There are many reasons why it might be time to get a roof repair, such as rotten timbers or water pooling. A leaking roof can be prevented by carrying out a flashing repair or gutter maintenance, among other repairs.
Normally, a roof repair will take from as little as under an hour for a simple tile replacement to a couple of days or more for larger jobs. However, this will depend on the size of the roof, the extent of the damage and the materials used.
Pitched or flat roof repair can be carried out no matter what kind of material your roof is made from, whether it be felt, fibreglass, slate or another material.
My Local Toolbox recommends that when speaking to a local roofer, make sure to check their credentials and past reviews to find the best roofers.
In this guide, we cover:
What are the most common roof repairs?
Roof repair jobs such as leaking roofs are extremely commonplace in the UK due to the inhospitable weather that we face every year.
For example, severe wind can result in roofing materials such as felt, fibreglass and slate becoming dislodged and cause major damage to a property’s interior. On the other hand, a lot of roofs need repair due to general wear and tear or because of poor maintenance.
Here’s our rundown of the nine most common roof repairs in the UK that you should look out for.
Slipped or cracked tiles
Weather conditions such as high winds and heavy rain can cause roof tiles to slip or crack. If only a few tiles have been dislodged, the repair time will be minimal, normally taking less than a couple of hours. However, in more severe cases, it may take several days to complete repairs.
Within a short period, water builds up on the roof’s surface leading to water pooling. It looks like large puddles and is common on flat roofs. As a result, adequate drainage needs to be organised for the water to dissipate.
Due to substantial water ingress, the supporting timber that outlines the roof’s structure can become rotten over time. A good way to check for this is if the timber feels spongy when you touch it. The only solution is to replace the affected timber.
Flashings are metal strips that are used to protect vulnerable parts of the roof where materials meet such as valleys and chimneys. If they become damaged, then it could lead to rain, snow or sleet getting inside the roof.
As a result of poor maintenance and severe weather, guttering can become clogged. This means that water is unable to divert away from your roof and home. Sagging gutters and water leakage are some of the symptoms to look for to identify this.
After a storm, it’s recommended that you conduct a quick check of your roof and guttering to make sure it’s still intact. Severe wind can cause structural issues to occur to the roof or more straight forward issues such as dislodged tiles or guttering.
Water leakage can be caused by several issues and can often signify even greater issues such as clogged ventilation, cracked flashing or eroded sealant. To prevent the prospect of a roof leak repair, carry out regular checks of your home.
Roofing membrane can suffer surface punctures as a consequence of loose debris caused by storms and other events. Surface punctures will lead to a leaking roof.
If twigs, leaves or other materials get lodged in your roofing ventilation, this can lead to your ventilation becoming clogged. This in turn means that air is unable to move freely around the roof and could cause damp spots to appear.
How long does it take to repair a roof?
Normally, it takes at most two to three days to complete a roof repair, although most are much quicker depending on the size of the roof, the severity of the damage and which materials are involved.
- Professional roofers will begin a pitched or flat roof repair by analysing what damage has been caused to your roof. This will help to identify any underlying issues such as rotten timbers or clogged guttering which will need to be rectified before work begins.
- They’ll start the roof repair by removing and safely disposing of the damaged roofing materials.
- The next step is to secure the new roofing felt, fibreglass or slate to the roof. The professional roofer will use protective flashings and waterproof sealants to protect the potentially vulnerable parts of the roof such as the seams where two different materials meet, normally at the valleys or chimney.
- The last step will be ensuring that water can easily drain away through the guttering to prevent the need for additional roof leak repair in the future.
Average roof repair job durations
|Roof repair jobs||Average duration|
|Analyse existing damage||1 hours|
|Remove damaged roofing materials||5 hours|
|Install new roofing materials||7 hours|
|Install new flashings||1 hour|
|Apply waterproof sealant||1 hour|
|Check guttering is working adequately||1 hour|
What is a flat roof?
A flat roof is horizontally level to the eye but actually has a slight slope to provide adequate drainage. They are one of the two most popular roof types in the UK, along with pitched roofs.
There are several advantages that flat roofs offer, with the biggest one being low cost. Flat roofs are much cheaper to repair than pitched roofs due to the amount and type of materials that are normally used and the time it takes to complete the job.
For example, if you’re the victim of a leaking roof, repairing a flat roof will be a fairly easy job to complete. A roofer will pinpoint the area that’s causing the leak and be able to repair it depending on the scale of the damage.
The fact the roof is flat means that the roofer will have ease of access to the affected area. Also, as flat roofs are made from materials such as roofing felt or EPDM rubber the cost of repair is generally lower.
What to consider when repairing a flat roof
Assess the damage
The first thing to consider when repairing or replacing a flat roof is the current state of the damage. By reviewing the damage that’s already occurred and any systemic issues that have resulted from it such as timber rot, it will be much easier to decide if a roof repair or replacement is the best course of action.
Establish a budget
The next step will be to set yourself a budget, as this will determine a lot of things moving forward.
As you might expect, a roof repair is significantly cheaper than a roof replacement due to the number of materials needed to complete the work and the labour costs involved. Roof repair projects can also be finished in a short timeframe.
Choose your materials
The biggest factor that will dictate the cost is the material the roof is made from. Each material has its pros and cons that you should consider before making your final decision.
The first thing that differentiates roofing materials is cost, and you can learn more about them in our roof repair cost guide. The guide outlines the difference in price between a felt, fibreglass and slate roof repair, for example.
Other factors to consider when choosing your roofing material are durability, longevity, and ease of repair. My Local Toolbox always recommends that you discuss each roofing material with a professional roofer. They will be able to advise you on the best one for your situation.
Also consider the speed of which the pitched of flat roof repair can be completed, waste disposal and if you have any special requests such as undertaking a loft conversion.
How do I find the best roofers?
Unfortunately, the roofing industry has gathered somewhat of a bad reputation due to some rogue or ‘cowboy’ roofers not living up to expectations and failing to fulfil their promises.
This has resulted in leaving customers with a less than impressive finish or in some cases even making the initial problem worse.
However, there are some simple steps that you can follow to mitigate your risk. Follow our five-step plan to avoid rogue roofers when planning your pitched or flat roof repair.
1) Shop around for quotes
Use My Local Toolbox to shop around for roof repair quotes. Doing this will give you an insight into the market and help you to establish what the ‘going rate’ is for the roof repair you need to be carried out.
2) Check for evidence of competency
By checking the qualifications, customer reviews and companies house records for a tradesperson, you’ll be able to decipher whether they’re reputable and are likely to carry out a satisfactory job.
3) Sign a contract
Before work begins, make sure to get what’s been agreed in writing in the form of a contract. Doing this leaves no ambiguity on what’s been agreed by both parties and legally protects you from sub-standard workmanship.
4) Inspect work throughout
Throughout your roof leak repair, inspect how work is progressing. Ask inquisitive questions about the construction of your roof and keep an eye on if deadlines are being adhered to.
5) Pay on completion
Finally, make sure to agree on a deal that means that you only pay once the work has been completed and are satisfied with it. If you end up paying upfront, cowboy tradespeople may be less inclined to fulfil the pitched or flat roof repair to a high standard.
By following the steps above, you will ensure that your risk of running into a rogue roofer is minimised.
We’ve created a detailed guide on how to find great tradespeople.
Roof repair FAQ
Can flat roofs be repaired instead of replaced?
Indeed, flat roof repair is a great option if you’re suffering from a leaking roof or other issues instead of carrying out a full roof replacement.
Firstly, an assessment will need to be carried out to confirm the extent of the damage to your current roof. This will determine whether it’s the most cost-effective move to opt for a flat roof repair or a roof replacement.
If the damage is deemed not to be substantial, then a flat roof repair will be your best course of action. The average flat roof repair takes a maximum of two to three days (but often much less), meaning the existing damage will be rectified before it can cause any more issues from occurring to the rest of the structure.
Flat roof repairs have many advantages such as being extremely affordable and extending the lifespan of your roof. Also, you’re able to conduct a roof leak repair no matter what material your roof is made from, whether it be felt, fibreglass, or slate.
Does my home insurance cover roof repairs?
Sometimes. According to My Urban Jungle it depends on your insurance policy and the cause of the roof damage. General ongoing maintenance is unlikely to fall under a home insurance policy. But if your roof is well maintained and a storm were to cause damage to your roof (or belongings as a consequence of the damaged roof) then it could fall under your home insurance. As always with insurance, it’s best to check the details.
Can I fix a leaking conservatory roof?
Yes, it is possible to fix a leaking conservatory roof. The main reason that roof leak repairs are needed in conservatories is because of wear and tear over time. The longer you have your conservatory the greater chance that the roofing material will begin to deteriorate.
This can potentially lead to problems such as water leakage and damp patches appearing on the walls.
Another issue could be that roof vents which are used for supplying adequate ventilation to the conservatory have begun to leak. If the damage isn’t severe, a leaking roof repair will have to be carried out.
The most common roof leak repairs involve having to replace a single roof panel or roof vent.
However, the most important fix may be to reapply the waterproof sealant that protects the seams where roofing materials meet.
Although you could attempt to carry out these repairs yourself, it’s always best to contact a professional local roofer and let them take care of the issue for you. This will prevent the issue from potentially becoming worse due to a DIY mishap.
Is there ever a time where repairing a roof is better than replacing it?
Yes, there can be times when repairing a roof is better than replacing it, with the biggest reason being cost.
A full roof replacement can be extremely costly (typically thousands of pounds), especially for large roofs. A roof repair can save you from spending money on an unnecessary replacement when a repair will be adequate.
This is especially the case if the roof is still within its natural lifespan. For example, if your roof is five years old and normally lasts for 20 years, it’s worthwhile to explore roof repair rather than a full replacement depending on the scale of the damage. A new roof wouldn’t be cost-effective.
Another advantage of pitched or flat roof repair is the small amount of time it takes compared to a roof replacement.
Depending on the issue, a roof repair can take anywhere between a couple of hours to two or three days to complete.
However, a full roof replacement can take one week or more depending on the size of the roof.
This prevents the issues that your current roof is facing from causing more damage while you’re waiting for a full roof replacement, although this circumstance is rare.
A roof replacement also takes much more time to plan than a roof repair, as in many cases you must seek planning permission and conform to building regulations.
If you think it’s time for a roof repair, head over to our roofing page. Here you’ll find an array of helpful insights on pitched roofs, flat roofs, and garage roofs. Alternatively, My Local Toolbox has put together a roof repair cost guide to help you plan your pitched or flat roof repair.
To get quotes from roofers near you – post a job now.