installing a temporary roof repair

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

Greg PalyaRoof Maintenance

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

At West Roofing Systems, we want you to make the most cost-effective decisions regarding your roof.

Today we’re going to talk about the following:

– 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 without investing in a more permanent solution.  Building owners choose this option to get their roofs through a rainy season or to buy them time until permanent repairs happen.

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

How does a temporary roof repair get installed?

A temporary repair can be installed by spraying foam over a leaking area. This will fully encapsulate the area and prevent future water from entering the roof’s insulation. Since the underlying area is saturated, water in the insulation can still come through to your building.

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

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

A permanent roof repair with spray foam costs $8-$12 per square foot.

However, many factors can increase/decrease this price.

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

How do 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

The 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. You’ll be on the higher end if you have multiple areas where a 12×12 patch is needed. It depends on how long it will take to make the repairs.

Every case is different.

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 start your roofing project.

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 lifespan 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, “How bad of a shape is the roof?”

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 entirely 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?


To repair a roof correctly, you need to use the same material as the current roof.

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?

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

Emergency work is performed after hours (5 pm) and on weekends.
This will be more expensive (1.5x more costly) than a non-emergency situation. Sometimes this is your only option to prevent more damage in the future.

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 your current roof, say EPDM, they will use a similar material to get you watertight ASAP.

Is there a size or square foot limit for 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 minor the repair is compared to 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 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 contractor’s schedule and the number of service requests. During a slow period, this could be 1 day. In the middle of Summer, it could take as long as a week after it rained 1-2” the previous night.


To ensure the repair is performing how it’s supposed to, it’s in the building owners’ best interest to keep at least a weekly eye on a temporary roof repair.

Checking on the repairs before and after a severe storm is important. All they need to do is make sure the repair is solid before the storm and that the repair is still watertight after the storm.

If there are 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 correctly 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 promptly.

Your next step regarding temporary roof repairs

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

This can be 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 a complete replacement or a temporary repair to get them leak-free for a short period.

If you feel your roof needs 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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About the Author

Greg Palya

Greg Palya is the Digital Content Manager of West Roofing Systems, Inc. He has a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Akron and an MBA in Marketing from Walsh University. When he's not trying to teach others about spray foam roofing and silicone roof coatings, you can find him on the basketball court or golf course.