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Repair vs. Replace: Finding the Right Solution for You

Jan 04, 2022

A roofing contractor installs metal roofing panels that look like shingles on a home that overlooks the water.Homeowners have countless concerns when it comes to maintaining their homes. While most homeowners have solid understandings of basic home maintenance and how to spot small issues before they turn into big problems, not every homeowner will be able to tell when it’s time to replace a roof. In some cases, a roof may be in need of replacement when the homeowner assumes a cheaper repair will suffice, and this will ultimately lead to greater expenses.

It’s essential for homeowners to know the difference between a roof in need of repair and a roof ready for a complete replacement. While a replacement will be much more expensive, it could ultimately lead to fewer maintenance issues for the next several years and be a much more cost-effective option for addressing a damaged roof. The first step in determining if a roof repair or a full roof replacement is the most appropriate option for you is to schedule a roof inspection. Having an experienced roofing contractor fully assess the condition of your roof will help you understand how it’s currently performing, any damage it has, and what to expect from it in the coming years.

Inspecting Your Roof

Roof inspections are the best methods for determining when you need a roof repair or a full replacement. The average homeowner can handle basic visual inspections, but a thorough inspection may require walking on top of a roof, which isn’t safe or possible for every homeowner. If you need a roof inspection, you can call a professional who knows what to look for and what the best next steps would.

If you want to do a quick check up on your roof, take a walk around your yard and check every plane of the roof carefully from the ground.

While not all damage or problems will be visible on the surface, it can help give you an initial idea of whether you need roof repair or replacement services. Some of the most common warning signs of roof damage that you may be able to see yourself include:

  • Shingle damage. Chipped, cracked, broken, discolored, or missing shingles are all signs of a roof in need of repair or possibly replacement. If you notice chunks of shingles in your yard, a large amount of shingle granules in your gutters, or discolored patches on your roof, these are all signs that you should call a roof repair company to perform a professional inspection of your roof.
  • Sunken spots. Every plane of your roof should be level. If you inspect and notice any spots that look sunken, this could be a sign that the shingles are damaged and water has entered the roof bed. This can be a sign of structural damage beneath the surface of the roof, which may continue to worsen over time if left unaddressed.
  • Moss or algae growth. Moss growing on your roof is a definite sign of a roof in need of attention. Moss can grow easily with easy access to moisture and sunlight. If moss has started growing on your roof, that means the moss has access to moisture and your roof is probably allowing rainwater to enter to some degree. Dark streaks on the roof are a similar sign of concern. This is typically caused by the growth of blue-green algae you’re your roof.
  • Leaks inside your roof. If you have an attic or a crawl space under your roof, take time to regularly inspect it for signs of damage or leaks. Check during a sunny day to see if any sunlight is entering through cracks or holes in the roof; these are problems that require immediate attention. Also check for any signs of dripping water along the roof supports and the walls under your roof. Water damage like this will inevitably follow the path of least resistance and drop down through the rest of the house, potentially leading to mold growth, structural damage, and a host of other problems.
  • Pest infestations. Many types of wildlife may invade your home through a damaged roof. Raccoons, squirrels, mice, birds, and insects are just a few examples of pest infestationsthat could lead to serious health hazards for you and your family. If you notice any signs of a pest infestation in or near your roof, this could be a sign that you need a thorough repair job or a new roof.

Once you have inspected your roof thoroughly or scheduled an inspection with an experienced local roofer, consider these other factors before you decide to repair or replace the roof.

Determining Whether to Repair or Replace Your Roof

A professionally installed asphalt shingle roof will last anywhere from 20 to 25 years with proper upkeep, but most asphalt shingle roofs don’t make it to 20 years. A plethora of potential issues, from severe storms to unexpected pest infestations and undetected mold growth, can dramatically reduce the lifespan of a roof. If you notice any issues with your roof from an inspection and are trying to determine whether it would be best to repair or replace the roof, take several factors into consideration before making your choice.

The Age of the Roof

First, consider the age of the roof. If you recently had the roof installed within the past five years or so, a repair job may be the more cost-effective option. In fact, your roof may still be under its original warranty. If you only have moderate issues with the roof or if the roof suffered acute damage from a specific issue, such as a severe storm, a repair may also make sense. On the other hand, if the roof’s age is bordering on the 20-year mark, it’s probably best to invest in a full replacement.

Your Future Plans for Your Home

You should also consider how long you intend to stay in the home. If you recently moved in or plan to remain in the home for a very long time and have the option of a large-scale repair or a full replacement, it may be worth replacing the roof so you don’t need to worry about it again for a while. You may also enjoy lower rates on your homeowner’s insurance when you invest in a new roof. If you’re planning on selling a home, a repair job may keep things in working order until someone else buys it, but replacing the roof could enable you to ask for a higher selling price.

Upgrading Your Existing Roof

Finally, it’s also worth considering potential upgrades. If you have the financial flexibility to pay for a full replacement, you could take the opportunity to upgrade your roof to a sturdier configuration, such as replacing your old asphalt shingle roof with a more energy-efficient and longer lasting metal roof. This can have additional benefits, such as making your home more comfortable and energy efficient and potentially reducing your monthly energy bills.

Talk to a Roofing Professional for Help

There is no one-size-fits-all formula that can tell a homeowner whether it is best to repair or replace a damaged roof. If a roof has signs of extensive damage and is nearing the end of its expected lifespan, then replacement is the natural choice. Repairs, however, can be a much more affordable option for homeowners facing only minor roof issues. Schedule a professional inspection if you are unsure whether repair or replacement would be the better option in your case. Your local roofing company is a great resource for helping you understand more about your existing roof and determining which option, a roof repair or a roof replacement, is best for you.

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