Roof Repairs: Refurbishing A Pitched Roof

At some stage in a pitched roof’s life it is going to need more than just minor roof repairs. (See Pitched Roof Problems And Roof Repairs for details on individual repairs). A well constructed pitched roof can last 50 years and longer but if a couple of lead valleys have gone, a few ridge tiles have cracked, some individual tiles or slates have slipped and there are leaks or condensation appearing in the loft then it may be time for a full refurbishment of your roof.

What does renewing a roof involve?

Pitched Roof Construction
Pitched Roof Construction

Creating a new roof on an existing house involves:

  • Putting up scaffolding to eaves level
  • Removing old tiles including ridge tiles and hip tiles along with mortar from ridges / verges. Dispose of or sell any tiles that can be reclaimed (unless you intend to reuse on new roof)
  • Removing old wooden battens and disposing of in skip (if untreated timber then it can also be used as kindling wood for a wood burning stove)
  • Remove any lead from valleys (there is scrap value in old lead)
  • Removing old roof felt  or torching and dispose of in skip
  • Checking wooden rafters and joists are sound. Replace any that are rotten. Remove /hammer down all protruding nails
  • Add new breathable membrane
  • Add new pressure treated wooden battens at correct spacing
  • Put on new tiles or slates or re-use old ones. Clay tiles will be hung on nibs. Slates will be nailed to battens
  • Add roof ventilators if required for bathroom extractor fan
  • Create new valleys (joins between roofs) with new code 4 lead or GRP
  • Bed down any ridge tiles with mortar and bed down tiles on verges
  • Add thermal insulation between rafters if cold roof (or lay insulation on floor of loft if cold roof)
  • Remove scaffolding and leave site in tidy condition
  • Remove skip

It is assumed here that the rafters and joists are reasonably sound. Where these all need to be replaced then there will be an additional cost for new roof trusses.

Additional repairs that can be done at the same time include:

  • Replacing rotten fascias, soffits and bargeboards
  • Painting fascias, soffits and bargeboards (using the scaffolding for access)
  • Replacing guttering

A new roof can mean all new roof tiles or slates or it may involve replacing those tiles which are damaged or have little life left in them. Clay tiles and slates can last for 100 years or more and concrete tiles 50 years plus.  If the majority of the tiles are still usable then the ones that are damaged can be replaced with reclaimed tiles. Alternatively the older usable tiles / slates can be sold and an all new tile roof can be constructed.

Major factors which contribute to the cost of a new roof are:

  • The area of the roof in square meters
  • The material used for the roof covering
  • Ease of access to the roof – bungalows will cost less as the scaffolding costs will be much lower
  • The complexity of the roof – how many valleys, hips and chimneys are there
  • The amount of roof tiles that are to be reused – depending on the state of the tiles often 60-80% of the clay tiles on a roof can be reused. A roof with 100% new tiles will cost more.

Let’s look at a few typical examples.

House types for roof repairs
House types

New Concrete Tile Roof

House Type Roof
Scaffolding Roof covering Other
Labour Total Cost
Small Terrace 55 sq m £800 £670 £700 £1,300 £3,470
Semi-detached 70 sq m £1,600 £860 £840 £2,080 £5,370
Detached 100 sq m £2,000 £1,220 £990 £3,120 £7,340

Assuming use of a Redland 49 concrete tile (382mm x 226mm) with coverage of 16.3 tiles per sq metre.


New Plain Clay Tile Roof

House Type Roof
Scaffolding Roof covering Other
Labour Total Cost
Small Terrace 55 sq m £800 £1,420 £820 £1,300 £4,340
Semi-detached 70 sq m £1,600 £1,810 £980 £2,080 £6,470
Detached 100 sq m £2,000 £2,580 £1,200 £3,120 £8,900

Assuming use of a Marley Clay Plain Acme Single Camber Roof Tile (265mm x 165mm) Red Sandfaced with coverage of 60 tiles per sq metre.
This cost does not make any allowance for sale of old clay tiles. Depending on condition then these could be worth 50% or more of value of new tiles.

These prices are a general guide. Where specific materials are used then the cost may vary.  The clay tile quoted here is a mid range tile which is widely available. Specialist alternative clay tiles can double or even treble the roof covering cost.


Plain Clay Tile Re-Roof with 20% reclaimed tiles

House Type Roof
Scaffolding Roof covering Other
Labour Total Cost
Small Terrace 55 sq m £800 £280 £820 £1,300 £3,200
Semi-detached 70 sq m £1,600 £360 £980 £2,080 £5,020
Detached 100 sq m £2,000 £520 £1,200 £3,120 £6,840

Assuming 80% of tiles can be re-used and 20% will be reclaimed to match existing.


New Natural Slate Roof – Using Spanish Slate

House Type Roof
Scaffolding Roof covering Other
Labour Total Cost
Small Terrace 55 sq m £800 £1,350 £840 £1,300 £4,290
Semi-detached 70 sq m £1,600 £1,720 £1,010 £2,080 £6,410
Detached 100 sq m £2,000 £2,460 £1,240 £3,120 £8,820

Assumes 500mm x 250mm Spanish slate with 50mm x 25mm battens. For welsh slate, for many the best slate you can buy,  you can double or more the roof covering cost.


Natural Slate Re-Roof with 20% Reclaimed Slate

House Type Roof
Scaffolding Roof covering Other
Labour Total Cost
Small Terrace 55 sq m £800 £540 £840 £1,300 £3,480
Semi-detached 70 sq m £1,600 £690 £1,010 £2,080 £5,380
Detached 100 sq m £2,000 £980 £1,240 £3,120 £7,340

Assuming 80% of slates can be re-used and 20% will be reclaimed to match existing.


New Fibre Cement Slate Roof

House Type Roof
Scaffolding Roof covering Other
Labour Total Cost
Small Terrace 55 sq m £800 £770 £840 £1,300 £3,710
Semi-detached 70 sq m £1,600 £980 £1,010 £2,080 £5,670
Detached 100 sq m £2,000 £1,400 £1,240 £3,120 £7,760

Assumes 500mm x 250mm fibre cement slate.

How long does a new roof take to build?

Assuming an existing roof has to be removed and two people are working full time on the roof then typical timescales are:

  • Small terraced house: 1 week
  • Semi-detached house: 2 weeks
  • Detached house: 3 weeks

Detached houses tend to have more complex roof designs with gables, hips and more valleys. That’s why it costs more per square metre than a terraced house which tends to  have a very simple roof design. Scaffolding for detached houses tends to be more complex as well.


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  1. says

    A very well researched and informative article for home owners! One thing it does not mention is the possibility of having the loft insulation upgraded if specified by building regs.

  2. Eliza says


    Just found your website on googling. Thank you for that. It all looks quite clear and I can understand whats what from it. I was checking around because I’ve got a leak on a room ceiling in a bungalow I’ve recently bought and wondering exactly what the cause is and the likely cost to put it right. Errrm…not good news then….as according to what you say I might be looking at a bill of around £5,000 for roof replacement, when I wasn’t aware of/expecting any roof problems at all when I bought the place!

    Anyway….if there’s a horrible, fair-size unexpected problem to be face (and I have the sinking nasty feeling that I’ll be lucky to get away with having to pay out an unexpected few hundred £s) then its as well I can gauge the extent of this unexpected problem. I’ll just wander off and curse that damn vendor of this house a bit more….

  3. emmadavis says

    Nice blog.Roof repair is depend upon the condition or the quality of the roof all these things are depend , when i have roof issues then Roofing Repairs Cardiff sort out the roofing issues.

  4. Pat says

    Hi, interesting reading; i’ve just had small single storey gable roof replaced with the modern slate approx 12sq metres at a cost of £1500; all debris taken away and no scaffolding needed the company were recommended and appear to have done a good job. Do you think this was a reasonable cost, they are finishing today. Thanks

  5. says

    Awesome post and thanks for the great info. I have an area that I need to repair and was considering doing it myself. Nice to compare the stats against what my tiler has quoted. Cheers, Jane

  6. says

    And if you are planning to make such an investment, pay considerable attention to the transformation that your property needs in the case of interior remodeling.
    Second, if you’re skeptical about a certain roofing
    company or contractor, ask for references. They will assess the
    damage, take photographs, use satellite imagery to delve deeper into the extent of the damage and organize the highly qualified and experienced crew to get to
    work immediately.

  7. says

    Love the checklist you have included in the blog, its going to be really useful for me, I actually printed this blog post out to use on site! Thanks for the advice!

  8. Douglas Mackrell says

    Well done Jon, this site is really informative, and there are very few like it. I am facing re-covering a roof which keeps shedding slates. The property is a small terrace, but with somewhat more complicated roof than that in your illustration. Two contractors have quoted well over £8,000 for re-covering with concrete tiles, seems excessive. Do your estimates include VAT?

    • roofman says

      Hi Douglas. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it. The figures do include VAT. Prices will vary according to region (London and the South East will clearly be higher) and local competition so I would use these prices as a broad comparison between different materials. More complex roof shapes will add to the cost and lead valleys in particular can be quite pricey. Would be interested to see any pictures you have of the roof at some stage – every now and then I sit down with some roofers I know and pick their brains on how much they would charge for a particular job.

  9. says

    The roof is your home’s main line of defense against water damage or other damage due to the
    elements. Should you decide to go the route of a do it yourself mentality you need to
    make sure you are confident in your skills as you could do a tremendous amount of damage to your home or building.
    So when it comes down to it and you are vetting a contractor, you are looking for someone who has experience and someone who is going to be around long enough to be able to guarantee some
    type of workmanship warranty.

  10. Tina says

    Fantastic article, I now understand what’s involved with refurbishing my roof similar to the semi in the example, but with a single storey kitchen on the back of the property and a tiled covering across from the lower bay to the porch.

    I have been quoted approx. 6k excluding VAT and previously had no idea whether this was reasonable or not (also had another quote which was approx. 5.k). It seems to be closer to the top end but as he was recommended trust the quality of the person involved. Just need to keep an eye on any extras that might crop up such as guttering and chimney repointing I presume. As a woman have always felt at a disadvantage when talking to workmen without understanding what the job entails so is great to find a nice straightforward explanation.

  11. Wilf Hutchinson says

    Can the old pitched roof be dismantled from the inside to avoid disruption on a neighbours

  12. says

    I am going through some repairs like this as well for my home. I have a gable roof, so I need to make sure that my trusses are looking good as well. A roof like that needs support, and I don’t want any shoddy repairs to end up ruining the entire roof.

  13. says

    Thanks for the article, I am looking at a larger renovation project and am trying to get a handle on ball park roofing costs, this have been very helpful.

  14. Anne Thrope says

    I am in the process of having my Victorian terraced clay tile roof overhauled. And it also comes in at 8k, which was a pretty good quote compared to some others. I live in Somerset so no South East price escalation. My job is a has included;
    -Breathable membrane & batten, put back cleaned tiles (most of the original double roman tiles were fine so simply reused).
    -Removal of muck in current valleys and
    replaced with lead.
    – installing velux, flashing and installing additional timber support. (Window & flashing kit supplied by me)
    – installing 2 x suntile’s (supplied by me)
    – installing tile vents (supplied by me)
    – replacing guttering and soffit
    – removing chimney to rear 2 storey extension, forming roof with tiles where chimney existed
    – installing rock wool insulation rolls above rear extension but 60mm cellotex insulation board between rafters to main roof (which has an original Victorian room in roof).
    – partitioning up the original room in roof using timber stud work and two new doorways to create space for a dressing room and separate ensuite.
    – extending the floor area by 2ft over the stairwell and into the eaves, installing additional structural timber where necessary.
    – installing new balustrade and spindles to original staircase.

    I have removed most of the original and very precarious lathe and plaster ceiling myself and I will be paying for all rubbish to be taken away.

    I had another quote for the job at 14k so I thought 8k was pretty good. Especially in regards to the quality of the work being done, which is extremely thorough.

    It’s probably going to take 2 guys 3-4 weeks, they’re 2 weeks in and have only got the stud work, soffit, guttering and some insulation left to do.

    My list only really has the chimney removal, velux, suntile, floor extension and balustrade to add to your list so I can’t fathom how anyone can achieve your list in a week for only £3200!!!???


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