Cost of Replacing Broken Roof Tiles

All you need to know about replacing broken roof tiles including costs of materials, costs of labour and time frames.

broken roof tiles

What the job entails

Roof tiles or shingles are easily the most common type of roof covering in the UK, they are long lasting and effective, but being exposed to the UK weather 24/7 means that they will ultimately get damaged. This article is intended to give a general overview on roof tiles and how to go about repairing them, or having them repaired. Costs will vary depending on a number of factors such as the type of tiles and the roof access, so any figures provided are just rule of thumb average prices/costs.

Before replacing any broken roof tiles, the job will look much better if you colour match the new tiles with the old. This will usually mean visiting a merchant and digging through the reclamation section to find used tiles to match those on the roof - it doesn’t have to be a perfect match, as long as you get it close some light weathering will take care of the rest. If you cannot source tiles to match, you cam always try removing tiles from the rear, or the bottom row which are not normally noticed, then using them to replace any broken tiles, while fitting the new replacements to areas which from the ground are almost undetectable.

When fitting tiles it was common practise to fix every third row of tiles using clout nails made of galvanised steel, aluminium, or copper. The other two rows of unfixed tiles in between these rows rely on lugs underneath the tile to keep them in place and hang them from the timber roofing batten, with the weight of the overlapping tiles on top keeping them in place. This helps when gaining access to replace any broken tiles as you can simply slide the non-nailed tiles out of position. Though if you are in an area with high winds, or have bought an ex-council house, you may find that every tile has been nailed on every row. In addition since 2005 the regulations changed and all roof tiles now have to be nailed or otherwise mechanically fixed on roofs.

It makes sense that while you are up on roof, or have paid a contractor to do so, to carry out a full inspection of the roof and check for other related jobs that may need doing. Typically these additional jobs may include replacing fascia/soffit boards, lead flashing and guttering. The bottom row of roof tiles will rest on the fascia boards and the guttering is also fixed to these boards. If the tiles on the bottom row are broken or missing, this may have led to damp and rot damaging the fascia and even the roof joists themselves.

Replacing broken roof tiles can be a DIY repair job if you are comfortable working at height and have all the right equipment. No planning permissions or building warrants are required, plus the removal and refitting of the tiles is pretty straightforward. Though climbing around on a roof is a recipe for disaster without the right safety equipment and relevant experience - if you do not feel comfortable working at height, then hire a professional roofing contractor!

Roof tile prices vary due to the type and quality, in addition the prices quoted for replacing tiles will vary from roofer to roofer depending on your location, roof height and access. If doing the job yourself as a DIY project, be careful when nailing tiles to battens, too much pressure can result in breaking the tile and/or damaging waterproof membrane underneath, thereby increasing the costs of the job. In addition, on very old roofs, sometimes when removing individual tiles to access a broken one, other tiles will break/crumble, so a single tile replacement can easily turn into a 4-5 tile job. So always buy more tiles than you think you will need for the job, have 2-3 tiles extra on hand at least, especially if you have sourced older tiles which are a perfect colour match.

Cost of Replacing Broken Roof Tiles

The average cost of replacing broken roof tiles is usually in the range of £75-£300 depending upon whether the tiles are nailed down, the type of tile, whether the roofline has easy access, and whether your house is single or 2-storey.

Most roofline workers operate in pairs and will usually charge around £200-£300 per day. Replacing some broken roof tiles take very little time and can be completed within an hour quite easily. Also, most roofline workers are happy to do this job by themselves so you shouldn't have to pay for both roofers.

Here are a few average costs for replacing roof tiles:

# of Tiles Scaffolding? Avg. Cost Duration
less than 5 No £75 1 hour
less than 15 No £125 2 hours
less than 5 Yes £250 2 hours
less than 15 Yes £325 3 hours


Cost Breakdown

Individual costs for replacing less than 10 roof tiles, with no scaffolding required and the tiles are easy to source - Total Cost: £100

20%

Materials
£20

80%

Tradesmen
£80

0%

Waste Removal
£0

FAQ's

When pricing jobs involving roof tiles, it depends on the access to the roof, how difficult it is to remove old tiles (ie are they nailed/cemented?), cost of chosen replacement tiles, and the general condition of the roof (if the roof is falling apart then there is no point just repairing some broken tiles or slates).

That being said, on average replacing a small patch of broken roof tiles (up to 5), would typically cost anywhere from £100 to £150. These figures assume easy access, standard height and shape roof, and easy to find replacement tiles. A smaller local firm could charge a little bit less, while a large national company could charge slightly more. If access is difficult, for example if there is a conservatory in the way so ladders cannot be used and therefore scaffolding is required, add on £200 to £300 to the total cost.
If the tile is not nailed or cemented down, then you just need slide tiles out of the way to lift the tile away from batten, then fix new tile into place. The entire job can be done in just minutes if nothing goes wrong and it can be accessed safely with a ladder and scaffolding is not required. Obviously if tiles are nailed or cemented this will take a little longer, while erecting scaffolding will take a lot longer if required.
Though sometimes difficult, finding matching tiles for historic or obsolete tile roofs can often be done, though it will involve a lot of extra work contacting companies that salvage and/or reclaim old roofing tiles around the country.

Many of these companies will have a large variety of old roof tiles so that more often than not a match can be found. Of course you should be prepared to pay extra for this if you expect a roofing company to source the tiles on your behalf. If matching tiles cannot be found, clay tiles can actually be reproduced, failing that tiles can be taken from less visible parts of the roof, or as a last resort, replacing all the tiles with new ones is the final option.