Maybe you have noticed some loose shingles while you were cutting the lawn or shoveling the snow. Or perhaps it was a small leak after the last big storm. Whatever it is, you now know that there are some problems with your roof and the big question is whether you should repair or replace this biggest structure on the exterior of your home.
Repairs are generally cheaper than replacements, but what about the long-term costs? How do you know which is the better option?
When to Replace a Roof
To replace a roof is clearly the more expensive option. However, it’s often the better choice depending on your specific circumstances.
A few things to consider include:
How old is the roof?
If the roof is fifteen years or older, replacement is imminent. You might as well stop wasting money on one repair after another and get ready to replace it.
Hail, tornadoes, or other natural disasters
If the problems with your roof are a result of severe weather in your area, the damage is probably extensive. A repair on the most obviously damaged part may solve your problems for a month or two, but the whole roof has been weakened. Replacement is the best choice.
Mold or excessive moisture.
If the roofing layer has been exposed to excessive moisture or the moisture has led to mold on the interior of the building, you have serious roofing problems and replacement is the best choice.
Design, installation, or material problems
If the roof was poorly designed, installed incorrectly or by someone with insufficient experience, or constructed with cheap materials, you will need a new roof to solve your roofing problems. A repair may solve some problems, but it is like putting a band-aid on a leg that needs to be amputated – eventually, the bigger issue will have to be solved.
When to Repair a Roof
To repair a roof may be the least expensive option temporarily.
Although replacement is generally the best option for serious roofing problems, sometimes making repairs to your roof makes more sense.
(Keep in mind that insurance companies may be able to replace a roof for you at no cost except for your deductible if it was damaged by a storm. So to continue to repair a roof may be even be more money than your insurance deductible.)
Depending on how you answer these questions, roof repair might be the better answer:
How long will you be in the house?
If you are moving in the next six to twelve months, a new roof is not worth the costs when a repair can keep your home in good shape for the interim period.
How much damage is there?
If the damage on your roof is very limited, a repair may be sufficient to solve the whole problem.
Is it a new or regularly maintained roof?
If you have recently replaced the roof, or if the whole building is new, or if the roof is less than 15 years old and regularly maintained, the problems should be minimal and easily repaired. Regular maintenance to roofs can ensure small problems are spotted quickly and repaired before they become cause for replacement.
If you’re still not sure whether your roof needs to be replaced or repaired, call a local professional for more specific information about your situation. Make sure you ask questions so you understand their recommendations, and get all estimates and inspections in writing.