If your roof is starting to show its age, has sprung a leak or lost a few shingles you might be wondering if it’s a better idea to repair it or replace the entire thing. It can be confusing to know which way go, but you’ll be pleased to know that many roofing contractors claim over half of the inspections they make don’t result in replacement. A repair works just fine. So how do you know when it’s time to repair versus replace?
The Importance Of Making The Right Decision
It’s important to know whether to repair your roofing or replace it because it can have an effect on the short and long-term function of the roof and it can have an effect on your budget too. Choosing to try and fix the problem when it really should be replaced, for example, just means you’ll end up paying for it twice in a short amount of time. On the other hand, making repairs when appropriate will save you money and will work just fine. To save money and ensure the long-term functionality of the rooftop, you need to know under what conditions you should choose to repair versus replace.
What Kind Of Roofing Problems Can Be Repaired?
Roofing repairs come in all shapes and sizes and may be needed on the inside of the home or the outside. Roofing companies can handle these interior repairs just as easily as exterior repairs and may be a better choice to do so than a handyman or general contractor.
Some of the most common problems that can be fixed are:
Missing, Torn or Damaged Shingles. You never know what you’ll find after going outside after a strong storm, but missing and damaged shingles are a common occurrence. Slipping new shingles into the gaps left by old ones is fairly simple and inexpensive and it’s just as easy to replace torn or damaged pieces. Qualified roofing contractors will have no trouble removing the bad ones and putting new ones into place. One thing to be aware of however, is that the replacements aren’t going to match up 100% with the existing shingles. Even if you did have extras on hand from the original installation, exposure to UV radiation and the elements will have weathered the remaining shingles so the new ones won’t match exactly.
Roofing Leaks. Leaks are almost always fixable. And many times they don’t have to do with the integrity of the roof itself, but are more of a flashing problem. Finding out where the leak starts can be tricky since water travels so easily, but by systematically rinsing off sections, you should be able to pinpoint the problem area. Then it’s just a matter of repairing or replacing the flashing.
Partial Re-Roof. If you’ve had significant damage to only one area, you might be able to get away with a partial re-roof. This will save money over full replacement and is easier to blend than replacing a few shingles here and there. Partial re-roofs do have their fair share of downsides too; most notably they can be more expensive per square foot than full replacement. It’s best to get the opinion of a few trusted roofing companies before making a decision.
When Is Replacement A Good Idea?
Replacement is a big investment but sometimes it’s the best option. Consider replacement if:
Your roof is old. Roofs don’t last forever. If yours is approaching 20 years and needs some work, you are probably better off replacing it. By this time the shingles will have dried out, cracked and been worn down in places. This can lead to moisture accumulation underneath, which leads to slow decay of the wood framing underneath.
You’re doing a Partial Re-Roof. If you’re planning to be in the home for several more years and the roof is creeping up in age, but you only need a partial replacement right now, think about doing the whole thing anyway. It will be less expensive in the long run to have the entire thing done at one time while the crew is already on site with all of the materials and, as mentioned above, the cost per square foot of a reroof is usually higher than the cost per square foot of a full replacement.
It’s sustained a lot of damage over time. Roofs that are exposed to severe weather conditions won’t last as long as those in more moderate conditions. If you find yourself replacing a few shingles here and there after nearly every storm, you’re better off redoing the whole thing than continuing to make as-needed patches. Materials have improved a lot over the years, full replacement will give you a chance to upgrade to more durable shingles or even those that are designed to withstand strong winds or wet weather better than others and the adhesives used will be fresh.
If you’re not sure whether replacement or repair is right for you, contact a few roofing contractors in your area. You’ll find several that offer free on-site inspections and analyses.