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The Homeowner’s Guide to Emergency Roof Repair: Act Fast, Act Smart

By The HomeGo Team On 2021-04-15

Your home’s roof is your first defense against the elements, keeping out the rain, wind, cold, and pests. Everyone who lives in your home depends on a sound roof.

But despite the roof’s importance, it’s easy enough to not give it much thought… until a situation arises. Perhaps a tree limb crashed into your roof. Maybe you found water damage in your attic. Or perhaps there’s a bad leak coming from the ceiling after a storm.

Whatever the cause, roof problems are serious. Often, roof damage requires immediate attention, so it doesn’t threaten the integrity of the whole house.

Here’s what you need to know about the costs and importance of emergency roof repair.

What Qualifies as an Emergency Roof Repair?

All roof repair must be considered urgent, as water damage can have ripple effects through the rest of your home. Leaving a roof problem untreated can result in mold, major leaks and, over time, the loss of structural integrity.

But what constitutes a true roof repair emergency? As a general rule, an emergency is any situation in which water or pests can freely enter your home, or that threatens the structural integrity of your home, making it unsafe.

Here are a few common causes of emergencies that require immediate attention:

  • Lighting strikes
  • Fallen trees or wayward branches
  • Damage from a fire
  • Harsh winds
  • Severe storms
  • Animal or insect pests
  • Structural collapse
  • A leak that starts small, but quickly grows in volume

Let’s look at some example scenarios; these qualify as emergency roof repair situations that must be addressed quickly:

  • High winds or a storm have damaged the shingles or flashing on your roof, leaving a place where water comes in when it rains
  • Something (such as a tree branch) has fallen on your roof and created a hole, through which the elements and pests can enter your home
  • A damaged place on your roof requires a tarp to keep out water
  • A fire or lightning strike has burned and damaged a section of the roof; even if the shingles seem untouched, there’s structural damage below
  • Animals, such as squirrels, have chewed a hole through the roof

As you can see, an emergency roof repair is any situation in which the elements or pests can enter your home, the roof’s structural integrity is compromised, or the potential for further extensive damage is high.

Is a Leaking Roof an Emergency?

There’s no cookie-cutter answer to this question, as every situation is unique. However, as a general rule, a slow leak may not always qualify as a roof repair emergency.

Other roof issues, while also serious, may not require immediate repair. These might include:

  • Clogged rain gutters
  • Damaged flashing
  • Hail damage to shingles

In many cases, issues like these don’t require an emergency phone call to a roofer.

Just keep in mind that these problems will need to be repaired… and waiting too long will likely lead to further damage.

In the long run, the longer you wait to repair roof issues, the more it ends up costing in the end.

How do I Temporarily Fix My Roof?

What if you can’t get a roofer out to your home for a few days… or you simply can’t afford to pay for repairs for a couple of weeks? You still need to take action to protect your home from further damage.

Start by covering up any holes in the living areas of your home. You may use plastic sheeting or waterproof tarps. Place buckets or containers under active drips.

Move furniture and rugs away from problem areas. If the leak is near electrical outlets or wiring, you may need to shut off power to your home.

If it’s safe, try to cover any holes or damage on the roof with a waterproof tarp.

Important: If the area is unsafe, such as an icy or slippery section of roof, or there’s severe weather or a windstorm, do not attempt to climb out and fix the issue yourself!

Instead, call a roofer as soon as you can. Keep in mind that roofers can’t work during certain weather events — such as storms or extreme temperatures — so you may not be able to get the issue fixed until working conditions are safe.

What is the Cheapest Way to Replace a Roof?

In a nutshell: There really isn’t a cheap way to replace a roof. In fact, fixing or replacing a roof falls among the top most expensive home repairs.

General estimates put a roof repair at an average of $12,000 or more. The full cost depends on factors such as the extent of damage, where you live, the type of roof materials needed, and the dimensions of your roof.

Then there’s the additional cost of removing all the old materials, such as shingles and flashing. The costs of roof repair really add up quickly.

Unfortunately, a leaky or damaged roof isn’t a fix you can put off. Ignoring roof problems simply leads to more necessary (and costly) home repairs down the road.

Can I Reduce the Cost of An Emergency Roof Repair?

There are a few ways you can try to save on the cost of roof repair. Start by researching your available options.

Before you talk to any roof contractors, be sure you know the exact size of your roof and the materials you need, as well as your roof’s complexity. Having these key details in hand will make it easier for roofers to provide accurate cost estimates.

And speaking of estimates, shop around to get several before making a decision. Be aware that extremely low bids might be a red flag; check contractors’ licensing and insurance status on your state’s consumer protection agency website.

While no roofing materials are cheap, certain types are less expensive. For instance, asphalt shingles usually cost about $3.50 to $5 per square foot. In contrast, metal, slate, or tile generally run from $9 to $15 per square foot.

Timing may also play a role in roof work cost. In most parts of the U.S., roofing contractors are busiest in the summer and fall. They may charge higher rates at these times. Hiring roofers in late winter or spring may be cheaper.

However, if you need emergency roof repair, you may not have the luxury of choosing when and how to fix the issue.

In most cases, emergency repairs need to be completed as soon as possible to protect your home from further damage.

Is it Safe to DIY a Roof Replacement or Repair?

With some home repairs, taking a DIY (do it yourself) approach offers a way to save some money. But when it comes to roof replacement and repair, DIY is not the way to go.

Unless you are an experienced roofer yourself, it’s always best to call the professionals for emergency roof repair. A qualified roofer will be able to assess the situation and spot all the issues that need to be fixed.

A professional roofing company will be licensed, bonded, and insured. They’ve got the specialized training, tools, and knowledge that are necessary for a complex job like replacing or repairing a roof.

Plus, fixing a roof can be a dangerous undertaking. Hidden structural damage can lead to loss of roof integrity, making the job even more unsafe for DIY-ers.

What To Do if You Can’t Afford a New Roof

Emergency roof repair often runs into the thousands of dollars — and roof replacement into the tens of thousands.

For so many homeowners, that much money isn’t easily available. Given the expense of roof repair, it’s not hard to see why so many homeowners simply can’t afford a new roof.

But roof damage isn’t a problem that goes away on its own. Even if you can throw up a tarp or two, leaving damage unfixed will lead to the need for even more costly repairs in the future.

Unfortunately, roof damage is one of those red flag issues that makes it extremely hard to sell a home. From soggy insulation to structural damage to the need for expensive repairs, there aren’t many house hunters that will want to purchase a home with roof damage.

Then there’s the mold; in many states, home sellers must disclose mold issues to potential buyers. Not only does mold lead to damage in the home, but it can also cause health issues. It’s no surprise that mold is a deal-breaker for many home buyers.

Fortunately, when it comes to selling a home that needs roof repair or replacement, you do have options: HomeGo will buy your house as-is. That means you don’t have to shell out (tens of) thousands of dollars to repair or replace your roof before you sell, as you would with a traditional sale. HomeGo offers a hassle-free way to avoid paying out of pocket for expensive home repairs and renovations.

HomeGo provides you with a firm, same-day offer that won’t change. In many cases, your home sale can close within two weeks. You won’t have to worry about contingencies or buyers backing out of a sale at the last minute due to the need for expensive emergency roof repair.

Selling to HomeGo allows you to close your home quickly, even with roof damage, and move on with your life.

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The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available on this site are for general informational purposes only.