The question of whether to repair or replace roof shingles is a top concern among homeowners, and the answer depends upon the age of your roof and its current condition. If the roof shows minor wear, it probably only needs repair work, especially if it's years away from its date of expiration. If the damage is more widespread, you are more likely to need an entirely new roof.
Reasons to Get Your Roof Repaired
If you're mulling the options of repairing vs. replacing your roof, consider repair work in the following scenarios:
1. The Damage Is Only Minor
If the damage to your roof is only minor, a total roof replacement might be a costly, excessive expense. After all, a roof is meant to last for many years and withstand inclement weather. When damage is limited to small areas, roofing specialists can usually fix it. For example, a leak over your kitchen or bathroom could easily be the result of isolated damage to an otherwise healthy roof.
Pretty much any type of damage confined to a small area can be repaired. Minor holes, for example, can be patched up. There is no reason to invest in a new roof when simple repair work saves you thousands in roofing costs.
2. Your Budget is Tight
If you lack the immediate funds for a complete roof replacement, the option of roof repair will likely save you hundreds and possibly thousands over the price of a new roof. What may at first seem like a significant problem with your roof might only amount to a few hundred dollars worth of repairs. Regardless of your financial situation, the ability to save money is always preferable.
The cost of a new roof can easily exceed the average homeowner's immediate budget. For example, if you found out tomorrow your roof is leaking, but you had already committed yourself financially for the next few months to loan repayments, a vacation and a new automobile, the roofing issue could put a significant dent in your bank account. Then again, that leak might only require repairs to one area of your roof, which would be a lot more affordable at short notice.
3. The Architectural Integrity of Your Roof Must be Maintained
Some roofs should be maintained in their original composition for as long as possible. The thing is, when you replace the roof on any house or building, you inevitably change the look of the property. Moreover, the property is not the same as before because you have replaced one of the critical components of its architecture. Roof repairs, by contrast, allow you to maintain the architectural integrity of a home.
If you live in a classic home, you probably want to keep it as close to the original design as possible, regardless of any home improvement work you may need to do during your occupancy. With roof repairs, it's far easier to maintain the house in its classic state. At most, you will just replace a small portion of the roof.
4. You Need Service at Short Notice
When you are pinched for time, the sudden discovery of a roof leak can put you in a bind. Sure, you wouldn't want to postpone repairs on a leaky roof, but what if you had already planned to leave town at the end of the week for half a month?
If your only solution to a leaky roof is a new roof, you would probably have to choose between trip cancellation or prolonged neglect of the issue at hand. This is because it usually takes time to negotiate and fund the replacement of a roof. On the other hand, you can have roof repair work done quickly when you contact a roofing specialist. If you're in a time crunch, you could easily have a roof problem fixed, even at short notice, and get on with your other plans.
5. Your Roof Was Recently Replaced
If you paid for the roof that is currently installed on your house several years ago, your best option is to see through on that investment. To that end, it's best to keep the current roof in functioning condition for as long as it's meant to last. Just because a roof has incurred minor damage following a recent snowstorm doesn't mean the time has come yet again to replace the roof.
Something to bear in mind is that most homeowners only purchase a new roof once, sometimes twice, throughout the life of their home. Moreover, even the most inexpensive roofs are built to outlast the average residential occupancy. Therefore, the odds are low that you would need to invest in two roof replacements for the same house.
The Benefits of Roof Repair
When you opt for roof repairs you get the following benefits:
- Roof repairs allow you to maintain an otherwise good roof
- Roof repairs are easy to arrange on short notice
- Roof repairs allow you to save money
- Repairs allow you to keep a classic roof intact
Granted, isolated roof damage can spread if the issue is allowed to linger indefinitely. There are three definite warning signs that your roof is in need of repair:
- Moisture Marks: If you see moisture marks, brown stains or peeling paint along the upper reaches of any wall, those are indicators of leaks in the areas in question.
- Chipped Shingles: If portions of your shingles are chipped or appear damaged to the naked eye, you should have them inspected by a roofing specialist.
- Interior Leaks: A leak of any kind is the most urgent sign of roof trouble. If water is dripping through your ceiling in any part of your living quarters, call a roofing specialist immediately.
Can you replace only half a roof? If the remaining half is structurally sound, you may be able to. It all depends on the extent of the damage.
How to Know When to Replace a Roof
Re-roof or repair roof? In the following scenarios, roof replacement is your best option:
1. The Current Roof Has Reached Its Sell-by Date
Nothing lasts forever, and each roofing material has its sell-by date. While roofs made of clay or metal can last for centuries, asphalt roofs generally expire within two decades. Depending on the material of your roof, you're more likely to get a matching, consistent look when you opt for a new roof altogether. This holds especially true with wood shingles, which age naturally and grey with time.
Consequently, the pre-existing wood shingles on a given roof will inevitably look different from a new shingle set. If you have a portion of the shingles replaced, the patchiness will be evident to the naked eye. If visual consistency is important to you, you'll probably want to go for a complete roof replacement if your current shingles have leaks. Then again, it might not matter to you. Visual consistency tends to be most important to owners of homes that are more visible to passersby.
2. Your Roof Is Not Compliant With Current Building Codes
Sometimes, a new roof is your only option if you wish to keep your property in compliance with modern-day building codes. While you can save money by having new shingles placed over faulty, pre-existing ones, you can only have two layers of shingles maximum to still be within building code. Therefore, if you have already resorted to that option, your next round of roofing issues would really mean it’s time for a roof replacement.
If your roof does not conform to current building code, you could run into problems in the future should you decide to sell your property. In any case, have this issue assessed the next time you have a roofing specialist examine your current roof so you can at least know where your property currently stands regarding these compliances to local law.
3. The Damage to Your Roof Is Overwhelming
In some circumstances, a roof will be too damaged for mere repair work. For example, if a tree has fallen straight down on your house, the damage will likely be far too extensive for repairs. Likewise, if leaks are present everywhere and not just in one or two isolated areas, the time has come to purchase a new roof.
As a rule of thumb, roof repairs can remedy damages that cover only 30 percent or less of your roof. Any amount of damage beyond that threshold will likely leave you with no other option but to purchase a new roof altogether.
4. Your Roof Was Damaged in a Recent Natural Disaster
Another situation that can leave you with no other choice but to buy a new roof is when your house has been ravaged by a natural disaster. For example, if a hurricane or tornado has passed through your area, the structural integrity of your roof could be severely compromised, even if the damage appears localized to the naked eye.
Some homeowners will weather local disasters but emerge with their roofs mostly intact — or so it seems. However, a hurricane or tornado can cause structural damage that often won't be readily apparent. Even if your roof is covered with one of the stronger, more durable materials on the market, you might need to replace it if it has incurred damage in a catastrophic event.
A roof inspection will be able to tell you if this has happened to your roof.
5. Any Repair Work Would Only Be a Temporary Stop-gap
Even though a new roof will cost more than repair work, the difference is not always substantial. Sometimes, the difference in price is so minor that you might as well opt for roof replacement, especially if repair work would only serve as a stop-gap measure.
For example, if you have a situation where a new roof would only cost between $500 and $1000 dollars more than the necessary repair work — which would already bring your total well into the four figures — it would probably be best to opt for a new roof. If the roof is already nearing its expiration date, any repair work you have done might only give it another four or five years of use. So, you would be paying almost as much for what you will have to purchase anyway in just a few years.
6. You Want an Entirely New Roof
Perhaps the most apparent advantage a homeowner can get from a brand new roof — at least from an outsider's perspective — is a transformed façade. If you're looking to liven up and revitalize your property, a new roof could be one of the critical investments in the visual facelift. New roofs always give off a visual freshness, regardless of the material used.
If your current roof is made of old, silvery wood shingles, the freshness of new wood could make your house feel closer to the way it did when it was first built. Even if you have a type of roofing that lasts throughout the decades, a replacement of said roofing could give your house a renovated, revitalized look that would boost its curb appeal and add value to the property if you choose to sell in the next decade.
The Benefits of Roof Replacement
When you opt for roof replacement, you get the following benefits:
- An entirely new roof
- A roof that is fresh, solid and that won't need repairs for many years
- A roof that is completely up-to-date with building codes
- A new, revitalized look to your property
One of the great things about roof replacement is that you can have multiple roofing components replaced at the same time. Roof repairs, by contrast, will only focus on one area. Therefore, when you get a new roof on your house, you can also have your gutters and roof deck replaced, either as part of the deal or for just a little extra.
Additionally, you might find that a new roof could ultimately cost less over time than some costly, stop-gap repairs that your current roof might need right away. While it's easy to tell when your roof is leaking or falling apart, it can be more difficult to tell when such issues are on the horizon. For that reason, it's important to know when your roof was installed, as well as the life expectancy of the material in question. Some materials you may have include:
- Asphalt Shingles: The most widespread form of residential roofing is asphalt, which typically lasts anywhere from 15 to 20 years.
- Wood Shingles: Often made of redwood or cedar, wood shingles generally between 30 and 80 years.
- Slate Shingles: A more advanced roofing material, slate can withstand inclement weather lasts around 100 years.
- Clay Tile: Clay or concrete tiles are virtually immune to the impacts of snow, hail and wind, and can ultimately last for upwards of 100 years.
- Metal Roofs: Long a fixture of buildings, metal roofs have gained traction with homeowners in recent years. A metal roof could potentially last for several decades, though this largely depends on the type of metal.
When you think about it, there's no better time to have all this work performed on your property. If you sell your house within the next decade, the relatively new roof in addition to other improvements could make your property more appealing in the eyes of prospective buyers.
To determine whether your roof is in need of repair work or a total replacement, it's best to have a roofing specialist examine it and make an assessment. At Huber & Associates, we have performed roofing work on residential properties in the southeastern U.S. and other parts of the country for more than 40 years. Contact us today for a roof replacement or restoration quote.