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Do You Need a Roof Repair or Replacement?

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One of the most daunting home improvement projects on homeowners’ plates is roof maintenance. In addition to conducting annual inspections of your roof, you also have to follow up if you notice these or other signs of roof damage:

  • Pests 🐁
  • Water damage πŸ’§
  • Leaks πŸ’¦
  • Mold πŸ„

If you have an older roof, it can be hard to determine the best approach to take when your roof is in need of upgrades. How can you tell whether you should replace just a few shingles or get an entirely new roof?

Consider the following things before deciding whether to get a roof repair or replacement.

How Widespread is the Roof Damage?

The first thing to think about when deciding whether to get just a section or your whole roof redone is what percentage of your roof has been affected by the damage. This starts with accurately identifying signs of damage on your particular roofing materials.

Signs of wood shake and asphalt shingle damage:

  • Missing shingles
  • Bald spots/granule loss on asphalt shingles
  • Cracked, torn, or curling shingles
  • Moss and mildew growth

Signs of damage to metal panels:

  • Rust and corrosion
  • Leaks
  • Tears and punctures
  • Wrinkles
  • Discoloration or peeling paint

Signs of damage to clay and concrete tiles:

  • Dislodged or missing tiles
  • Cracked or broken tiles

If the damage is in one contained spot, you can probably get away with doing isolated roof repairs. If it’s spread over more than about a third of your roof, though, it’ll probably make more sense to get a total roof replacement.

For example, say a tree branch falls on one corner of your roof and cracks the tiles in that corner of the roof. It wouldn’t make sense to replace your whole roof because the rest of the structure should still perform well for the rest of its lifespan.

However, if you recently experienced a major hailstorm in your area, you might find pitting across 80% of your roof’s surface. In this case, it’s probably not worth it to try to only replace the shingles with blisters on them; it’ll save you and your roofing team time and energy to simply plan to cover your whole roof with new shingles.

How Old is Your Roof?

old house roof requires repair on damaged shingles

If your roof is only a few years old, a repair is probably the best option for you. It doesn’t make financial sense to completely replace a roof that is only a fraction of the way into its total lifespan, especially if the damage was caused by an external factor like some form of impact or storm damage. (If there’s seemingly no external cause to the damage, it might be worth having your roof checked out to see if you need to lean on your manufacturer’s or workmanship warranties to finance your repair.)

It’s also worth noting that a repair might be the most cost-effective choice, but it probably won’t be the prettiest. After all, roofing materials weather in the sun, and their colors tend to fade over time. New materials probably won’t exactly match the color of your current roof.

Average Lifespans of Roofing Materials

Take note that different roofing materials have different maximum lifespans:

  • Asphalt shingles – 20 years for 3-tab shingles; 30 years for architectural shingles
  • Steel panels – 70 years
  • Zinc and copper – 100+ years
  • Clay and concrete tiles – around 75 years
  • Wooden shakes – 50 years

Even if the damage to your roof only occurred in a single area, it might be more advantageous to replace your roof rather than get it repaired if it’s near the end of its usable lifespan. After all, there’s little use in paying to get a section of your roof repaired, only to have to tear up those new materials a few years later when you need a full roof replacement.

If you don’t know the current age of your roof, check the papers from the sale of your home. Depending on your situation, it might also be possible to contact your realtor or even the previous homeowners for more information.

What’s the Status of Your Attic?

Sometimes, you may have widespread weakness or damage on your roof that can’t be seen from the outside. However, checking out your attic may give you a more accurate story about the quality of your existing roof.

Discoloration and other signs of water damage throughout the rafters in your attic will let you know that your roof is not as waterproof as it should be. Similarly, if you can see a lot of light shining into your attic during the day, it can be a sign that you have too many gaps between your roofing materials for it to provide adequate protection for your home.

Is Energy Efficiency Important to You?

One of the lesser-known signs of an old roof nearing the end of its lifespan is rising costs on your energy bill that can’t be attributed to other causes. As your roof ages, it loses some of its initial insulating abilities, requiring you to use more energy to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Getting your roof replaced will re-up its ability to moderate the temperature in your home.

Additionally, energy-efficient roofing technologies get more sophisticated with each passing year. During a new roof installation, your contractor will be able to help with adding solar panels and other energy-efficient technologies to your roof. Taking this approach will give you the most bang for your buck since you’ll already be hiring professionals to work on your roof and the base of your roof will already be exposed for the roof replacement project.

Check out your state’s energy department for local information regarding financing your home solar energy project.

Does Insurance Need to Be Involved?

couple deciding to work with insurance company

Your decision to repair or replace your roof may be influenced by which kind of work your insurance company is willing to pay for. In the aftermath of a storm or other damage-causing event, it’s advantageous to get a roofing contractor to provide you with a thorough inspection and documentation that you can submit to your insurance company. Depending on their findings and the findings of your contractor, they may not deem a full replacement to be necessary.

Of course, you can always opt to get a full roof replacement if you wish, but you’ll be on the hook for the additional costs of the project.

How Is Your Roof Flashing?

Your roof problems may be coming not from your shingles, metal panels, or tiles, but instead from the flashing that holds all these pieces together. If you find that your roof leaks are originating from these points of connection between your roofing materials, you might need to get your roof’s decking checked out, as unresolved damage to this part of your roof could lead to major structural damage in your home down the line.

If there is damage to the underlayers of your roof, a roof replacement will definitely be the way to go. After all, you’ll need to remove all your current roofing materials to access your roof deck, so it only makes sense to do a full replacement at the same time.

What’s Your Budget?

Roof replacements aren’t cheap, and even with strong financing options, the cost might just not be in the cards for you right now. If this is the case, talk with your roofing company about whether a partial replacement might be a better choice for you.

In some instances, the roof replacement cost could actually be less than that of a repair job. This is because the per-square-foot price of materials will be higher than if you were able to purchase your roofing material in bulk. Work with your contractor to determine which kind of work makes the most economic sense for your situation.

Do You Plan to Sell Soon?

vacation home with new roof before selling

Curb appeal plays a huge role in the resale value of your home, so if the overall appearance of your roof leaves something to be desired, it might be in your best interest to get a roof replacement and increase your overall property value.

However, if you plan to sell very soon, you’ll get very little use out of an entirely new roof, and it could make more sense to simply do a repair and let the new homeowners take on the entire roof replacement.

Roof Repair or Replacement: Final Considerations

As you can see, the decision to go with a roof repair or replacement is a complicated one, and it involves more than just assessing the kind of damage done to your home. When making your decision, consider your personal situation, the age of your roof, the involvement of your insurance company, and the overall health of your roofing system.

When it’s time for your next roofing project, you deserve to work with a trusted roofing contractor who can provide you with high-quality service at fair rates. Whether you just need a few replacement shingles or a whole new roof, Level Edge is here to help you out. With decades of experience in the business, you can trust us to give you sound advice and only the best workmanship.

Interested in learning more about our process? Reach out today to schedule your free inspection!

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