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Should I Replace or Repair My Roof?

Updated: Jan 28


should i replace or repair my roof

The process of replacing a roof varies in complexity. It can range from the straightforward task of removing old shingles and felt paper (or moisture barrier) to more extensive work. This extensive work might include replacing the decking, gutters, roof vents, soffits, and eaves, as well as addressing any residual damage caused by the failure of the previous roof.


In contrast, roof repairs are generally more focused, typically addressing localized damage rather than a complete overhaul.


When faced with roof damage, such as that caused by a storm or a fallen tree limb, homeowners are often confronted with a crucial decision: should the damage be repaired or replaced? This decision can be challenging, and there are several key factors to consider before reaching a conclusion. Victory Roofing, with over five years of experience, is committed to providing clear and honest guidance to homeowners navigating the complexities of a roof leak. 


Things To Consider Before Getting a Roof Repair or Replaced

When deciding whether to repair or replace a roof, several factors must be considered, each offering insight into the most practical and cost-effective course of action.


1. The Age of the Roof

The lifespan of a roof depends on its material and the manufacturer's specifications. Most roofs last between 10 to 15 years, and some may last even longer. A relatively new roof, only a few years old, might be best served with repairs to damaged sections. 


However, as a roof ages, it undergoes wear and tear, increasing the risk of further damage. While repairs can address immediate issues, they do not extend the overall lifespan of the original roofing. Additionally, matching the color of new shingles with older, weathered ones can be challenging, even if original shingles are available for use.


2. The Extent of the Damage:

The severity of the roof damage is a critical consideration. Minor damage, such as a few missing shingles from a storm, may only require repairs. However, more extensive damage that affects the moisture barrier, exposes the deck, or causes leaks could make repairs as costly as a full replacement. Replacing the roof also allows for the identification and resolution of any underlying issues contributing to the damage.


3. The Type of Roof:

The material of the roof plays a significant role in the decision-making process. For instance, slate roofs, known for their longevity (over 100 years), are often better suited for repairs, as individual tiles can be replaced with minimal labor. 


However, if the damage involves structural failure or deck damage, a full replacement might still be necessary despite the durability of the slate tiles. Conversely, for other roof types, such as shingle roofs, the age factor becomes more crucial since replacing individual shingles won’t prolong the lifespan of the surrounding ones.


4. Urgency of the Situation:

In cases where a major storm is imminent, there may not be sufficient time to undertake a full roof replacement. In such scenarios, the priority shifts to quick repairs or temporary protective measures to prevent further damage to the roof. 


Some homeowners may consider postponing repairs until after the storm season, hoping to address all damage at once as a cost-saving measure. However, this approach can be risky and potentially more expensive in the long run.


5. Long-Term Plans for the Property:

When considering roof repair or replacement, it is essential to factor in the duration of your intended stay in the home. For those considering to sell their property, installing a new roof can significantly enhance the home's appeal and marketability to potential buyers. While it's not necessary to opt for the most expensive roofing option, an older roof may categorize the property as a "fixer-upper," potentially reducing its attractiveness to buyers.


On the other hand, if the plan is to reside in the home indefinitely, investing in a roof upgrade can be more easily justified. The costs of such an upgrade are distributed over the extended period of residence, making it a worthwhile investment. 


Additionally, opting for higher-quality roofing materials might not be substantially more costly than standard options, yet it could offer better durability and long-term value for a forever home. Thus, homeowners' long-term intentions play a pivotal role in determining the most suitable roofing decision.


6. Energy Efficiency:

The field of roofing materials is constantly advancing, with energy efficiency being a notable area of development. Modern roofing options offer an array of choices designed to enhance energy efficiency. 


Opting for an energy-efficient roof can lead to significant energy savings, which might contribute to offsetting a portion of the installation costs. For homeowners with older or less efficient roofing types, the transition to an energy-efficient roof could result in significant cost savings over time. This makes energy efficiency an important factor to consider when deciding on roof repair or replacement.


7. Building Codes and Re-roofing:

Re-roofing, which involves installing a new layer of shingles over existing ones, is a method considered for saving both money and time. This approach eliminates the need to remove the old roof and provides a fresh, protective layer that enhances the appearance from the street. However, there are several notable drawbacks to this method:


  • Building Code Limitations: Most building codes do not permit the addition of a third layer of shingles if there are already two layers present. This restriction is primarily due to the significant additional weight that a new layer brings.

  • Weight Concerns: The average weight of asphalt shingles ranges from 275 to 350 pounds per 100 square feet. Adding another layer is akin to placing the weight of two SUVs on a roof that is 2,500 square feet.

  • Undetected Underlying Damage: Without removing the existing shingles, it's impossible to assess and address any damage that may be present underneath.

  • Warranty Issues: Re-roofing can lead to the voiding or shortening of the warranty on the new shingles. Additionally, the lifespan of re-roofed shingles tends to be shorter than that of a complete roof replacement.


While the initial savings of re-roofing may appear attractive, it's important to consider these potential hidden costs and limitations. Careful evaluation is necessary to ensure that this approach aligns with building regulations and the long-term health of the roof.


8. Budget Considerations in Roof Repair vs. Replacement:

The financial aspect is a critical factor in deciding between repairing and replacing a roof. While repairs are generally less expensive, this isn't always the case.


  • Cost Efficiency: Per square foot, the cost of repairs can be higher. This is because repairs do not benefit from bulk material discounts and can require as much labor as a full replacement.

  • Extent of Repair: The scope of the repair significantly influences the cost. Simple tasks like replacing a few shingles are less costly. However, dealing with underlying issues, especially in areas prone to high winds, can be more expensive in the long term than upgrading to a better-quality roof.


1. Replacing Missing Shingles or Patching: 

This is the least expensive repair option. However, matching new shingles to the old ones can be challenging, and if the repair is in a visible area, aesthetic concerns may arise.


2. Partial Roof Replacement: 

Replacing an entire section of the roof is cost-effective when damage is confined to one side. This method involves removing old shingles from the affected side and installing new ones along with a moisture barrier. Challenges include potential mismatch at the ridges where new and old shingles meet, especially if the old roof had two layers. Additionally, partial replacement means part of the roof remains old, which could be a drawback.


  • Cost of Removing Multiple Layers: If removing two layers of shingles (the maximum typically allowed), the cost savings might be reduced.


3. Full Roof Replacement:

Although it appears more expensive initially, full replacement is often more cost-effective per square foot compared to repairs or partial replacements. It enables a complete inspection and resolution of any underlying issues. A full replacement resets the roof’s lifespan and allows for the use of newer, potentially higher-quality materials.


  • Insurance Coverage: If the damage is covered by insurance, the homeowner may only need to pay the deductible, potentially making a full replacement more financially viable than repairs.


In conclusion, when considering roof repairs versus replacement, it is essential to weigh the cost per square foot, the extent of required repairs, and the long-term implications of each option. Homeowners should also consider the potential for insurance coverage and the impact of their choice on the roof's overall lifespan and performance.


Key Takeaways: Roof Repair v/s Replacement

When deciding whether to repair or replace a roof, it's natural to focus primarily on the replacement costs. However, as mentioned above, numerous factors influence this decision. These include the roof's age, the extent and type of damage, urgency, long-term property plans, energy efficiency considerations, building codes, and budget.


In situations of uncertainty, consulting a professional roofing service is highly beneficial. A skilled roofer can conduct a comprehensive inspection of the roof, providing a detailed assessment. 


This evaluation will take into account all the aforementioned factors, offering tailored advice on whether repair or replacement is the most suitable option for the specific circumstances of the roof. Such expert guidance ensures that homeowners make informed, cost-effective decisions regarding their roofing needs.


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