installing a temporary roof repair

What Is a Temporary Roof Repair? (Cost & Process)

Does your commercial roof have a roof leak, but with COVID-19 here, you’re considering not doing anything until there’s a clearer picture of what’s going on?

We understand – these times are absolutely crazy for everyone and money might be tight.

Perhaps now isn’t the best time to invest in a complete roofing project, but in order to prevent your roof from being damaged further with every precipitation event, it would be a great idea to install a temporary roof repair to halt that damage.

At West Roofing Systems, we want you to make the smartest decisions possible when it comes to your roof.

Today we’re going to talk about:

– What is a temporary roof repair?
– How does it work? (what’s the process)
– How much does it cost?

And much more. Let’s go…


What is a temporary roof repair?

A temporary roof repair is a solution to stop a roof leak for a short period of time without investing into a more-permanent solution.  Building owners choose this option to get their roof through a rainy season, or to buy them time until permanent repairs happen.

A temporary repair can include spraying polyurethane foam over a certain area or using single-ply patches.


How does a temporary roof repair get installed?

A temporary repair can be installed by spraying foam over an area that’s leaking. This will fully encapsulate the area and not allow any future water to enter the insulation on the roof. Note, since the underlying area is saturated, water that’s still in the insulation can still come through to your building.

A more permanent repair is to remove the saturated areas, replace with similar materials, and then spray foam over top.

But since this is a temporary repair, we quickly clean the top layer and spray foam over top.


On a TPO roof, a roofing contractor would:

  • Clean the area and remove any debris
  • Make sure the area is dry
  • Lay down the TPO patch
  • Weld seams together with hot air gun


NOTE: we’ve seen some errors over the years with temporary repairs such as not allowing seams the proper time to cure, and spraying foam under the required temperature (50 degrees F). This will result in the products failing and the area will no longer be watertight.


How much does a temporary roof repair cost?

The cost of a temporary roof repair is $300-$1,000.

The cost of a permanent roof repair with spray foam costs $4-$7 per square foot.

However, many factors can increase/decrease this price.

A roofing contractor will charge around $60-80 per man hour for a temporary repair.


How does man hours get calculated?


Let’s go through a quick example. Say your roofing contractor is in LaGrange, OH, and your roof is in Parma, OH, a one-hour drive, one way. The rate is $70/hr.

It’ll be 2-man hours to get to Parma (2 roofers, 1 hour each) = $140

It’ll be 3-man hours to make the repair (2 roofers, 1.5 hours each) = $210

It’ll be 2-man hours back to LaGrange (2 roofers, 1 hour each) = $140

Estimated material and fuel cost = $150

Total cost for repair is $640


Pro Tip – to keep costs down, choose a roofing contractor close to your facility


A factor that influences price is the severity of your leak.

If you have a few holes to patch up, costs will be on the lower end of the spectrum. If you have multiple areas where a 12×12 patch is needed, you’ll be on the higher end. It depends on how long it will take to make the repairs.

Every case is different.

But the most important takeaway from this article is…it’s always more cost-effective to get a repair done now, as opposed to doing nothing for 3-4 months until you’re ready to get your roofing project started.


How long will a temporary repair last?

A temporary repair can last up to 1 year if installed properly.

One variable that can shorten or lengthen how long the repair lasts is the surface you’re installing the repair to.

If the existing membrane is not strong enough, this can shorten the life-span of the patch.

The only way to correctly determine how long a temporary roof repair will last is for a roofer to look at the area.


Extra Note: if you’re delaying your complete roofing project until a further date, most roofing contractors will come out ASAP to get you leak-free now.



Can any roof that’s leaking get a temporary repair?

To see if your roof can get a temporary repair, we need to know more details about your roof.

This starts with a discovery call between you and a member of our sales team.

They will ask you, “How bad of a shape is the roof in?”

Sometimes building owners request a temporary repair, but once a roofing contractor gets on-site, they realize the roof membrane is too damaged for minor repairs.

Some examples of too much damage include:

  • The seams are completely ripped open
  • The area is too large to where a few patches won’t stop the leak
  • Too much saturation has occurred over the years because the roof was prone to water damage for an extensive amount of time

The first thing to do is to have a conversation and eventually have a professional roofing contractor look at your roof.

At that time, they will be able to determine if you can get by with a temporary roof repair, or if it would be more cost-effective to perform more permanent work now.



Does the type of roof system matter when performing a temporary roof repair?


In order to repair a roof correctly, you need to use the same material that the current roof is.

For example, if you have a TPO roof, don’t put metal down!

For the roof to perform as it was initially designed to, installing the same material as a temporary repair is your best option.

If you’re just trying to get the roof watertight for a few months, you can spray foam over top of the repair to fully encapsulate the area.


Can I get a temporary roof repair in an emergency situation?

If your roof is already leaking and there’s a storm coming in a few hours, you can call a roofing contractor to perform emergency work.

Emergency work is work performed after hours (5pm) and on weekends.

This will be more expensive (1.5x more costly) than a non-emergency situation, but sometimes this is your only option to prevent more damage in the future.

In the example repair earlier in this post, the $640 repair would cost approximately $960.

In the case of an emergency, a roofing contractor will come out and make a repair that day. If the roofing contractor doesn’t have the same material as what your current roof is, say EPDM, they will use a similar material to get you watertight ASAP (like spray polyurethane foam).



Is there a size or square foot limit of doing a temporary roof repair?

To be exact, there is not.

We cannot say that 5,000 sq. ft. is the maximum size of a temporary roof repair. On most roofs, a repair that’s 5000 sq. ft., it’s more cost-effective to do the entire project now.

Now, if the roof is 200,000 sq. ft., a repair of this size makes sense because of how small the repair is in comparison with the entire roofing area.

The best option you have is to give a roofing contractor a call. They will explain what will happen if you make a temporary repair now, don’t do anything at all, or get the entire roof done.



How soon will a roofing contractor come out to perform a temporary roof repair?

A roofing contractor will usually be able to come on your roof in 3-4 days.

There are a lot of variables that can happen.

One is the roofing contractors schedule and how many service requests have come in. During a slow period, this could be 1 day. In the middle of Summer, after it rained 1-2” the previous night, it could take as long as a week.



Is there any maintenance required in-between a temporary repair and when the entire roofing project will take place?

In order to make sure the repair is performing how it’s supposed to be, it’s in the building owners’ best interest to keep at least a weekly eye on a temporary roof repair.

It’s especially important to check on the repairs right before and after a severe storm comes through. All they need to do is make sure the repair is solid before the storm, and that the repair is still solid after the storm.

If there’s issues, it will be obvious.

The seams will be blown off or the patch will lose adhesion.

Most roofing contractors will apply the temporary roof repair properly the first time and there will be nothing to worry about.

But things happen.

Your car was made not to leak oil, but sometimes it may start leaking for numerous reasons. It’s the owner’s responsibility to notice errors and get them taken care of in a timely manner.



Your next step regarding temporary roof repairs

Hopefully today you learned that if your roof is leaking, you can install a temporary roof repair to get you by for a few months.

This can be really helpful if you’re low on cash, waiting for funding, or just want to minimize the damages that a leaking roof can cause.

Since 1979, West Roofing Systems has been helping business owners with their roofs, whether that’s a complete replacement or a temporary repair to get them leak-free for a short period of time.

If you feel that your roof is in need of a quick repair, please contact us any time and we’ll set up a discovery call to learn about your roof.

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