Roof Repair Guide

By Kim
Last updated 8th January 2024 - Reading time: 16 mins

Are you looking for information on roof repairs?

In this roof repair guide, we will go over everything you need to know about the job, including the different types of roof repair, the cost of repairing a roof, and how to clean and maintain your roof.

Clay roof

What is a Roof Repair?

Several things can go wrong with the roof on your home, including leaks, weather damage, or broken roof tiles. A roof repair involves identifying these issues with the roof and then performing the appropriate repairs needed so that the roof is in good condition.

Tradesperson repairing a roof

Types of Roof Repairs

There are several different types of roof repair for all different issues. Below is a list of the most common roof repairs, what's involved with each one and the pros and cons of each repair.

Roof Valley Repair

The roof valley is the part of the roof where the two slopes meet. This part of the roof joins the whole roof together and is also designed to shift rainwater downwards towards the gutter. The roof valley is the first point of contact for rain, and it has to deal with a lot of water.

Over time, the roof valley can suffer from wear and tear, and this can result in leaks. The job usually involves replacing cement or re-using the existing valley flashing after the leak has been dealt with. The repairs usually cost around £350-£450 and take around 0.5-1 day to complete.


✔ Stops leaks

✔ Can help prevent further leaks

✔ Prevents further damage on other parts of the roof

✔ Protects the home from water damage


✖ Sometimes you will need to replace the whole valley, and this could be a large, costly job

Flat Roof Repair

Over the past few decades, the quality of flat roofs has improved immensely compared to older flat roofs. If your home was built before the 1990s and features a flat roof, then this may be prone to leaking over time.

The good news with this is, although you'll need to fork out a bit for a replacement, your new flat roof will be very good quality and should last for the lifetime of the house.

Flat roofs are more prone to developing leaks as there is nowhere for the water to drain off it. This means that water collects on the roof, which can damage it. Add to that the damage caused by the burning sun and see why flat roofs have a bad reputation. The cost to repair a flat roof is around £100 per metre squared.


✔ Your replacement roof will be very high-quality

✔ It's unlikely that you'll experience these problems again


✖ High costs

Roof Tile Replacement

If one of your roof tiles is broken or missing, this is something that you should get fixed right away. A broken roof tile could break away and fall from the roof, which could end up injuring someone.

A missing roof tile will allow water and wind to enter the gaps, and this can lead to leaks or even further damage to the surrounding tiles, resulting in a bigger job down the line. This is why it's especially important to get roof tiles fixed as soon as you identify a problem with them. The cost of repairing a roof tile usually starts at around £200.


✔ Avoid further damage

✔ Avoid leaks

✔ Avoid injury


✖ It can end up costing a lot if multiple tiles need replacing

Sagging Roof Repair

A sagging roof is usually caused by one of two things – either the materials used on the roof are weighing down on the timber frame and causing it to sag, or there is water damage to the internal structure, which is causing the roof to sag.

Roof repair

If the issue is to do with the weight of materials, then you will usually need to have additional joists installed. This tends to cost around £1000-£2000 depending on the size of your roof and how many additional joists are needed.

If your internal structure is waterlogged, then you will need to get some parts replaced. This is quite a big job and can cost around £5000-£12,000 depending on the size of your property and the extent of the damage.


✔ Avoid further damage

✔ Prevents structural issues

✔ Improves the appearance of the home

✔ Improves the effectiveness of the roof


✖ Very expensive

✖ Large job

✖ Time-consuming

What Are the Pros and Cons of Repairing a Roof?

There are several advantages to repairing a roof. Aside from the fact that it makes your roof much safer and improves the home's appearance, there are many advantages of choosing to repair the roof rather than completely replace it.

Although in some cases it may be better to replace the entire roof – especially if the damage is extensive – it's also sometimes better to simply repair the damage. Below is a list of the pros and cons of repairing your roof rather than replacing it:


More Affordable

Many roof repairs are quite small and won't necessarily require a complete roof replacement. This means that small areas of the roof can be repaired, and this can end up costing much less than an entire roof replacement.

Save Time

As well as being more affordable, roof repairs are also much less time consuming than a full roof replacement. Most of the common roof repairs in the UK can be completed within a day. This is much more convenient than a complete roof replacement which could take weeks to complete.

Tradesman repairing a roof


Issues May Keep Popping Up

If your roof is particularly old, then you may start to notice wear on it. Once you've fixed one part of the roof, you may then have to repair other parts of the roof as time goes on. If you were to get your entire roof replaced, it's much less likely that you'd need to continue to spend any money on repairs in the future.

How Much Do Roof Repairs Cost?

You may be wondering about how much a roof repair costs. Roof repair prices will usually depend on a few different factors.

The cost of roof repairs will depend a lot upon the type of repair that is needed. For example, replacing around five broken tiles will cost around £170, whereas the cost to repair roof joists is around £250-£300 per beam. If you need your entire roof replaced, this can cost around £10,000 or more.

Repairing a clay roof

There are several other roof repair or replacement jobs that you may need to do at some point. One example of this is a conservatory roof replacement. This job costs around £4000 on average.

How to Repair a Roof

There are many different types of roof repair, and each one requires a different method. Below is a step-by-step guide for some common types of roof repair:

How to Complete a Roof Felt Repair

The best way to repair your roof felt is to put a new patch of felt underneath the tear. Follow the steps below to complete a felt roof repair:

  1. Lift up the torn edge of the felt and spray roof sealant underneath it and on the area next to it. Give this sealant enough time to dry (check the manufacturer's instructions to see how long you need to leave it).
  2. Cut a matching patch of felt that is large enough to fit underneath the tear.
  3. Slide the new felt patch underneath the tear and stick it down firmly.
  4. Lift the torn part of the felt and spray sealant underneath it and on the upper surface of the next patch. Allow this sealant enough time to dry.
  5. Press all of the felt down and then spray sealant over all of the joints.

How to Replace a Broken Roof Tile

Sometimes you may need to replace a broken roof tile. If that is the case, follow the steps below to complete the job:

  1. Begin by removing the broken tile. To do this, slide away the tiles that are next to it and then tilt the broken tile sideways to separate it from the rest.
  2. Lift away the tiles that are underneath the broken tiles and lower them to the floor slowly and carefully. Replace the lowest course of tiles first and work your way from right to left. Lift each tile carefully and hook them together as you slide them into place.
  3. Once you get to the final tile in the course, lift the tiles on either side of it and wiggle the new tile into place until it hooks into position and sits correctly.
  4. Then, move onto the next course up. Once you get to the last tile, you'll have to raise the lower edge of the tile that sits above it. Then, slide the new tile underneath the ones on either side of it. This can be tricky, but if you wiggle it enough, it should slide into place.

How to Replace Roof Slate

If you have a slate roof, you may occasionally have to replace pieces of slate. When you replace a single piece of slate, you won't be able to nail it to the batten, so instead, you'll have to secure it using a metal strip.

Removing the broken pieces of slate can be quite tricky. Old nails may be rusty and could pull up or break. However, if the nails don't come up easily, you'll have to cut them with a slater's ripper. You can hire these from most DIY specialists. Follow the steps below to complete a slate roof repair:

  • Firstly, you will need to remove the broken piece of slate. Wiggle it from side to side to loosen it. Be very careful not to allow any pieces of slate to fall from the roof as these are sharp and can be dangerous.
  • Use tin snips to cut a piece of the metal strip. It should be cut to the size of the slate plus around 100mm.
  • There should be a wooden batten in view between the two slates above the one that you're replacing. Hammer a galvanised clout nail into the metal strip at around 25mm from the end of it and fix this to the wooden batten.
  • Slide your new piece of slate underneath the two existing slates that sit above. Make sure the bevelled edge is facing up.
  • Line up the lower edge of the slate with the adjoining slates. Then, bend the metal strip up and over the bottom edge of the slate to secure it in place. Ensure that the metal strip is pressed down flat on top of the new slate.

How Long Does It Take to Repair a Roof?

You may be wondering how long it is going to take to repair your roof. This can be quite tricky to determine as each type of roof repair will take a different amount of time.

The time it takes will not only depend on the type of roof repair that is taking place but also on the extent of the damage and the ease of access to the roof. If there is a lot of damage and the roof is difficult to get to, the job will take much longer than average.

Two men repairing a roof

Most small roof repairs, such as changing a roof tile or a roof leak repair, can be completed within a few hours. You can usually expect these jobs to take 0.5-1 day to complete.

However, larger jobs such as joist replacements or a complete roof replacement can take much longer. Depending on the size of your roof, you can expect these jobs to take days or even weeks to complete.

Building Regulations or Planning Permission Approval for Roof Repairs

If you plan to repair or replace less than 25 percent of your roof, you won't usually need to submit a building regulations application.

However, you will need approval if you carry out structural alterations, significantly change the roof, or replace or repair more than 25 per cent of the roof.

If you are completely replacing the roof, you will usually need building regulations approval. Some flat roofs will not require building regulations approval. However, you would need to check with your local authority first before commencing with any work.

You won't usually need to worry about planning permission regarding repairs or replacements on your roof. However, the work must adhere to the following:

  • Alterations can't be any higher than the existing highest part of the roof
  • Any alterations must not project any more than 150mm from the existing roof plane
  • Any side-facing windows must be obscured
  • Any openings must be 1.7mm above the floor

If you live in a listed building or a conservation area, you may need planning permission or building regulations approval. It is always best to check with your local authority first if you live in one of these buildings.

How to Clean and Maintain a Roof

Although it doesn't require as much maintenance as some other parts of your home, your roof does need some maintenance. Below is a list of things that you can do to keep your roof clean and well-maintained:

Inspect the Roof Regularly

It's a good idea to inspect your roof a few times a year. This can help you to identify any potential problems early before it's too late. The harsh weather conditions over the winter period can have a negative impact on your roof.

Similarly, the summer weather can cause UV damage. With this in mind, you should aim to inspect your roof at least twice per year in the spring and autumn. Check for things such as clogged gutters, missing or broken roof tiles, damaged drain elements, or any signs of deterioration.

Get Repairs Done Quickly

If you notice any signs of deterioration or broken parts when you inspect your roof, you should get in touch with local roofing companies as soon as possible. This will help you to prevent the possibility of the problem getting any worse.

Get Overhanging Trees Trimmed

Trees make a lovely aesthetic to your home's appearance. However, they can sometimes be damaging to your roof. Overhanging trees on the roof area can lead to falling branches and leaves landing on your roof.

Roof repair tools

Branches can damage the materials on your roof, and debris from the trees can clog up your drainage system. To help prevent this, get your trees trimmed a few times a year as needed.

Clean Your Gutters

When your gutters become clogged, this can often lead to a leaky roof. You should make sure any debris and leaves are cleaned out of your roof gutters regularly. Gutter cleaning involves removing dirt, debris and leaves from the roof gutter and the drainage pipe so that water can escape quickly and efficiently.

Questions to Ask When Hiring a Roof Repair Specialist

There are several things you may need to consider when finding the right contractor to repair the roof on your home for you.

Below is a list of common questions that you should ask when looking for the a roof repair company for the job:

  • Does the contractor have any qualifications that relate directly to roof repairs?
  • What equipment will the contractor be using to complete the job? Will they be using the correct type of equipment? Do you need to provide any equipment?
  • Does the contractor possess any form of insurance for the work? You should look for contractors who have insurance covering property damage, personal injuries, and a work guarantee.
  • How much experience does the contractor have in roof repairs? Can they provide any testimonials or evidence of previous work? Can they provide photos of previous work?
  • Does the contractor offer any guarantees with their work? How long does the guarantee last? What issues are covered under guarantee? Will the contractor fix any issues that arise?
  • How long will the work take to complete?
  • How many contractors will be working on the job?
  • Is there anything you need to do to prepare for the repair job?


Can you repair a roof valley?

When repairing a roof valley, you will usually have to replace the area that is damaged. To do this, you will need to remove the tiles along the valley and then remove the valley flashing.
Then you will need to carefully fit new flashing over the valley connection and fix it into position using concrete or mechanical fixings. The type of connection needed will depend on the type of roof valley that you have.

Should I repair or replace a conservatory roof?

It is recommended that when you start getting problems with your conservatory roof, you should aim to get the roof replaced. You may choose to do some patchwork or small leaking roof repairs. However, these repairs will usually only be temporary.

In most cases, resealing your conservatory will only give you a few months before another leak starts, and you'll have to repair it again. It can often be more cost-effective to replace the roof rather than continue to spend money on small conservatory roof repairs.

If you are on a tight budget, you could opt for a cheap roof repair while you save up to get your roof replaced.

How much does a professional roofer charge for work?

The average cost to hire a roofer to perform repairs or replacements on your roof is around £18-£25 per hour. The exact cost will depend on your location as those based in London, and surrounding areas can expect to pay more than those based in the North or other parts of the UK.

What causes damage to the joists on a roof?

The most common cause of damage on roof joists is water. However, they can also be affected by too much weight on the roof or can become damaged by things such as falling trees or other falling objects.

How long do roof tiles last?

Roof tiles generally tend to last for around over 60 years.


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