Should You Repair or Replace Your Roof?

Ask a Roofer | May 20, 2022

standing seam metal roof

“Should I have my roof checked?” This is a question that comes to most people’s minds only when there’s information about an oncoming storm or tornado. Considering the vital role a roof plays, it’s not given as much attention as it deserves until it’s almost too late. 

Undoubtedly, your home needs a reliable and sturdy roof. It shields your family and all you hold dear from the elements and things that could fall from the sky.

As the primary barrier between the interior of your house and the exterior, your roof gets buttered a lot with harsh weather and falling debris; strong winds, rain, tornadoes, storms, and tree branches. As a result, it deteriorates with time. 

The challenge for you is deciding what to do if there is damage to your roof. Do you schedule a repair, or do you replace the whole roof?

In this article, we discuss what you need to know about deciding to repair or replace your roof, including when to repair or replace it and the advantages and disadvantages of both.

What are the Signs Your Roof Has a Problem?

Most property owners notice problems when it is too late. Do things differently by ensuring that you inspect your roof regularly. You will notice problems earlier and take the necessary actions sooner. 

Some of the signs to look out for include:

  • Sagging sections
  • Water stains on the underside 
  • Clogged gutters
  • Missing, curled, and cracked shingles
  • Rot on the wooden parts
  • Cracks and holes 
  • Algae and moss growth on a roof
  • Nail pops

Getting the problem before it becomes big will help you reduce the cost of repair and replacement. 

What Should you Consider When Deciding Whether to Repair or Replace your Roof?

Repairing or replacing a roof is expensive. Therefore, most homeowners will have their fingers crossed when looking for signs of damage. 

The more challenging task is deciding what your roof needs; repair vs. replacement. Getting to the decision requires considering different factors:

Age of the Roof

Your roof, like anything else, will age with time. And with that, it has a life span.

Overall, most roofs will last around 25 to 40 years, depending on the materials used and the installation.

Unfortunately, as time progresses, your roof encounters wear and tear that contributes to damage.

On an asphalt shingle roof, some common aging problems are:

  • Granule loss – the shingles are coated with granules which protect the embedded fiberglass matting of the shingle. As these granules wear off over time, the fiberglass matting gets exposed. The fiberglass cannot withstand UV/direct sunlight, and so the shingle begins to deteriorate. 
  • Nail pops – These are common when the shingles were not installed correctly, or when there is improper attic ventilation. The nails loosen and begin to back out of the shingle. They poke up through the protective layer, and become exposed to the elements. These nails then rust over time and disintegrate, leaving a hole for water to intrude and damage. 
  • Loss of adhesion – The adhesive strip which holds the shingles together wears out. As this adhesion lessens, the shingles become prone to lifting and blowing off in windy conditions, leaving a bare roof which will cause leaks.  

A deep dive  inspection is vital if your roof has weathered numerous storms and is 25+ years old. It could reveal more problems alongside wear and tear.

Repairing an old roof won’t make it better. Instead, consider having it replaced and avoid unnecessary repair costs.

Budget

The cost of repair or replacement is a vital consideration when deciding whether to change or fix your roof. While repairs are usually cheaper in the short term, it is not always the case. If you can’t come up with the full cost of replacement, a repair could serve as a more affordable temporary fix before you get your finances in order. 

However, too many repairs may surpass the cost of a new roof. If that’s the case, it’s better to go big at once and solve the problem once and for all. A small leak repair may cost $500-$1000, while a larger repair may cost 20%-40% of a full replacement. A trustworthy, local roofing contractor should be able to help you determine which would be the best route to take based on your situation.

A new roof will improve the value of your home whereas a patched-up one will reduce its value.

Extent of Damage

What exactly is the problem? Are a few shingles missing, or is there a leak? Are the moisture barriers intact? How extensive is the damage? If there’s a leak, is there wood rot or even mold?

Inspect the problem and check if the problem is in a particular area, section, or whole roof. If it is a specific area or part, repairing may well be cheaper. However, if your roof is nearing the end of its serviceable life, a repair could be a waste of resources, as other issues are likely to occur in the near future. 

If the damage is in many different areas, the cost of repairing each section will be high. In such a case, a full replacement will help you avoid extra costs and give you the confidence of safety under a new roof. 

Urgency

How urgent is the repair or replacement?

Certain emergency conditions like approaching storms and tornadoes will require you to check your roof. If you notice a problem, you may need to decide immediately. If the storm is near, you’ll have to patch it up due to time constraints. Such minor repairs will help prevent severe and further damage to an already weak roof. 

Here at Joyland Roofing, we provide 24/7 emergency service to stop leaks or cover roofs before, during, and after weather events. 

Your Future Plans

How long do you intend to stay in the house?

If you plan on staying in the building for long, a new roof will serve you better. You will avoid making several repairs during that period and feel much safer under the new roof.

If you plan to stay for a short time, repairing the damage may be more economical. However, installing a new roof on your home will improve its market value and make it more attractive to prospective buyers. On average, a homeowner can expect to recoup 60%-80% of the cost of the roof replacement in a homesale.

Type of Roof

The material used in your roofing has a huge impact on deciding whether to repair or replace it. 

For instance, repairs are more cost-effective when your house has a slate roof. Why? Slate roofs are made of several tiles that can be replaced individually using little effort. Also, installing a new slate roof is relatively expensive. 

Other types of roofs will require changing individual shingles to remedy a problem. However, an aged roof will likely need more than a shingle change, as the underlying wood may be rotten or damaged as well.

Change in Building Codes and Roofing Technology

Another way of dealing with roofing problems is re-roofing.

Continuously advancing technology means the quality of roofing materials is always improving. Investigate and look out for newer and better materials for your roof. If you find a more suitable material, you could consider replacing the whole roof to repair. The new roof might be more energy efficient, saving you additional energy costs.

It is almost never advisable to install a second layer of shingles or other roofing material (except metal) over an existing roof layer. 

There are many beautiful shingle styles to be found. Synthetic materials that mimic the look of slate and wood shakes are available with lifetime warranties, at a lower price point.

So, should I Repair or Replace my Roof?

Advantages of Repairing your Roof

Here are some reasons you may decide to repair instead of replace your roof. 

Repairs are cheaper – in the short term

Repair means dealing with a specific area on the roof compared to changing the whole roof. If your roof is less than 20 years old, the likelihood of getting a good repair is high. 

Repairs are Maintenance

Repairs don’t necessarily have to wait until you see a problem. Having a regular inspection and maintenance program will help you repair and prolong the life of the roof. So, have a professional conduct maintenance checks.

Disadvantages of Repairing your Roof

Here is why you may want to hold off the urge to patch up your roof. 

It Changes the Appearance of your Roof

If your roof is old and you repair a specific section, the shape and color will change as the new material will be brighter. You won’t be able to get a perfect match between old and new materials.

Repairs Could cause more Problems 

Attempting to do repairs by yourself could bring more harm than good. You could easily damage a part you can’t fix and incur more costs. Additionally, using an inexperienced contractor could also lead to the same consequences. 

Repairs on an old roof may end up costing you more over the course of a few years, even if done properly. 

Advantages of Replacing a Roof

Below are the benefits that come with replacing your roof completely:

Improves the Value of your Property

Most buyers don’t want to buy a house in need of repair. Replacing your roof improves the value of your property. It means a buyer can move in immediately without worrying about any repairs.

Improves the Appeal of your House

If you plan to sell your house, you depend on its attractiveness and appeal to get prospective buyers. A new roof provides improved aesthetics and gives your home a ‘pop’ compared to the competition.

Provides Improved Safety

A heavily repaired roof will give you concerns about your family’s safety. You may end up worrying about the integrity of your roof system, and invite problems like rot and mold in the attic. With a new roof come warranties from manufacturers and contractors against things like premature failure, leaks, and so forth. 

Disadvantages of Replacing your Roof

Here are some drawbacks of replacing your roof. 

It is Expensive

You’ll spend more to replace a whole roof than repair a small part. Roof replacement is one of the larger expenses that come with owning a property. If you need to have it done, you don’t want to risk a poor install on this large investment. It pays to have it done right, so do your research.

Decide and Get the Right Help

No one wants to schedule a repair or replacement for their roof. The costs are high, and it could hurt your pockets. 

However, conducting inspections and deciding how to remedy the problem is vital. It keeps the roof strong and ensures your family and belongings are safe.

Contact a roofing expert and have them inspect the roof, provide advice and tackle the problem. You could also opt to have different people look at the problem. Joyland Roofing can provide you with the expertise you need to determine whether to repair or replace your roof. Contact us today to learn more!