof repairs include these:

  • Age and condition of existing materials
  • Roof components: dormers, chimneys, skylights, vents, gutters, flashing, etc.
  • Permitting and other fees
  • Waste or debris/material disposal fees
  • Geographic area
  • Rates for roofing contractor services
  • Extended warranty coverage
  • Adding roof ventilation, gutters, or other proactive additions

Age and condition of existing roofing materials

Old roofs and those that have had many issues can be more expensive to repair. That’s because there are likely to be additional underlying or preexisting problems that have to be addressed with new repairs. It can also be harder and more expensive to match older materials, and it can take more work to repair old or worn roof coverings. Roofers may also need to be much more careful when walking and working on aged or brittle roofing, and that can increase the amount of time billed for labor.

Roof components

Roof components

Complex roofs with many additional features and components such as chimneys, skylights, vents, gutters, and complex or long areas of flashing can rack up unexpected costs. Dormers, chimneys, skylights, vents, and other components that go through the roof require flashing around the areas where the roof meets the feature, and flashing can be time intensive to install. Similarly, these areas are prone to leaks and aging, so it’s not uncommon for roofers to find that chimneys, skylights, vents and other features require repairs and replacement to stop and prevent leaks.

Permitting and other fees

Many roofing repairs require a permit from the city where the home is located. Permits are there to ensure that the contractor has done good work and for the protection of consumers, but they do come with fees. Some cities have flat rates for permits, others base permitting fees on the size or value of the home where the work is being done. Average permitting fees for moderate-sized homes can range from $150 to $500 depending on the location.

Amount of waste or debris/material disposal fees

Everything that comes off of your roof must be removed, transported, and disposed of, and most roofing contractors pass those fees along to customers. If there’s a lot of damage on your roof or the roofers need to remove layers or large areas of debris, or if disposal fees are high in your area, you could see large extra fees on your final invoice.

Geographic area

Where you live impacts the type of roof, roofing repairs and methods, and other factors. Some areas of the country are simply more expensive than others, and residents of those locations can see extra costs. Additionally, some areas have more stringent installation and inspection processes along with specific material and installation requirements to fit building codes, which can add to the overall cost.

Rates for roofing contractor services

Quality roofing services don’t come cheap, and some areas are more expensive than others. Areas where construction is in high demand or face shortages can make prices rise, and locations with higher cost of material and overhead business costs will usually see higher rates.

Extended warranty coverage

Some roofers offer extended warranties on their work. While most will offer minimum guarantees on labor along with manufacturer warranties on materials, some homeowners choose to purchase extended warranties, which are usually not calculated in the original price of the job.

Adding roof ventilation, gutters, or other proactive additions

While your roofing contractor is on the job, you may decide to add attic ventilation, new gutters or downspouts, replace vent gaskets, or do other proactive work to make your home more comfortable and your roof more weathertight. That can be a smart move, especially as it can prevent future damage and take advantage of the fact that you already have a roofer on site, but it will impact the overall cost of your roof repairs.